Aicon Gallery New York is pleased to present Split Visions | Abstraction in Modern Indian Painting, an exhibition of master-works on canvas by four iconic artists from India’s first generation of modern painters. India’s Progressive Artist’s group is represented with major paintings by Vasudeo Gaitonde, Ram Kumar, and S. H Raza, while master painter Natvar Bhavsar rounds out the group with his signature ethereal style of multi-layered abstraction developed contemporaneously in New York City.
Vasudeo Gaitonde is often regarded as one of the finest and most evocative abstract painters of India; however, Gaitonde despised the title of ‘abstractionist’ bestowed upon him, preferring his work instead to be described as ‘non-objective’. Art, throughout Gaitonde’s career, was in itself a complete process, boldly exploring both the inner and outer realms of form and shape. Gaitonde, unlike his contemporaries, preferred a slow and meticulous painting process, hence his production of very few finished major works on canvas.
The frenetic abstract works of Ram Kumar have served to consistently set his work apart from the more simplistic narratives that have developed around modern Indian art. By insisting on the abstract, Kumar demands something that most of his contemporaries do not: A privately contemplative viewing experience. His works are often less about transcendence, and more about the visual encounter between the viewer and the painting in front of them. Thus, Kumar’s evolution from his earlier figurative work to later abstract landscapes can be understood as the embodiment of a break between depicting something (the individual) and articulating the possible response of that something; between looking at a picture and participating in it.
Since his work with the Progressive Artists Group, S. H. Raza’s subject, style and technique have evolved over distinct stages, drawing influence from his migration to France, his involvement with Abstract Expressionism in the 1950s and 1960s, and ultimately his return to a core Indian aesthetic philosophy in the 1970s. Breaking away from specific locations in time and space, or the confines of a nationalistic focus, his body of work is trans-cultural in its appeal, proving Raza an especially significant Indian artist on a worldwide stage.
An iconoclast known for his abstract expressionist and color field painting, Natvar Bhavsar, born in Gujarat, India in 1934, was greatly influenced by Indian abstract expressionism, and has been exploring the emotional and intellectual resonance of color for more than 50 years. His vibrant colors convey energy and the vivid, passionate pulse of life. Bhavsar’s paintings are a part of more than 800 collections, including the collections of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.