Body Rhythms : There is a music in the female form
The drawings of female nudes at Gallery Aurobindo might surprise many a viewer. Because Om Prakash is better known for his Mandalas and Neo Tantric inclinations. These drawings were done way back in the ’60s while he was studying in New York as a Fulbright scholar for his post graduation. Evolving through the painful and complex process to find a perfect mode of expression for his images, visions and ideas, the artist has worked in many different mediums and styles and is restlessly creating to unload himself of the intense pressure of his visions. The result is a prolific output: innumerable series of exhibitions which include not only geometric forms like circles, triangles, squares, rectangles, pentagons and hexagons but landscapes, clouds and portraits too. And the work is always stamped by his unique way of handling. The female nude form had reappeared in his paintings on Ragas, the musical modes which recreated the Bhava, and later in the glimpses of Prakriti. His nudes are always in a realistic trend. “I have indeed treated on the path which on a close range sublimates the sensuous and erotic. Their realism is to contain the fantasies,” he says. His love of music is reflected in handling of colours and more so in the lines of his female forms. “They have become more fluid because rhythm is one of the most beautiful aspects of a female form.” Even his geometric or Tantric patterns are influenced by his search for sound images – “The arithmetic of my paintings is more musical than anything else. I have constantly tried to see by music and hear by my paintings.” The drawings exhibited here are not mere sketches but done in great detail and have most important ingredient of a painting – a mood, an expression. For Om Prakash each of these is an independent work of art with a character, expression and the mystery of the female form in it. This element of mystery had obsessed him since his early years and had led him to abstraction and symbolic manifestations for many years. But today, after many decades, he realises that “nature has the same geometry and form, and the human form has the capacity to say what I was trying to express through non-figurative forms.” Modern painters in the name of distortion are spoiling art, regrets Om Prakash. One can achieve very high quality of expression through distortion, the prime example of which is Picasso. Today, after retiring from the post of the Principal, College of Art, he has more time to paint and play on his sitar. “I was waiting for this kind of freedom all my life – no urgent phone calls, no file work, no fixed working hours,” he says.
Aruna Narlikar, The Times of India, 13 January 1995