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T H E WO R L D O N A CA N VAS Paresh M a i t y


THE WORLD ON A CANVAS PARESH MAITY


Universe, Metal and Light, 48”x48”, 2009


THE WORLD ON A CANVAS

PARESH MAITY A Visual Voyage

PHOTOGRAPHS

NEMAI GHOSH TEXT

SHARMILA TAGORE


Published by: Art Alive Gallery S-221 Panchsheel Park, New Delhi-110017, India E-mail: info@artalivegallery.com www.ArtAliveGallery.com Printed in India at Thomson Press (India) Limited ISBN: 978-81-906463-1-4 Š Art Alive Gallery 2010 All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopy without permission in writing from the publishers. Copyrights of all the works reproduced rest with the artist, of the photographs with the respective photographers and of the text with the respective authors.


Contents The World on a Canvas: An Introduction by Sharmila Tagore

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Tamluk – By the Rupnarayan River

31

Talsari – Where Time Stands Still

43

Kolkata – Harmony in Chaos

67

Santiniketan – The Vision of Gurudev

83

Rajasthan – Royal Splendour

105

Agra – An Ode to Love

135

Ajanta-Ellora – Poetry in stone

149

Kerala – Emerald Paradise

169

Varanasi – A Tryst with Eternity

195

Himachal – Cradled by the Clouds

217

London – And quiet flows the Thames

245

Venice – Romance on Water

263

Bangalore – A joy forever

287

China – Oriental Mystique

297

Egypt – The Land of Pyramids

309

Mexico – An Enchanted Land

319

Delhi – Maximum City

333

A Luminosity of Light by Kishore Singh

343


Ghat, Mixed Media on Paper, 10” x 10”, 2007


Paresh Maity is a man on a voyage–literal, spiritual and deeply personal. His watercolours work by seducing us with their sheer spontaneity and, having caught our attention, hold us transfixed, absorbed by a deep sense of timeless spirituality. While the geographical diversity of his physical journey yields the stimulation of a constantly changing visual cavalcade, it is bound up inextricably with another, inner journey. Here within his creative imagination, the artist is not certain of his destination, nor of what he may meet along the way. What he does know though is that every moment of this extraordinary personal odyssey will be something to relish–another encounter with the richness of the world–to be added to the ever-expanding store of possibilities which make engagement with his art such a wholly memorable and intoxicating experience. – Iain Gail British art critic


Every canvas is a journey all its own. Helen Frankenthaler

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THE WORLD ON A CANVAS An Introduction

Sharmila Tagore 11


A good traveller has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.

Lao Tzu

How can one encapsulate in words another man’s journey through

life? What words can adequately express a personal, intimately lived experience? Tracing the course of a journey isn’t always simply a matter of keeping track of the itinerary, faithfully recording one’s progress from one point to another on the map. And when the traveller happens to be someone as remarkable as Paresh Maity, the task becomes that much more challenging. Reflecting on Paresh’s transition, through the images in this travelogue and in conversations with him, the first thing that strikes me is that there are two definite strands to this journey. At one level there is the discernible physical movement, broadly carrying him through the destinations that feature here: Tamluk, Talsari, Kolkata, Varanasi, Santiniketan, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Rajasthan, Agra, AjantaEllora, London, Venice and Bangalore. Each of these places marks a definite chapter in the evolution of Paresh as a painter, expanding his repertoire at every phase. For example, if Tamluk, Talsari and Kerala tell us about his soul-connection with the rain, river and rafts, Rajasthan reveals a daring departure both in terms of colour and

