“Drawing is the soul of painting.”
Shadows both literally and metaphorically have been an integral part of the life of Indian artist PR Narvekar. For a third of his life Narvekar’s desire to be a painter was over shadowed by the harsh realities of life. As he told the Economic Times’ Ashoke Nag, “I married in 1978, three years after graduating from JJ School Art, and had three children. For a long time, it was impossible to paint. I couldn't afford it. I turned to freelance textile designing and commercial art for advertising agencies. Necessity and responsibility teaches one to earn money.”
Once his daughters were safely married Narvekar was able to dust off his dormant desire, acquire a studio and along with a successful exhibition he was encouraged to pursue his dream. As he has said “My first show opened in 1997 at the Oberoi hotel in Mumbai. I was doing watercolour landscapes and Rajasthani style paintings at that time. All my paintings at Oberoi were sold out. Then, in 2001, I developed the style that has continued till today.”
Three years in the development, Narvekar’s elongated figures painted with a monochromatic palette and involved in narratives of the everyday become his signature style, a style that has caught the eye of the art world.
As Professor Sarvapriya Walia wrote in the Contemporary Monograph series dedicated to Narvekar “The expressions are based on extreme simplicity, but beyond the easy-flowing lines - thick or thin, straight or curved, continuous or broken - there is the uncomplicated rhythm of everyday routine. A remarkable aesthetic sense seeks out beauty in postures and actions without which life is incomplete. If one were to capture the true spirit of Narvekar's paintings, three words suffice: form, lines and rhythm.”
And when asked where the inspiration for his works came from, Narvekar replied, “Shadows. They are always elongated. This form appealed to me.”
Narvekar’s current exhibition In the Hues of Life is on show at Kolkata’s Aakriti Art Gallery until the 30th of May.