Chemould Prescott Road opens an exhibition of works by one of India's greatest abstractionist painters

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Chemould Prescott Road opens an exhibition of works by one of India's greatest abstractionist painters
Mehlli Gobhai, Untitled, 2010 - 2012. Mixed media on constructed canvasse, 34 x 28 x 4 in. 86.4 x 71.1 x 10.2 cm.

MUMBAI.- Chemould Prescott Road announces its new exhibition, ‘Mehlli Gobhai: Epiphanies’, co-curated by Ranjit Hoskote and Nancy Adajania. It opened on Tuesday: 27th July 2021. The show presents a series of memorable breakthrough moments in the nearly 70-year-long career of Mehlli Gobhai (1931-2018), one of India’s greatest abstractionist painters.

‘Mehlli Gobhai: Epiphanies’ is an edited extract of ‘Don’t Ask Me about Colour’, the large-scale retrospective of Gobhai’s work that Hoskote and Adajania had co-curated at the National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai, early last year. The retrospective was cut short by the Covid lockdown, depriving viewers of an opportunity to immerse themselves in Gobhai’s art, and to discover his New York phase, which was exhibited publicly for the first time. To viewers who missed the retrospective, ‘Epiphanies’ offers a chance to engage with Gobhai’s extraordinary and magisterial oeuvre.

‘Epiphanies’ draws on the extensive holdings of the late artist’s estate. It includes his work in varied media and from the New York and Mumbai phases of his life. On display are Gobhai’s paintings, drawings, graphic works, sculptures and notebooks, as well as glimpses of his expanded practice as an author of books for children.

The title of the exhibition refers to the periodic thresholds of discovery and invention that Gobhai crossed, as he refined and deepened his artistic practice. The exhibition includes his percussive and little-known polychrome paintings of the mid-1970s, when he responded both to everyday life and to the Pahari miniatures through the use of high colour: mint green, sunflower yellow, vermilion, and cobalt blue. The show traces his passage, from the late 1970s across the 1980s, towards the dark, brooding palette of black, grey and umber which he is better associated.

Gobhai’s experiments with dry pastel and aluminium powder will be on view, as will the ‘constructed canvases’ that he innovated, blurring the line between painted surface and sculptural contour. The artist’s remarkable life studies and figurative drawings will also be shown, to demonstrate his dual and mutually replenishing commitments to abstraction and the human presence.

‘Mehlli Gobhai: Epiphanies’ will remain open until 23rd August 2021. The gallery is now open from 11am to 5pm

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