About My Work - Keshav Malik

Keshav Malik

It is about four or five days ago that Shridhar was kind enough to let me view some of his new work. Subsequent to that I have, by the very nature of my vocation, looked at art works by a variety of painters. From among these, I received sundry signals as are not to be ignored : each one an expressive enough communication of such stimuli which amount to a particular thrill.

His work leads us right into the house of imagination; indeed it rekindles our dying affections. So well he has honed his art-craft that it conjures the disinterested moment of privileged seeing back into being. He helps disclose how rich, at heart the mundane, non-descript; entirely functional objects can be, provided we ourselves were in ‘correct’ postures. That there random, in-the-wind-rolling thread, that other dust particle, the stain on the carpet, and in fact all such, could be replete with gems of vision, with choreographies of colour. Verily, delicate, so subtle, is the physics of the underbelly of the world, that it intensifies our optic nerves to a point when we witness such flashes of light which amount to being insights. These are moments when objects we have been gazing abstractedly suddenly detach themselves from the habitual flux of impressions to become vividly clear and important for us. We may not experience these illuminations very often, but still these innocent, child-like seeings are invaluable to the crux of our inner economy. The quiet surrender to the world’s mute phenomenon for a few seconds may indeed cleanse the doors of our perceptions.

Shridhar’s new works were to convey the claimed for intensified vision, or in-seeing, of unforgettable vividness, his labours would be said to have achieved what they set out to do. And for which he deserves thanks. But let us remember that we can be charmed out of our skin only by those acts of craft – of vetting and editing – in which this artist appears well versed. That along is the magic behind all good art making. To treat us to the movement-cum-the stillness of spirals, of whorls, of concentric circles, in slow, but sure rhythmic undulations, is to lift the crushing weight of civilization off our stooping shoulders. This way lies the coming of the innocent eye. I wonder what other services can the painterly muse render us. From the too muchness, a parole, a temporary liberation!

What I scribble above is no kind of appropriate critique of an artist’s art-craft, but a word of appreciation. If artists better know how really paint or puzzle out compositions, the viewer in turn has to learn how look, look simply, without prepossessions.

Here below, I append a sample of my own craft, in rhythmic words. I believe it draws on the same vein of experience as Shridhar’s own :

There, slowly wheeling
On the line of the dawn horizon
A series of perfected shapes in the round!-
Ciphers, noughts, the full moon?
And what those deep vowel sounds
That now echo
In the grand canyons of the mind?
Perfected shapes, phantom sounds!
Is there something like a ferris wheel
That wheeling, wheeling still more
Si going into ever widening circles-
Seeking an orbit as wide as the sun’s?
And what those unearthly sounds?-
The cry of wind, water, fire… in unison,
And carried down through
The long labyrinth of time!
Shapes, sounds! – as if
Drops of the deepest dye of surprise
To entrance eyes and ears;
Of whom, I can tell
But abysmally little

Keshav Malik