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form. In his own words, ‘Rajasthan has changed the language of my art. It has given colour to my canvas. Even my Bengal canvas now has colour.’ For those who are looking for continuity of themes, it is here that the boat metamorphoses into the camel. And Bangalore is the gateway through which Paresh explores the rich palette of south India, and it becomes his second home to which he returns again and again, for some inspired work away from the social distractions of the capital city. What is remarkable about this journey is that it began in a little-known corner of the world, amid surroundings one wouldn’t normally associate with the pursuit of any creative art. Born to an average lower-middle-class family, his father a government servant, mother a homemaker, Paresh grew up in Tamluk–a rather nondescript district town in West Bengal–in the company of a number of siblings. As so often happens in such large families, children tend to be left to their own devices, and though parental apathy is probably never intentional, it is often a fact of life. In Paresh’s case, this was a little more pronounced given the ‘strangeness’ of his childhood obsession. From very early on in life, he was in many ways an odd child. Unable to reconcile himself to being contained within the four walls of his

Talsari, Watercolour on Paper, 20” x 30”, 1986

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the journey, Mixed Media on Paper, 20” x 30”, 1989

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The Journey Begins... 29


30


Tamluk By the Rupnarayan River

31


Water Fruit, Ceramic Colour on Plate, 10” x 20”, 2009

46


After the catch, Oil on Canvas, 48” x 48”, 2003

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Catch, Watercolour on Paper, 20” x 40”, 1988

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Previous Page Near the Pond, Watercolour on Paper, 30” x 20”, 1985


The tide runs high, the wind blows, The boat dances like thy own desire, my heart! Clouds heap upon clouds and it darkens … Gazing on the faraway gloom of the sky, The heart wanders wailing with the restless wind I know not what this is that stirs in me– I know not its meaning – Rabindranath Tagore

The petulant sea moans an impatient complaint, dark clouds gather, expectant with unshed anguish, the ramshackle shack is reconciled to its fate… boatmen race against time to tow the boat to safety before nature unleashes its remorseless fury … the artist must capture the moment before all is washed away …

51


70


71


Bygone Glory, Oil on Canvas, 60” x 72”, 2006

the mother, Oil on Canvas, 66” x 60”, 2005

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Melody, Oil on Canvas, 70” x 144”, 2010

102


103


The camel Man, Mixed Media on Board, 32” x 40”, 2002

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Santiniketan, Mixed Media on Board, 40” x 50”, 2006

91


THE PROFILE, Watercolour on Board, 24” x 15”, 2001

126


The Mystic Melody A day in the golden desert A Film by Paresh Maity 18 minutes

127


134


Agra An Ode to Love

135


The Buddha, Oil on Canvas, 48” x 48”, 2005

The Peace, Oil on Canvas, 66” x 60”

154


155


174


Crab, Motor Cycle Parts, 108” x 60”, 2009

175


Kathakali Mixed Media on Paper, 55” x 84”, 2009

180


181


God’s own Country Oil on Canvas 70” x 120”, 2010

188


189


202


The Shehnai Player, Oil on Canvas, 48” x 48”, 2005

Tribute to Ustad Bismillah khan, Oil on Canvas, 65” x 65”, 1997

203


Slate House, Watercolour on Paper, 20” x 30”, 1988

220


Manali Street, Watercolour on Paper, 20” x 30”, 1987

221


The Himalayan Song Mixed Media on Paper, 54” x 84”, 2008

228


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244


London And quiet flows the Thames

245


Woman, Watercolour on Board, 24” x 24”, 2007

258


St. Pauls cathedral, Watercolour on Paper, 40” x 40”, 2001

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The eternity, Watercolour on Paper, 20” x 30”, 2000

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271


286


Bangalore A joy forever

287


Silicon Valley, Mixed Media on Paper, 48” x 48”, 2007

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The blossom, Watercolour on Paper, 44” x 44”, 2005

304


Oriental Song, Watercolour on Paper, 44” x 44”, 2005

305


Nile, Watercolour on Paper, 20” x 40”, 2003

312


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318


Mexico An Enchanted Land

319


322


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The World on a Canvas – A Visual Voyage Paresh Maity  

Eminent film personality Sharmila Tagore, an admirer of Paresh’s art, provides the textual counterpoint to this visual travelogue. She chart...

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