Artist Paresh Maity Shares 35 Years Of His Creations With Bengaluru In His Latest Show

Maity’s five-city exhibition, ‘Infinite Light', is in the city for the last leg of his tour that is all about the man’s love affair with art.

Published On Mar 09, 2023 | Updated On Feb 23, 2024

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As Paresh Maity flipped through the multitude of videos and photos on his phone, he stopped at one and went ‘And this one was 7000 kgs’ pointing to a massive jackfruit being hauled by a crane. “It is called Urbanscape,” he says, adding, “We had some of the really large installations in Delhi, Mumbai and even Goa but those were too big to be brought here.” That was not the only installation worth gaping at. The nearly-seven feet tall ‘Hero’, made from cast metal, too is a piece of wonder.

Maiti’s multi-genre exhibition, called ‘Infinite Light’, is the culmination of over three decades of his romance with art and sculpture, from the ’90s to his most recent works.

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In Bengaluru for the last leg of his five-city exhibition showcase, the Padma Shri awardee tells us how this tour is the showcase of his life as an artist. So there is a bit of everything on view - from his sketches and water colours to oil on canvas, acrylics, and some of the smaller installations. And for the first time, a few of his ceramics as well. “Do you know I used to make clay stuff when I was really young? I would make them and sell them at fairs where I grew up in West Bengal. So to me, ceramics was a natural progression. But this is the first time I am actually showing them in public,” he says.

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Walking through Gallery Sumukha, which is where his shows in Bengaluru are usually held at, he explains how everything on display connects to the theme. “For an artist, lighting plays a crucial role. We need the perfect light to create something. As for me, I only work in day light. And if you notice…,” he explains as he waves his hand across to point out at the various canvases of different sizes, “….there is an element of light everywhere.”

Not everyone is an art aficionado. But one does not need to be an expert to experience Maity’s works, especially his paintings. He captures mornings in Italy and sunsets in Varanasi in a way that even a layperson would be transported to that space, albeit for a few minutes.

“Art has to give you joy,” says the artist as he walks towards his ceramics. “These are all in black and white. Notice the man and the woman on it?”

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The entire series of his art works travel from abstract to landscapes, capturing nature and even the mundaneness of life in the most fluid style.

A large painting of Varanasi in watercolour stood before us. The artist, usually referred to as Paresh da, said how watercolours are the only paintings you cannot fix. “There is no correction here. You cannot fool around with watercolours,” he says. He’s been to Varanasi innumerable times and his work on the city has evolved over time, but rarely fails to capture the depth of the city’s mood. Watercolours were in fact his medium of choice in the early years of his career.

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His sketches too are quite similar, mapping lands from across the world, almost like a travelogue of sorts, expressing his journeys over time. And then there are the abstracts and oil-on-canvas that have their own story, his story, and the onlooker’s interpretation, all of which he says is important. What is perhaps the most important behind each of the works of display, be it a piece of art or a sculpture, that not only do they carry their own story, but gives one the chance to make one up, thus almost immediately connecting the two - the work of art and the admirer.

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The exhibition, which has been curated by Ranjit Hoskote, is also showcasing two films on the artist where one can in a way catch glimpses of the way Maity works. “This is my 88th solo exhibition in nearly 35 years,” he says, almost sounding surprised himself, “and what you are seeing here is only a portion of the works I have done. Bengaluru is actually the smallest chapter in the current tour. I think there are a total of about 78 works here.”

Infinite Light will be on display at Gallery Sumukha, Wilson Garden, till March 25. Open from 10.30am to 6pm (Monday-Saturday) 


Photo: Featured Artist

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