Above and Beyond
'Above and Beyond' focuses on the work of three modernist Indian artists who all reference the idea of the transcendental in their work.
S.H. Raza (b.1922) was drawn to landscapes through his childhood memories of Indian forests and artistically through the influence of German Expressionism. Raza noted "The most tenacious memory of my childhood is the fear and fascination of the Indian forest…nights in the forest were hallucinating; sometimes the only humanizing influence was the dancing of the Gond tribes. His works evoke moods, seasons and colours - as the writer Partha Mitter has stated: "timeless landscapes and uninhabited cities suspended in the air beneath a dark sun." In the latter part of his career Raza stated to explore Indian Upanishadic philosophy and the Tantric Cult.
Ganesh Haloi (b.1936) spent seven years at the start of his career working for the Archaeological Survey of India making copies of the Ajanta murals. This experience influenced his later work which moved towards nostalgic landscapes that seemed to yearn for a lost world. His work became gradually more abstract with dots, dashes and lines replacing the trees, water and fields of his earlier work. This transformation might be understood as a move from an exterior landscape to an interior psychological landscape. Haloi has said of his work:
"Isolation is the most important factor in these paintings. You are alone with nature, and then you become a part of it; you participate in it."
G.R Santosh (b.1929) began his career as landscape painter drawing on the surroundings of Kashmir. However his work changed direction in the mid-1960s when he was influenced by the Kashmiri mystics Lal De and Nund Rishi. This lead to him producing work that reflected on Tantra, an in particular the Trika and Shaiva philosophies of Kashmir - often using a square or trident as central motifs. His images often combine the male and female form to create a pure image of human form that transcends physical likeness.