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Abstraction in the Mumbai Context: A Panel Discussion
11 Sep 2013

In this session conducted in Marathi, the participants reflected on the emergence of a specifically abstraction-oriented artistic practice in the Mumbai context, associated chiefly with the artist and educator Shankar Palshiker, and its prominence from the 1960s through the 1990s.The panel contextualised these developments in Mumbai in terms of the larger shifts and explorations in Indian abstraction through this period.

Participants: Dilip Ranade (curator and artist) | Madhav Imartey (artist and critic) | Manisha Patil (art historian) | Prabhakar Kolte (artist and educator)

Moderator: Abhijeet Tamhane (critic and editor)

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Dilip Ranade

Dilip Ranade received a diploma in drawing and painting from the Sir JJ School of Art, Mumbai in 1971 and has since participated in several group shows in Mumbai, New Delhi and Bangalore and has also shown his work in solo shows at the Jehangir Art Gallery in Mumbai. Being extremely interested in Museology, Ranade wanted to further his studies in this field, and received the Indo-US subcommission grant to do this in 1984. This artist worked with the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, formerly the Prince of Wales Museum in Mumbai, as curator of its collection of European paintings. Ranade also enjoys teaching, and delivers lectures and slide shows on “Portraiture” as well as “Techniques of Diorama Making” at major art universities and institutes in the country.

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Madhao Imartey

Madhav Imartey is a prolific painter and an established art critic born in Nagpur in 1953. He completed his G.D. Art (Drawing & Painting), 1979 from Sir J.J. School of Art, Mumbai; Bachelor of Fine Arts in Indian Vocal Music from Mumbai University, 1994 before going on to earning a Master degree in Fine Arts in Indian Vocal Music from Mumbai University, 1996. Imartey had a solo shows at Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai and has participated in numerous group shows at Gallery Threshold, Delhi; Gallery Espace, Delhi; Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Mumbai; Tao Art Gallery, Mumbai amongst others. Imartey remains fascinated by disused and defunct objects and elevates these daily objects into a work of art. Collages form an intrinsic part of his artworks, using railway tickets, postcards and inland letters among other things.

Imartey reviewed classical Hindustani music and interviewed several eminent classical vocalists for Lok Prabha & Maharashtra Times. He also reviewed art exhibitions for columns in Marathi daily papers such as Sakal, Kesari, Loksatta and Maharashtra Times. The artist lives and works in Mumbai.

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Dr. Manisha Patil

Dr. Manisha Patil is an art historian and painter. Presently Professor of Art History at Sir. J. J. School of Art, Mumbai, she has been in the field of art education since 1984, with a long stint at Sir. J .J. School of Art and Govt. Chitrakala Mahavidyalaya, Nagpur. She completed her Bachelor and Masters in Fine Arts in Painting from Govt. Chitrakala Mahavidyalaya, Nagpur followed by Ph.D. in Art History from M.S. University, Baroda.

She has contributed regularly to several art publications such as Art India, Art News and Views, Art Journal, Chinha, Sesquicentennial catalogue of J.J. School of Art and Shilpakar Charitrakosh.

Patil has initiated the conservation of the J.J. School of Art collection of paintings. She has curated an exhibition of the works of Vinayak Masoji at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya. She participates in seminars and is a guest lecturer at Mohile Parikh Center, Asia Art Archive, M.S. University, Baroda among others. She is also a practising artist who has had several major shows with artist husband Prabhakar Patil in Mumbai, New Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai.

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Prabhakar Kolte

Prabhakar Kolte was born in 1946 and received his diploma from the Sir J.J. School of Art, Mumbai in 1968 and taught there between 1972 and 1994. He has had several solo shows and participated in important group exhibitions throughout his career including ‘Art- Mosaic- celebration of Calcutta’s Tercentenary’, Calcutta and Mumbai (1990); ‘Wounds’, CIMA Gallery, Calcutta (1993); ‘Parallel Perceptions’, Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai (1993,1994); ‘Watercolours: A Broader Spectrum-II’, Mumbai (1995); ‘Three Artists’, Hong Kong (1995) and Galerie Foundation for Indian Artists, Amsterdam (1996); ‘Six Indian Painters’ curated by Geeta Kapur at Toto grad, Yugoslavia, Ankara and Istanbul (1985).

The early work of Prabhakar Kolte shows the strong influence of Paul Klee, the Swiss artist and teacher whose childlike figures belie the sophistication of his richly textured surfaces. Kolte’s abstract layering with paint echo cityscapes where the signs and textures reveal his modernist consciousness. Bands of color juxtaposed against each other create bold ascensions and recessions. His early canvases are characterized by a single, dominant colour in the background, on which lighter and more complex geometric or organic forms are juxtaposed. Kolte lives and works in Mumbai.

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Abhijeet Tamhane

Abhijeet Tamhane received a degree in Journalism and Communication from the University of Pune (1992) and a Master’s in Arts in Politics. (Mumbai, 1988) He began writing his weekly review essays on Art in 1998 as a journalist at Maharashra Times, Prahaar and Loksatta. Apart from these essays, he has written very comprehensively on new trends in art. He has been one of the few critics to witness transformations in Indian art and its reception in the last 12 years. He has interviewed renowned artists such as Sudhir Patwardhan, Atul Dodiya, Bose Krishnamachari, Jatin Das, Jitish Kallat, Laxman Shreshtha, Prabhakar Kolte amongst others and written several exhibition catalogues. A bilingual writer, he has written for magazines like Art India, Art & Deal and Art Journal. His lectures include ‘New Trends in Art’ for the Professors of State-aided art-colleges in Maharashtra, ‘Woman’s representation in Art: past, present, and future’ : SNDT college, Mumbai; ‘Reading through shapes: Art and the possible life and death of Hemant Thackeray’, for the JJ School of Arts Hostelliers. He has also was a speaker in many seminars such as ‘Picasso’ at National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), Mumbai. At present, Tamhane edits the Edit and Op-ed pages with Loksatta, a leading Marathi Daily News Paper in Mumbai where he lives.

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