You are Mine and (below) Goldfish by Devdatta Padekar
Claude Monet, Van Gogh, Picasso, Cezanne, Rembrandt — the list of famous artists inspired by nature is endless. And each one of them imparts his own interpretation of what nature means on his canvas. For Mumbai-based young artist Devdatta Padekar, nature does not and cannot exist in isolation. It has to be seen and felt in relation to other life forms that exist on earth, especially humans. In a solo show, evocatively titled Feelings, that is being presented by Gallerie Ganehsa in Delhi, Padekar shows 22 works that reflect the sensitive bond of curiousity, innocence and love between humans and nature. The show is remarkable for the 34-year-old artist’s adept handling of the human figure replete with its complex structure, movement, grace, emotions and character. What’s more, the artist has worked in two extremely diverse mediums — oils and pastels — yet giving them both a soft, ethereal touch that speaks of his mastery over both mediums and his attempt to ‘discover something new within an old medium’.
Says Padekar, a JJ School of art alumnus who later studied art at London and Florence, “Nature has always inspired and fascinated me as an artist. The human figure has always played a pivotal role in my paintings as it constantly challenges me. Equally important for me is the mood of the subject and the harmony of colours and composition.”
Art was always encouraged in Padekar’s household and his parents supplied the young boy with sketchbooks and pens to draw various objects around him but he was never given a pencil and eraser. Looking back at those days, Padekar feels that what his parents were doing at that time was to build his confidence in drawing and panting. That informal training, combined with his formal studies at the Sir JJ School of Art, Mumbai, The Camberwell College of Arts in London and The Florence Academy of Art in Italy developed the artist’s ability to isolate fleeting, precious moments through figures.
He says, “I find sensitivity is becoming increasingly rare in today’s world. The forms of nature I chose are some of the most dainty and beautiful aspects whose very presence and existence can bring joy to most of us but are forgotten in today’s fast-paced life.”
Padekar’s works in the show transport us to a land of serenity and beauty that nature has. For instance, in a pastel on board titled I am all yours, a child is shown with various birds and, as the title suggests, the child becomes one with nature. “Looking at a child makes us lose all our worries and tension. There’s innocence in them regardless of colour, class or religion.”
Other works like Sparkling Diamonds, Goldfish, A Touch are all about the relationship between humans and nature. Padekar has exhibited at Jehangir Art Gallery in Mumbai (2002, 2007), Gallerie Ganesha in New Delhi (2008), Shridharani Gallery (2008) and Florence Dance Center, Florence (2010).
(Poonam Goel is a freelance journalist who contributes articles on visual arts for unboxedwriters.com)