Nasreen Mohamedi (1937-1990) is most often depicted as a recluse laboriously working on her drawings while battling Huntington’s disease. The retrospective “The Vastness, Again & Again” seeks to change this myopic vision. Mohamedi is perhaps best known for her early ink and graphite works: energetic tree-like forms that gradually calibrated, exposing a charged inner world through rhythmic lines and poignant breaks. Curator Puja Vaish diversifies this reading, injecting an unusual burst of color by including oil paintings and collages said to have been made by the artist during his time in Paris in the early 1960s (Mohamedi left the bulk of his untitled and undated work.) More significantly, Vaish avoids the narrative of the solitary genius to center the reciprocal relationship between the artist and his peers, whose works are set in dialogue with those of Mohamedi in the space of ‘exposure. In the late 1960s, Mohamedi was given a studio at the Bhulabhai Desai Memorial Institute in Bombay (now Mumbai), an interdisciplinary medium of a kind sorely lacking today. Among devotees MF Hussain, Ebrahim Alkazi and Ravi Shankar, the young Mohamedi found an affinity for the masterful abstractions of VS Gaitonde, whose muted opaque landscapes may have influenced her own. Mohamedi’s strokes, however, reveal a continued predisposition to lightness, his painting often transparent or lifted from the surface after application.

The most abundant archive of material comes from the artist’s time in Baroda (now Vadodara), where she taught at the Faculty of Fine Arts between 1972 and 1988. A warmth pervades the photographs of her with her friends , colleagues and students. There are delicate sketches on ornate letterhead belonging to Bhupen Khakhar, a lengthy reflection on his work by Gulammohammed Sheikh, and letters to his dear friend Nilima Sheikh. Among the announcements of exhibitions and the reports, there is a cover page of Vrishchik magazine featuring a linocut by Mohamedi as well as an editorial roundup taking stock of the artists’ protests against the bureaucracy of the Lalit Kala Academy. Vaish puts together the compelling case that despite Mohamedi’s fierce protection of her personal space, she was deeply engaged with the people and events around her. By maintaining these soft marks of creative kinship, “The Vastness, Again & Again” makes the master abstractionist more accessible, allowing a re-reading of her lines through an affinity lens.

You may also like

Leave a Comment

@2022 – All Right Reserved. Designed and Developed by artworlddaily