Prabha Shah Artist artworks for sale
Artist: Prabha Shah
Live in: New Delhi, Delhi, India
Artworks for sale: 3.00
Prabha Shah Artist Bio:
In a Language of her Own Prabha Shah can claim to have created her own language. Deprived of the gift of hearing, she never quite formed a comprehensive textual vocabulary. Her verbal expressions are laboured. But after almost five decades of unwavering practice in painting, she has forged her own patois within the meta-language of visuals. The language her brush speaks today follows the universal grammar of stones, mortar, glass and water – motifs that keep coming back into her work. Yet, the language is so distinctively toned that it is recognisably her own. Painting, or rather the urge to express through painting, came out as a life force from within Prabha. Her family members recall how a little-understood young girl, constantly at odds with the world, calmed down all of a sudden when she discovered the world of painting. After initial training in Jaipur, she started depicting the houses, alleys, arches, doors, animals and people of Rajasthan. The colours and variety of visages in Udaipur, where she moved to, greatly influenced her. When the family shifted to the national capital, the humans and animals thinned out and heaped blocks of Delhi suburbia came to dominate. There was one constant through this shifting oeuvre: nature – its plants, stones and water – always remained within the frame. In Delhi, she got a corner of an atelier at the Triveni Kala Sangam and started interacting more with other artists. Her depictions began to evolve. She started looking more within the structures and colours she wanted to paint with a sense of balance that was still evolving. She doesn’t seem to be a subscriber of the concept of ‘significant form’, a Modernist obsession with the depiction of the essence of a figure rather than the figure itself. Yet, like with some card-carrying Modernists, the surety of physical laws has become less important than the internal logic of Prabha’s compositions. Vivid, primary colours have gone into corners and dabs, and layered ones have claimed more space on her palette. These new colours are often not born of two primary tones, but are mixes of three, four or five colour tubes. Textures have gained more prominence, too. Whereas earlier she at times experimented with using random texts to form textures, she used the look of granite cross-sections or strewn rubble to guide the viewer’s gaze. Rather than just balancing frames, with intuitively placed swathes and lines, she started conveying depth of field. This became a bit difficult as at the same time her work was slowly shifting towards more abstract formations. As she kept practising, some trademark styles – such as peeling surfaces, doors with distended frames, or itinerant, naive harlequin checks – that could convey depth started to emerge. Her brushstrokes evolved, too, and she started using more and more the technique of softly rubbing in colours, rather than laying them out with brushes. Even when she was revisiting Rajasthan through her works, she was doing it less for the sake of nostalgic cultural coding than for using the forms and colours as letters that would coalesce into words in her new vocabulary. By this time – say, a decade ago – Prabha was already deep in conversation with herself and her language had started rolling off the brush almost unconsciously, much like an ustaad rendering a raag after years of internalisation through sadhana.