paintings

MANAV GUPTA | TWENTY-SIX-YEARS RETROSPECTIVE

1996-2022

Rainforests and the Timeless Metaphors of Dreams . Umbilical Cords of Earth Air Water Fire Space . Lyrics of Light. Apostrophe of white . Non Limiting Horizons . Intimate Whispers . Shoonya- From Beyond . Aqueous Dreams .

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Gupta’s tryst with nature began in early childhood, in the 70s in Kolkata, where he was born and brought up, He embraced the sylvan landscapes of the National library campus, to nourish himself from the trials and pain of his struggles as a single parent child. As he helped his litterateur mother earn the daily bread, he found succour in nature’s lap. Trees nurtured him. That’s when his ‘umbilical chords of earth, air, water, fire, space’ had its genesis. And nature became his muse.

umbilical cords of earth

Umbilical Cords of Earth, Air, Water, Fire, Space

It is perhaps this bonding with the elements of earth, that lights up Gupta’s paintings and his later large scale installations. Experts have often complimented his paintings  to have a certain Turner like quality about them.  Working in watercolours earlier, he has now mastered the flow of his paint in acrylics and oils as well. He lets light meander through as magical, sometimes poignant, then vibrant, ethereal and passionate, to become a metaphor of survival and sustenance – a way forward. Almost like a call to action for healing – resurrection from the wildfire of the rainforests. There’s a palpable quiet mystery behind the works. As Telegraph art critic puts aptly ‘Sounds, moods and rhythms have deeply affected the artist to give a brilliant sensitivity to his works’ That’s what makes them compelling, lingering long after the engagement . Cosmopolitan has called them “soul stirring” But as the senior journalist Late Kingshuk Mukherjee wrote in his essay that was excerpted in catalogue at a sale at Christie’s London –’There have been critics who’ve praised him for his technique. But more often than not, what he has created has been the result of a storm within. His brush strokes have followed the dimensions of those restless stirrings. He is as close to nature as possible. All that he does come from deep within .There’s nothing cosmetic about what he feels or what he does. Manav is Manav. Unique as ever. Truly. For, Manav’s quality isn’t just about a genius. It’s about how he feels and the shades of blue he seeks in the sky through his eyes. It’s about the grit and struggle of a man from humble circumstances. It’s about a man who hasn’t grown up breathing tinned air. It’s as easy as the flow of a deep river that meanders through a landscape and runs off to an unknown destination where it meets the horizon.’

Rainforests and the Timeless Metaphors of Dreams

Just after his first solo in the spring of 1996, he wrote his artist statement, dipping his pen, just like his brush, deep into the labyrinthine crevices of light and shadows within the rainforests. His ink was soaked in pain but his soul’s penchant for Life being so remarkably drenched in an unsurmountable optimism, always made him look up to ‘light’, and thus it became a metaphor of ’hope’ for him ;and the colours – the all-encompassing landscape of earth. He revisits his artist statement every year as an annual ritual to fine comb its core, and it has stayed with him for all of these twenty six years.

Rainforests and the Timeless Metaphors of Dreams
non limiting horizons

Non Limiting Horizons

‘I saw great poetry and lyricism in the roots, tree trunks and the barks of trees all around me. Sculpted forms of twisted branches that embraced the great banyan tree, triggered my imagination. And I sketched.’ The grammar – he learnt from The Academy of Fine Arts, under Masters like Rathin Maitra. The soul of art – came from his guru Vasant Pandit, the unsung Master. ‘He taught me to dream, ever so gently, of forests far away…where the sky remained elusive.’ That’s when Gupta used to imagine rivers and rainforests – the very essence and nectar of his art that was to become his creative juice for many years to come.

Just after his first solo in the spring of 1996, he wrote his artist statement, dipping his pen, just like his brush, deep into the labyrinthine crevices of light and shadows within the rainforests. His ink was soaked in pain but his soul’s penchant for Life being so remarkably drenched in an unsurmountable optimism, always made him look up to ‘light’, and thus it became a metaphor of ’hope’ for him ;and the colours – the all-encompassing landscape of earth. He revisits his artist statement every year as an annual ritual to fine comb its core, and it has stayed with him for all of these twenty six years.

