The process in artist Ram Kumar's works has always been a subtle reference to what came before, and even though the artist has not returned to the 'figurative' nature of his work since 1960s, it is worth noting that his works continue to speak of the human condition.
His ongoing exhibition here, "G/rove" opens up the space between a landscape and an abstraction while employing hues of earthly colours evoking a sense of movement, flight and an aerial perspective.
For the artist, the title infers that the most important thing to do today is "to rove within the 'grove' of one's own deep seated opinions, desires, fears and uncertainties…and to search, discover that pure flower of unscented beauty that also goes by the name — conscience."
The show is on at Vadehra Art Gallery till February 22.
The abstraction in his work is reflective of his keen technique and ability to transcend the depiction of a human body and still remain sensitive and humane.
Many of the works presented here resemble and refer to the forms and backgrounds of his previous paintings but continue to create a mystery for the viewers through a rich nostalgia of not only the past but also the known.
"These recent watercolours mark a new conceptual direction in my diverse practice inspired by ruminations on the many intersecting planes/levels of consciousness that we constantly experience, but that which often escapes our grasp and is even more difficult to explain, Kumar said.
"It's not something that is easy to bring to inquiry at will. The possibilities of representational painting or painting itself for that matter, with it long and varied history and politics, as a medium suited to capture or allude to the fluid states of the many levels of consciousness holds immense appeal," he said.
These works often lend themselves to places or lands that do not exist. Their surfaces, textures, marks, watermarks, often alluding to existing or non-existing places, but even in its unyielding form and aesthetic, its totemic flesh is still very fresh in our collective memory.
"This exhibition is ambitious in terms of its highly varied choice of artists and their practices, the works that they've contributed and the multi-sensorial dimensions of these various contributions that am sure will engage not just the audiences , but also become fertile ground for unforeseen and unexpected dialogues among the art works themselves.
"It is often in these interstices that associative meanings of profound unities are discovered or perhaps completely contrasting positions struck, leading to irresistibly delicious food for debate and thought," the artist explained.
"This would only be a natural reflection of the highly charged and pervasive nature of any debate or position held within the discourse of environmentalism in today's world," he added.
"Here the debate stands to be doubly complexified further owing to the already existing discourse and long varied history on environmentalism /activism within the realm of art practices," he explained.