Saturday 29 February 2020

The Accidental Jacket

“The Accidental Jacket” includes a new series of paintings that anticipates Pratik Ghaisas’s playful studies of personal identity; he delivers a deeply felt experience of human absence in a new installation of exquisite subtlety. Each work is meticulously crafted to its own emotional note. Beautiful and rich in associative resonance, the piece eviscerates abstraction and lodges right in the bones. Between the moments of tenderness and the undertow of anguish, the form pulsates with the full spectrum of human emotion. Circling its exterior, its outermost arm forming a closed ring, we’re barred from entering; we become empathic onlookers of the whole human drama.
 Artist : Pratik Ghaisas

Artists of the previous generation, the Pop painters and Minimalists, who came of age in the 1960s, defined the unity of their concerns by creating distinctive visual styles a Warhol, like a Lichtenstein or a Donald Judd, is unmistakably their personal product. What links these visually varied early works together is what might best be called a consciously eccentric poetic sensibility, his irony-laced fascination with unexpected sensory pleasures. One basic, longstanding rule governing the visual arts is that pictures and words tell stories in essentially different ways, and so should not be mixed together. That the human mind can conceive of a nothing as a something is an extraordinary feat of intellectual abstraction.

Gazing down across the form suggestive of our galactic home, we’re led to consider our predicament in the universe. Bound inside time, acutely aware of our own smallness and finitude and yet feeling ourselves and those we love to be as large as the world, we live in eternal incongruity with our indifferent cosmos. The economy of means with which Ghaisas is able to evoke such ultimate questions is remarkable. Indeed, his use of a metonymically implied personal space to conjure the universal charges, the work with the kind of condensed expression we expect of great poetry. The human mind may be able to grasp negation between the abstract and the reasoning faculty founders when it comes to its own. Perhaps it’s only with the language of poetry that we can think the unthinkable and, if not exactly accept the unacceptable, dare to feel the flame in all its intensity.

Though there all along, the issue of using a shaped support came into particular focus during the 1960s as an emphasis on both the painting as object, its unnecessary privileging of easel painting and ultimately the expendability of using only a single rectangle. In the current series the artist brings together and explores the possibilities of a shaped support as an optional formal development. But gone today are the conscious strictures and aesthetic divisions articulated in 1967 by Michael Fried in his germinal essay ‘Art and Object Hood’. There are works here that evince playfulness or Dada disregard for convention, as well as a compositional exuberance of both materials and pictorial forms that ultimately set an overall shape. That is to say they find shape by an excessive build up of material itself, or in working with one form or another, leaving those shapes to define an external perimeter edge.

The artist narrates how his father and his contemporaries were responsible for building audacious and imaginative meccas of free play, in particular that exceeded even the best paradigms. Examining the pictorial thinking of outsiders often takes a back seat to the thrill of rescuing overlooked objects from history. An excitement that is fueled by a perhaps unconscious nostalgia for artistic sincerity is elicited by work that often bears a coincidental visual relationship to modernism but is untainted by modernism’s worldly ambition. This is not really the case with Pratik Ghaisas. The correspondence to mainstream art in his work is not superficial. The diligence and concentration that he brought to his work are qualities of many mainstream artists, and tells us a lot about what it means to be an artist. As an artist, he exists on a twentieth century continuum. Art has historically been forged in solitude, and though it is tempting to romanticize it, his solitude, while deeper than that of most artists, fueled a quiet passion that is evident in the mood and intensity of the work and beyond its psychological concerns, these jackets tell a dynamic story that change with each subsequent viewing.

Abhijeet Gondkar
March 2020, Mumbai

Visible Invisible

solo exhibition
by Pratik Ghaisas

2nd March To 8th March
11AM To 7 PM

Jehangir Art Gallery

Inauguration on 2nd March at 5pm.

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Thanks for comment JK