Akbar Padamsee (b. 1928)
Akbar Padamsee (b. 1928)

Untitled (Metascape)

Akbar Padamsee (b. 1928)
Untitled (Metascape)
signed and dated ‘PADAMSEE 09’ (upper left)
oil and acrylic on canvas
66 x 45 in. (167.6 x 114.3 cm.)
Painted in 2009
Acquired directly from the artist
Private collection, Mumbai
India Modern, Narratives from 20th Century Indian Art,
exhibition catalogue, New Delhi, 2015, p. 239 (illustrated)



Akbar Padamsee’s Metascapes, begun in the early 1970s, represent the artist’s long, unique involvement with the genre of landscape. As the word Metascape suggests, in these paintings Padamsee is concerned with the mythic or archetypal landscape, which is expressed visually by a stringent ordering of timeless elements, such as the earth, the sun and the moon, in temporal space. “Rather than an intent to describe the natural world per se, the artist’s object was the total conceptual and metaphysical ken of his visual environment, with his paintings impressing an immediate perceptual experience that relied on expression and sensation rather than realist recognition.” (B. Citron, Akbar Padamsee - Work in Language, Mumbai, 2010, p. 195)

The use of a bold palette, and the importance the artist places on texture and construction, complements his choice of landscape as subject, with earthy tones and vibrant reds, blues and yellows. The colors evoke a sense of movement in an unmoving space. Padamsee states, “[...] colours expand and contract, colours travel on the surface of the static painting [...] colour trajectory is strategy [...] A colourist needs to master the art of silencing some colours, so as to render others eloquent.” (A. Padamsee, India Myth and Reality, Aspects of Modern Indian Art, Oxford, 1982, p. 17) Yashodhar Dalmia describes Padamsee’s metascapes as “[...] brilliantly choreographed planes of light and dark made in thick impasto which evoke mountains, field, sky and water. The controlled cadence of the colors breaks into a throbbing intensity as the artist in his most masterly works, evokes infinite time and space.” (Y. Dalmia, Indian Contemporary Art Post Independence, New Delhi, 1997, p. 17)

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