While the major Art Galleries of the city have been rebooting themselves to resume activities and mount shows even if without formal inaugurals to avoid congregations, the Hutheesing Centre made a departure on Sunday December 13 when it came forward to host a live painting session and a talk as part of the inaugural of Ajay Choudhary’s show of abstract works, of course by taking all caution as mandated under norms.
The live painting has become a popular part of the shows in Ahmedabad and we instantly recall similar endeavours at Amdavad ni Gufa earlier this year by Aarti Patel and Vrindavan Solanki. So the live thing and the subsequent talk anchored by Curator and Coordinator Giriraj Kadia with the artist before the show started, kept the day ticking.
A Police officer by profession, Choudhary is known for his consistence in the thorough pursuit and practice of abstraction and the present show is no exception. The Show features about 18-20 works majorly in four varieties going by the choice of colours and treatment and in three categories going by the size – two of them giant works laid down flat on low pedestals, eight almost life size and the other eight to ten about three into four feet, all of these are displayed in the usual course.
All except two works present a melancholy mood which we tend to associate with despair, distress, deprivation and dislocation strewn all around, more so with the world wide pandemic and general strife, unrest and paucity facing the millions. The dark or sullen hues, heavy textures and thick layering of the paint in some six works which are painted in hues of brown, violet or black are reflective of these strains across all societies. Another set of eight works that also use pulp paper – some of them looking like collages that also use box files and such stuff – is uniquely earthen brown throwing up some strange rustic feel but not devoid of scars and broken psyche. All in all the show calls for invocation of an aesthetics of ‘absurdity’ for one to relate to what is summed up as ‘Psychic Automatism’.
This abstract treatment of the works thus with a certain chaotic restlessness, lack of control and abandon is attributed by Peter Negi of Nature Morte, New Delhi who had perused the artist’s style in 2019, to ‘the natural dictates of neurology and brain physiology;’ in this case the urge seems to break free from the disciplinarian work culture and daily professional drill of the artist. Also citing another example of a fashion-designer couple who preferred collecting non-figurative art and elaborating upon this kind of functioning of the brain in artists as well as collectors Negi says “It seems that the brain naturally craves a full spectrum of experiences and stimulation, and therefore balances itself in relation to how it handles inputs and choices.” A note by Husain written for Chaudhary in 2007 at Dubai and displayed at the show also seems to have pre-empted the assessment by Negi and it says “Ajay Choudhary, a man who held his baton of order and discipline outside, here in his painting, the brush is held with a firm grip to create his own discipline in colour and line.”
The artist on his part has also listed some underlying ideas in relation to his works and creativity in general. It also appears that some of these ideas are specific to some works on show but it is not easy for the visitor to relate to all of them in the absence of any tabulation marks, numbers as in the illustrative list or tags on works. And yet these ideas do explain the creative process of the artist in general which obviously abounds in abstraction alone.
The show is on till Sunday December 20.
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