Kracking the Koan … !

solo exhibition by  Sanjay Mhatre . . . . . 4th -10th June 2010, Jehangir Art Gallery

My  paintings  explore  colour  fields,  composition  and  calligraphic  strokes  through  Buddha  iconography  and  pagodas  using  acrylic  and  silkscreen  on  canvas.

Influence,  Process  and  Theme

The current works are based on my Dhamma Yatra to Sri Lanka led by Vipassana Teacher Shri S.N.Goenka-ji in 2006 in which 500 Vipassana meditators participated. We sat for group meditation at several places of historical importance to Vipassana. The images for the silkscreen are sourced from architectural photographs that I took during the Yatra. The script in the paintings is taken from 500 year old Khmer / Khom palm leaf texts of Cambodia. They have been deciphered to contain Buddha’s teachings. The titles of the paintings come from my fascination with Zen.

My technical sources of inspiration are Andy Warhol’s silkscreens and Robert Rauschenberg’s compositions with bold brush strokes. I use sgraffito (streaking strokes to expose the lower layers of paint) for the worn out tactile feel.

Vasudeo Kamath’s paintings provided me the initial impetus when we first met at the Vipassana International Academy, Dhamma Giri, lgatpuri, Nasik in 1994. Thereafter, Vijay Achrekar has been a powerful and consistent support to realign me towards the nuances of art each time I strayed away. Jayanta and Varsha Pandit gave their valuable comments and suggestions that helped me look deeper into my works in progress. We travelled together to Paris, Amsterdam, Venice, Florence, Rome, London etc. to study the works of European masters.

Education – A brief history of my transition from Science to Design to Art

I graduated from Sir J.J. College of Architecture in 1994 after which I began a self-initiated venture called ‘WALK THRU’ that rendered service in the realms of architectural design and presentations, 3D modelling, perspectives, walkthrough animation and graphic design. At the same time, I was a visiting faculty member at several colleges of architecture and interior design in Mumbai. After practicing Vipassana meditation for several years, visiting the art galleries of Europe, Middle East and Asia and studying Indian Aesthetics and Art Criticism & Theory at Jnanapravaha, the latent artist in me was fired-up to pursue art.

My journey so far has traced the fascinating worlds of (in alphabetical order) Architecture, Astronomy, Architectural Visualization, Computer Graphics, Ham Radio, Indian Aesthetics, Music, Photography, Physics, Painting, Sketching, Sci-fi movies, Trekking, Travelling, Vipassana Meditation, Yoga and Zen. I realized that Visual Art was the only way of self-expression to resolve a head bustling with creative energy and so I plunged into it.