In the 1960s, when Indian abstractionists were discovering this new genre, Natvar Bhavsar found himself amidst the colour-field artists in America, then at the height of their success…reports Asian Lite News
DAG will participate at the sixteenth edition of Art Dubai 2023 with Natvar Basvar: Cosmic Whispers, a solo presentation dedicated to New York-based artist and India’s major colour-field abstractionist Navtar Bhavsar, featuring works from 70s to 90s – the most decisive decades in the artist’s practice.
Among the most institutionally acquired artists with a six- decade career in New York and collected by institutions globally including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Guggenheim, National Gallery of Australia as well as corporates such as Goldman Sachs, American Express, Chase Manhattan, Union Bank of Switzerland, among others, Bhavsar’s extraordinary talent combines his arduous technique with textured, intensely coloured paintings using dry pigments to create truly unique works of art.
In the 1960s, when Indian abstractionists were discovering this new genre, Natvar Bhavsar found himself amidst the colour-field artists in America, then at the height of their success.
Among the likes of Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman, Clyfford Still, Piero Dorazio and others, Bhavsar soon created a distinctive identity for himself, bagging major exhibitions at leading galleries and museums for his large-format works and, established his practice in New York where he continues to live six decades after first arriving in the city.
The founding-farther of hand-sifting pure powder pigment onto canvas, Natvar’s meticulous attention to detail in working with colour pigments is being defined as an exquisite talent that to date is unmatched around the world.
What sets Bhavsar apart from his peers is a unique technique and way of using colours that lends depth to his abstract compositions. Using organic pigments and alkaloids, Bhavsar sieves dry colours through a variety of sieves and tools to build up layers of a dominant field colour surrounded by whispers of colour pigments that result in a constellation of tones and textures. These parallel universes exhort an exploration that connects his life in America with his memories of growing up in India, its culture and festivities, deep philosophies and celebration of nature.
“Natvar Bhavsar is a major artist globally and we at DAG are delighted to ensure that his legacy is shared worldwide through exhibitions such as ‘Cosmic Whispers’ at our booth at Art Dubai. We have played a complementary role since 2016 when we first included his works in our exhibitions, and our relationship has since grown from strength to strength. It is a privilege to work with an artist of his calibre and talent, and to see the great admiration he enjoys for his practice,” said Ashish Anand, CEO and MD at DAG.
Of his use of colours, Natvar Bhavsar has said, “Colours engage you fully, lead to freedom and create a sublime world that is deeply fulfilling.” In keeping with his roots, Bhavsar titles his paintings with words from diverse Indian languages as an ode to the land of his birth.
Beyond that, his art is truly global. Over the decades, there have been shifts and transitions in his visual vocabulary but he has remained consistent in the manner he manipulates colour to place it at the centre of his creative process. His art is as deliberate as it is detailed. No other artist has used colour as potently as Bhavsar who is as mindful of its presence as he is of its absence, making him one of the foremost players among the world’s leading colour-field artists and India’s greatest exponent of the possibilities offered by it.
Natvar Bhavsar is an abstractionist known for his colour field paintings, working on large canvases with pigments made of natural and organic materials. Born in an educator’s family on 7 April 1934 in a small town in Gujarat, he studied to be a drawing teacher and began his career in Chanasma. He then joined the C. N. School in Ahmedabad for its five-year diploma course in art offered by Sir J. J. School of Art; simultaneously, he continued to study for his master’s in teaching art.
As a twenty-seven-year-old, Bhavsar learnt about the possibilities of further education from a class fellow’s father and enrolled at the Philadelphia Museum College of Art to study industrial design, but once there, changed course to study painting at the Tyler School of Art, Temple University. Here, he met Janet Brosious, an artist and art educator; they would later marry in 1978.
In 1970, he had his first show at Max Hutchinson Gallery, New York. His paintings invariably have an Indian title, linking his works closely to the land of his birth and youth, and they often address subjects or myths familiar to those from India-whether in a literal or abstract sense. Bhavsar is at once a thoroughly American painter and product of Indian culture,’ Carter Ratcliff, art writer, said of him. Well established and widely appreciated, Bhavsar lives and works in New York.
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