Emily Jane Cushing shares a note on the Shanti Panchal exhibition at Piano Nobile in London
London: Piano Nobile is currently hosting an exhibition of London-based artist Shanti Panchal’s work entitled ‘Paintings of Exile and Home’.
North Gujarat born Panchal studied at the Sir J.J. School of Art in Bombay and moved to London in the late 1970s; this exhibition displays a variety of his contemporary portraiture.
Panchal’s paintings are often executed on a large scale, and use spaciously abstracted figures which often paradoxically aid to convey a sense of intimacy between the subjects. An example of this is in the work ‘Admiration’, portraying two lovers who stand independent of one another in the work, but evoke the connection they share through a sense of vulnerability and their desire for intimacy.
Panchal’s delicately applied fresco-like watercolours in strong tones depict a range of subjects in both a powerful and emotive manner. These subjects vary from gazing lovers in ‘Pillow Talk’, 2009, to a portrait of his three sons in ‘A Private Space’, 2007. The earthy palette used by Panchal in his work is influenced by the ‘very dry ochres and reds and browns’ of the isolated rural community landscape of his youth.
The works exhibited show influences from Jain and other miniature paintings, particularly in the strikingly large, dark eyes he often paints, in a stare focused beyond the confines of the frame. Panchal’s distinctive portrayal of the extended female hairline down to the eyebrows, symbolising a third eye, also introduces a symbolic spiritual dimension to the works.
The exhibition will be on view at Piano Nobile from 15 May to 8 June, 2013
Browse the artist’s website for more information on his life and work