Enterprising and elegant, serene and soothing, the wonderful works by Paresh Maity lead you to an enchanting realm, filled with calm and solitude. His paintings, sculptures and intriguing installations exude a vibrant and vivacious streak. He ranks among the more important and prominent figures of contemporary Indian art scene today. Restless and introspective by nature, the multi-faceted artist crisscrosses his home country and the world, to derive artistic inspiration from the many sojourns he undertakes, the people he encounters and the experiences he distils during the spontaneous forays.
The backwaters of Kerala, the sand dunes of Rajasthan, the lake of Geneva, the pyramids of Egypt, the canals of Venice, he has captured it all, in different mediums and forms. The artist meticulously records his impressions to build a visual diary of his painterly adventures. In this journey, as much about self-discovery as story-telling he creates endearing and refreshing works on each sits, city and hamlet he visits. The appeal of his work is universal. His new body of work presented courtesy Gallery Sumukha and Wei-Ling Contemporary, Malaysia is comprised of sculptures in fibreglass, and an installation, in addition to his exquisite paintings. He has employed oil on canvas, mixed media including charcoal, conte and watercolors for them. Initially known specifically for his watercolors, he has also dabbled in oils on canvas, and more recently, in sculptures and installation works, as evident in his new suite of works.
A deep thought followed by meticulous execution marks each piece, which mulls over the gamut of bonds between a man and a woman - very human, honest and real - that blossom and take their own course. It's the common thread that runs through these works. The images underline the multiple facets and shades of human relationships like love, closeness, sorrow, failures, triumphs, disappointments and fulfillment, for viewers to relate to and identify with them. These emotions are universal in nature, though the context might be of a specific location. An accompanying note elaborates: “Paresh Maity feels that man and woman, and the various relationships that exist between the two, is the largest monumental living image that surrounds us all everyday in every part of the world. Through these works, he endeavors to present the many emotions and feelings that prevail between two people, that make each one of us alive and connected to a common brotherhood, while simultaneously remaining unique as individuals.”
Born in Tamluk, West Bengal, in 1965, he did his B.F.A. degree from Government College of Art and Crafts, Kolkata, and Masters at College of Art, Delhi. While doing his graduation, he had to undergo a trying four hour-long ordeal from his remote village by a bus, truck or trudge along, but he seldom missed his lectures. Among the most talented artists of his generation, he has hosted a series of solo as well as group shows in India and internationally. Paresh Maity has won many prestigious awards, including a gold medal from USSR in 1983; Government of West Bengal award for watercolor painting in 1985; Jamini Roy Birth Centenary Celebration Award (1987); Governor’s Gold Medal from Academy of Fine Arts, Kolkata (1988); National Scholarship (1989); AIFACS award for best watercolor painting (1990); an award by Birla Academy of Art and Culture, Kolkata (1990); Harmony Award (1999); and one from Royal Watercolour Society, London (2002).
While he usually begins the painting with abstract shapes, it gradually develops into something easily decipherable. If what I wish to say is lost in the exchange, there is no point, he reveals. Isn't that what actually art is all about, he quips, explaining its crux lies in communicating with the viewers! Gradually, his paintings take shape of recognizable scenes from life around, which are essential and fundamental to all society, as he puts it. While contextually, they fathom a contemporary India, soaked in a holistic feel and flavor, their intrinsic appeal becomes universal, owing to the myriad human threads the artist weaves in. The fabulous figures are suffused with as gamut of emotions and unspoken words surrounding them. The colors are vibrant and bold, whereas shapes and figures are very much Indian, drawn from the country’s rich culture, tradition and history.
Light is a crucial component in his works in setting the mood for each piece. The bronze sculpture ‘Face of the World’ is a case in point. In it light plays the central role, depicting the germination of art, symbolized by the light effect in the sculpture, and the former itself refers directly to the creative process. The sculpture thus conveys that light (enlightenment) and art, when blended, lead to creation, as a world created. Irrespective of the medium, he invariably strives to fathom tender hues of human relationships and explore the beauty of life around. The artist he strives to make his paintings as current as he can, because even while history provides the essence, his aim is to grasp the Indian experience of today as he sees and perceives it. Summing up the spirit of his works, he says, “I (try to) paint what I see, what I observe. I try to make it as simple and easy to understand as possible. My paintings aren't a mystery. In fact, they are very much about real people, real situations; accessible to everyone.”