Of Brushes and Poems: The Eclecticism of Gieve Patel

By Abir Pothi

Concerning the Spiritual in Art

In an interview with the poet Arundhati Subramanium, the artist Gieve Patel talked about a phrase from Wassily Kandinsky’s book ‘Concerning the Spiritual in Art’ that has informed his artistic practice as a painter and a writer.

Dead Politician

Done in the 1960s and 70s, the paintings were influenced by photographs of politicians being garlanded and felicitated that Patel repeatedly came across in newspapers. In TheDead Politician(1972), Patel presents a caricatured portrait of a dead politician being garlanded.

The Letter Home

His captivating paintingThe Letter Home(2002) tries to capture this predicament with the writer and the labourer occupying the canvas.

Meditations on Old Age II

Meditations on Old Age II(2013) is one of the many paintings dealing with old age and sickness that Patel exhibited in his 2017 exhibitionFootboard Rider.

Looking into a Well: Inverted Banana Fronds.

Finally, in 1991, Patel turned to his third artistic subject: his boyhood love for the wells he encountered in his native village of Nargol in Gujarat.