“Drawing - It is direct. Like scratching with your fingernail, or pressing with your fingertip. You hold in your fingers the instrument that makes the mark. Unlike the brush, which lies between your hand and the paint or water. I am conscious of catharsis rather than satisfaction in this act”. – Sudhir Patwardhan
One of our finest contemporary artists Sudhir Patwardhan took the audience through the exhibition “Taking the Line for a Walk”, which showcased an excellent set of drawings from the Jehangir Nicholson Collection.
The exhibition is an attempt to return to the drawing board and turn the spotlight once again on the art of Drawing, that has been gradually overshadowed by painting and newer art practices. Many of India’s greatest artists have all created drawings at various points in their careers and the exhibition presents some of these rarely seen works.
Sudhir Patwardhan was born in 1949 in Poona. He is a self taught artist and a practicing radiologist. He began painting seriously in the 70’s when he moved to Bombay. Patwardhan’s works centers around one poetically monumental panorama of an urban and natural environment The human figure remains the center of his painterly universe. His early paintings of construction workers, rickshaw drivers and railway porters possess an expressive urgency.
Patwardhan uses scale to maintain an emotional distance from his subject. Recording landscapes in transition has been a lasting interest for him. He often paints the suburbs, shanty towns and satellite townships where his subjects work and live.
Patwardhan’s canvases are densely populated reflecting the hub of city life often with emphasis on the ordinary, working man. His human forms are imbued with a sense of innate dignity as they go about performing their chores in busy city streets or in suburban construction sites.
Apart from several solo shows Patwardhan has participated in international exhibitions like ‘Aspects of Modern Indian Art’ Oxford, UK 1982; Contemporary Indian Art, Festival of India, London, 1982; Seven Indian Artists, Hamburg, West Germany, 1982; Contemporary Indian Art Festival of India, New York, 1985; Festival of India, Center George Pompidou, Paris 1986 and ‘Coupe de Coeur’ Geneva, 1987.
In 2004, a monograph on his work, ‘The Complicit Observer’ was written by Ranjit Hoskote. In 2007, Hoskote also wrote ‘The Crafting of Reality- Sudhir Patwardhan: Drawings’, which was translated into Marathi and a monograph in Marathi was published in 2012. Anjali Monteiro and K. P. Jaysankar have made a film on Sudhir. In 2012, the Mumbai theater group Awishkar staged a play ‘Chitragoshti’ based on Patwardhan’s paintings.
Patwardhan curated an exhibition of Indian Contemporary Art ‘Expanding Horizons’ which travelled around Maharashtra. He also curated a show at Guild Art Gallery, Mumbai and Sudarshan Art Gallery, Pune. He lives and works in Thane, Mumbai.