Art Exhibition

Palette Art Gallery presents a solo show of artist Jeram Patel that pays a tribute to his illustrious career spanning almost sixty years

Palette Art Gallery is celebrating artist Jeram Patel’s body of work in a new exhibition titled “A Reconstruct’. The show features over 20 artworks of the artist who in the art history is remembered for embodying the quintessential image of the modern artist- non-conformist, experimental, emblematic of an untamed spirit. It will be on display January 17th to February 17th, 2024.

Born in Gujarat in 1930, Patel’s early artistic exploration at Sir J. J. School of Art in Bombay led him to reject academic traditions. A scholarship for studies abroad brought him to the Central School of Art in London in 1957, influenced by Lucien Freud’s rejection of color. Patel sought a new Indian modernism, distancing from Western concepts. His experimentation with materials led to the blowtorch series, focusing on abstraction and invoking strong imagery; his art, dominated by black in paper and canvas paintings, showcased free-flowing forms under tight control. His aversion to color, especially in blowtorch works, reflected his belief in the decorative nature of color. Patel’s use of black fascinated him, carrying a mysterious and enchanting quality. His rigid consistency in rejecting sentimentality and adhering to form and material set him apart.

The exhibition represents the diversity of Patel’s oeuvre and how he played with materials. From paintings drawn with ink on paper to works created with blowtorch technique and laminated wood – the versatility of Patel seeking new materials and inventing the process of working will give an insight into his working methodology.

“The solo exhibition of Jeram Patel is a tribute to an illustrious career spanning almost sixty years, showcasing the profound impact of his non-conformist spirit and unique artistic approach. As a pioneer who rebelled against modernistic norms, Patel’s work, from blowtorch-on-wood experiments to black-and-white drawings, reflects his imaginative force and originality. Co-founding ‘Group 1890’ with like-minded artists, his art transcends the real, delving into existential and spiritual realms. The exhibition authentically decodes and reconstructs Patel’s journey, offering viewers an enchanting exploration of materiality, imagery, and the mysteries of life and death. Jeram Patels enduring influence, celebrated in this show, invites a renewed appreciation of his timeless art,” says the gallery.

Talking about his approach towards creating art, the curatorial note highlights that “he often seemed to be performing on the canvas spread on the ground, or blowing torching wood, digging as if into the dark loam, evoking both memory and membrane.”

“In his early works, we find him mixing spirits and grittiness of material – tempera mixed with sand, plaster, polymer, zinc white, fevicol etc. creating an image through a deliberate working- where mystery takes over conscious and learnt ways of making,” it adds.

In art critic and poet Prayag Shukla, who was also a dear friend of Patel, words, “Jeram Patel’s seminal contribution to contemporary Indian Art is well recognized and is rightly seen as unique, in terms of evocative imagery and charged energy, which manifests existential, as well as spiritual queries and intents, in a free yet assertive manner. Starting from the blowtorch on wood, in the early sixties he gradually moved on to the black and white drawings, done in ink on paper, in a sustained way.”

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