Thrill of a Run-away Marriage
Om Prakash always promises a retreat from the burden of everyday living to a private experience. The promise has been fulfilled with the exhibition of his recent works at the Dhoomimal Gallery. The new has the thrill of a runaway marriage between geometry and female figure. His art remains innocent of having any reference to either the myths or magical symbolism. And that is some job, because his contemporaries keep misreading him, explicating his work in the Minimal/Tantric vocabulary made familiar during the mid-sixties. Drawing together of many interpretational process of different musical traditions was another source of misreading, of which much was made in the art context of the seventies. That was the period when formal discoveries about the basic elements of colour’s tonal structure had a priority over other painterly pre-occupations yet the earlier mode of colour geometries in which weaving of colour tonalities was the name of the game, has not totally receded into a far horizon. These conscious devices of colour geometry, he worked on in the seventies have now become an accompanying process of fixing meaning to his new iconography. The appearance of female figure, the symbol of old mother – goddess of fertility, is by no means trivial; when seen within the context of colour-geometry of space it has a ritualist immanence. Thus the meaning of the female figure implicates an occult sphere; if seen as a nude in the European tradition it looses all its mystery, something that is totally alien to the artist’s intentions. It is a context-dependent meaning that we should look for, not the meaning we read as a conditioned response of an art historical interpretation. The meaning is written into the picture itself; and that is the only way of seeing, of interpreting, his recent paintings. Most of the intentional objects of consciousness are dead art, for they can be explained. And that is not the Om Prakash method. For the viewer the work offers a kind of literal seeing, seeing that is not corrupted by accumulation of art historical interpretations, it is a seeing with cognitive passivity, while for the painter it is an ungrounded way of acting. This is how we assimilate the meaning of an experience and Om Prakash’s visual grammar offers a rich fare; it is like a tune of which an enclosed visual experience is something that no words can translate.
K.B. Goel, Patriot, New Delhi, 29 September 1985