“Neo – Tantra Art” Late – Dr. Laxmi Sihare, Patriot, New Delhi, 15 January 1984

Neo – Tantra Art

Art in the service of Tantra contained numerous iconographic elements, starting from abstract forms to figurative images, their residues, and different combinations. Among the important ones are : Bindu (primal point), Oval (a cosmic egg), Square, the perfect form manifested by pairs of opposites acting as complementary rather than contradictory (symbol of the extended world in its order), Circle (symbol of continuous movement), Triangle and its variations facing upwards and downwards (respectively symbolising Purusha, the eminent principal, and Prakriti, the power of manifestation), Trident (the emblem of its deity Shiva), piercing eyes (symbol of Shakti). Om (the primordial sound, sound symbol of supreme one) and numerous variations of organic, geometric, floral, vegetable, animistic forms, gods and goddess etc. drawn from different Indian religious doctrines. Symbolism of colour was also major constituent and so also varying visual manifestations of sound, light and space etc. Historically, some of the great masters of abstract art such as Kandinsky, Mondrian, Malevich and Paul Klee etc. who were very much drawn towards Upanishadic and Vedantic teachings, partly through the writings of Theosophists and Anthosophists etc. and partly through direct sources, had already paved the way for Indian artists to explore new areas of Indian esoteric doctrines in order to transform them to formulate and enrich their aesthetic theories and creative vision. Om Prakash’s paintings are obviously inspired by and aligned with the spiritual and visual manifestations of Tantra. Symbolism or its improvisations play an important role e.g. triangle facing upward, denoting Purusha (positive or male spirit) and facing downward indicating Prakriti (negative or female spirit), Circle, symbolising the cycle of time, and soaring forms indicating yearning tendencies to be one with the cosmos. However, the crucial elements are the emanation, and or bursting of primordial sound, having numerous vibrating tones, which by and large , have different corresponding colours and hues. Om Prakash, besides being a painter is also a musician who plays Sitar. Therefore, it is obvious that the inter-relation of sound and colours should constitute the vital force of his paintings. It is a matter of further research as to whether or not he has strictly followed a point-to-point relationship between the seven musical notes and seven colours as propagated in different Indian treatises on cosmogony and music; however it is certain that the substance of this concept acts as the inspiring force for him. His symbolic landscape integrating natural forms, titled Madhyam, reveals his initial convictions. From the centre of the hills emanates and bursts forth the primordial light the property of which is sound which develops into the successive macrocosmic forms. In consonance with the figurative character of the painting the middle and the longer circular forms contain absolutely essential features of a human face. The blossoming of primordial sounds into the full range of music notes – possibly different manifestations of Ragas – with the corresponding colour is revealed by his painting, Consonant Verticals (Fig. 28 Page 19). Other paintings denoting his preoccupations with different symbolic connotations and the harmony of colour and sounds, indicate his yearning to strike a perfect balance.

Late – Dr. Laxmi Sihare, Patriot, New Delhi, 15 January 1984

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