Light and colour play hide and seek in his abstracts on nature and rainforests, as well as his earlier landscapes. From 4”x4” miniatures to giant 20ft canvases, Gupta deploys a distinctive sanctity of yellows, reds, oranges and crimson that negotiate the dark tresses of Pynes’s grey and Ivory black, the enveloping greens and hues of Burnt Sienna and Prussian Blue, leading the viewer effortlessly follow the light that it all creates. He captivates the viewer to follow the passages of his colour with intrigue and mystique.

 

Viewing Room:

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the rainforests

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Moonlight Sonata
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"Watercolours that stir your soul"

COSMOPOLITAN

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"Manav creates a colorful world of impressions and images of life, made up of throbbing lines and changing colors"

The Asian Age

"One of India’s leading artists is displaying his works in Des Moines, between high-profile exhibitions in London, Berlin and other stops."

The Des Moines Register, Iowa

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“I saw great poetry and lyricism in the roots, tree trunks and the barks of trees all around me. Sculpted forms of twisted branches that embraced the great banyan tree, triggered my imagination. And I sketched.” The grammar – he learnt from The Academy of Fine Arts, under Masters like Rathin Maitra. The soul of art – came from his guru Vasant Pandit, the unsung Master. ‘He taught me to dream, ever so gently, of forests far away…where the sky remained elusive.’ That’s when Gupta used to imagine rivers and rainforests – the very essence and nectar of his art that was to become his creative juice for many years to come.

"Exuberant and Reflective. The artist has a fine sense of colour" - Economic Times

In 1997, at his second solo, 15th to 17th August, Gupta’s works caught the attention of one of the most discerning art critics of the Economic Times, who chose only the best of exhibitions, amidst the plethora of shows that happened in Kolkata during those times. While writing about Souza, Akbar Padamsee, Ganesh Haloi and other masters, she chose this young artist’s works to be featured in her column.

Excerpt: “It is within an established tradition that the romanticism of Manav Gupta is expressed. For the delicate watercolours he exhibited at the Taj Bengal, belong to a genre of nature scapes that exploit the lambent fluidity of the medium for a language that’s poetic.

Exuberant or reflective. The artist has a fine sense of color. Allowing the wet paint to spread in thin stains so that the colours run over and into one another, he creates a symphony of subtle tones that seem to in a state of continual and accidental flux.
In some of the works the artist restricts himself to the gradations of a dominating shade or to a set of rhyming colours. Elsewhere, the contrast of cloudy blurs and drip­ping capillaries of paint insinuate dramatic happenings in nature. Gupta also displayed furniture made form tree-trunks and drift­wood”

■ Rita Datta, Art Critic

Umbilical Cords of Earth, Air, Water, Fire, Space

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"Using his paintings and poetry, Manav has woven a subtle yet powerful experience that conveys the need for consciousness on global warming and other environment issues. The exhibition entitled 'Umbilical chords of earth, in the lyrics of light, within apostrophe of white, colours in sight' clearly illustrates the artist’s deep love for nature. Manav is known for creating world-famous works of art on the theme of harmony between man and nature."

OMAN OBSERVER

"The use of colors is excellent… the work shows individuality. His work is an exploration of the amalgam of tangible and intangible elements of nature.

The landscapes done by him go beyond the palpable, audible and visible, to that which cannot be touched, heard or seen."

First City

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shoonya

Shoonya - from beyond

"Manav has travelled a long way from having group and solo exhibitions in India and abroad, to making dedicated efforts that seek to create a consciousness on leading global issues through his artistic endeavours. Apparent in all his works repeatedly is his ideology. It may not be confined to the defined paradigm, but his personal dogma came across strongly in his paintings….its obvious that owning a slice of Manav Gupta’s oeuvre would be more than worth one’s while."

EXPAT

Shoonya - from beyond

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intimate whispers

Intimate Whispers

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New World Order - Mrityunjay

New World Order – Mrityunjay

Rainforest and the Timeless Metaphors of Dreams

Lyrics of light

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Read More about the Series

Umbilical Cords of Earth Air Water Fire Space

Rainforests and the Timeless Metaphors of Dreams

Intimate Whispers | Chirping of Birds

Shoonya and the Non Limiting Horizons