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REVIEW [Delhi]

Preeti Kathuriak

RAM KUMAR: Endearing Vistas of Abstraction

“Any form of art is a form of power, it has impact, it can affect change – it can not only move us, it makes us move.” – Ossie Davis

Art has the capacity to take you to another realm; it can detach you from the harsh, mundane existence and carry you elsewhere. Such is the experience when you stand surrounded by the artworks of Ram Kumar, one of India’s foremost abstract painters.

Born in Shimla in 1924, Kumar is a senior contemporary artist whose process-centric abstracts speak volumes about him and the society. Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi, recently exhibited some new works of the veteran artist and it was awe-inspiring to see Kumar going stronger, defying age and time. With Kumar’s vast repertoire of works, the exhibition was like a drop in the ocean, leaving the viewer yearning for more. The fifteen canvases that were exhibitedwere executed by the artist between 2007 and 2015 and stood the testimony of time and temperament.

The canvases on display were cascading with colour but still had a serene impact on the viewer. Achieving this polarity is in itself a wonder and even more wondrous is the fact that the works are abstracts. It is absolutely intimidating how Kumar achieves this balance between exuberance and calm, all on the same surface. It is needless to say, that this balance exists within the artist and miraculously gets transferred onto the canvas. Kumar seems to have drenched his soul in the beauty of nature and he has dipped his brush in those memories and then carefully crafted these abstracts. They are a result of an absorbed mind and an ardent observer. Like, Kumar says, ‘Sometimes I feel, nothing should happen in my paintings’ – he strives to achieve that stillness. A growing realization that Kumar has to be true to his observations, yet have a stylistic singularity, echoes through his works.

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