Jeram Patel: A Reconstruct (tentative)

by Team ACF
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Date: Jan 17th – Feb 17th, 2024
Venue: Palette Art Gallery, 14 Golf Links, New Delhi-03

Born in Gujarat in 1930, Patel’s early artistic exploration at Sir J. J. School of Art in Bombay led him to reject academic traditions. A scholarship for studies abroad brought him to the Central School of Art in London in 1957, influenced by Lucien Freud’s rejection of color.
Patel sought a new Indian modernism, distancing from Western concepts. His experimentation with materials led to the blowtorch series, focusing on abstraction and invoking strong imagery, his art, dominated by black in paper and canvas paintings, showcased free-flowing forms under tight control. His aversion to color, especially in blowtorch works, reflected his belief in the decorative nature of color.
Patel’s use of black fascinated him, carrying a mysterious and enchanting quality. His rigid consistency in rejecting sentimentality and adhering to form and material set him apart.

In th 1960s, he embarked on experimenting with a blowtorch on laminated plywood which he in the 1970s temporarily abandoned, revisiting them in the 21st century.

Patel’s most captivating endeavor materializes in his “Hospital” series circa 1966, delved into themes of death and despair, offering a unique perspective in his oveure. The drawings, both harrowing and unsettling, unfold from context to creation, capturing the hospital’s ethos, he reveals grotesque creatures and anatomical fragments, meticulously sketched with a crow quill and ink.
Prayag Shukla a writer and observer of Jeram’s work, who has written about him in various journals including his solo exhibition in 2005 written that ” The art of Jeram Bhai, as we used to fondly call him, is full of wondrous heat, images, and one can easily deem him a great ‘Image Painter.’ Stalwart has once remarked that if an image is strong, it represents nothing else but its own reality. In this context, Jeram Bhai’s each work is real and is about itself; it is to be seen as such.
He created masterpieces in his early phase with figures, objects, in a stunningly realistic manner, firing lines, the synergy one seldom finds in drawing. In his later blossoming works, once again, he fires a non-impactful barrage, creating a unique impact through the infusion of energy.”

Despite his quiet and retreating demeanor, Patel’s legacy remains mysterious and alluring, unmatched in Indian art for its sheer boldness. Patel, unlike popular artists, remained committed to sparse austerity and abstract quality.

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