"Gold Mine

An exhibition of paintings by Usha Phenany Pathak

19 February - 18 March, 2022

Usha Phenany Pathak recalls her journey as a painter who has travelled across the globe but returns to her mother-land bringing with it the power of her artwork, that may be compared to the ocean contained within a dewdrop.

The rapidity with which Usha paints definitely defines her work. Known as the lightning portraitist who could put down line, colour and composition with an amazing amount of speed and precision to capture the resemblance of her sitter, the young Usha began as a force to reckon with. However, do not mistake the speed with which she works as a kind of nonchalance. She knows every colour, every stroke and every evocation that she renders on canvas.

There is also a certain abstraction that is part of her work, even where her portraits, although they capture the essence of the sitter, there is a use of colour and line that may be characterised as a post-Impressionist fervour. Her work is characterised by its contours and mannerism, where the glazed brushstrokes bring a vibrant quality and unbridled passion to the work that elicits a visceral emotional impact. In a sense her work taps into “Synthetism” and according to its tenets, the final visual form is determined by a synthesis of the outward appearance of the natural arrangement. The artist’s feelings about the subject matter, and the aesthetic considerations of colour, line, and form decide its attractiveness. In Usha’s works there is an emphasis on the face and the other aspects are rendered in an abstract manner. Whether it is the clothes or the areas surrounding the figure.

In Usha’s abstract works we see a swirling power, a kind of wrestling with an inner energy to finally reach a sense of calm, the meditative quality and the luminosity of colour descending upon the work at last. In some instances, the lines dripping colour, the heaving splashes of colour, the transitions of reds to browns…all convey that sense of movement and vitality. While in other compositions the blues and the blacks, the floating squares and rectangles, the white
gauze bandage and the linearity of the inner forms bring to the viewer that sense of meditation that the artist seeks to convey.

– Georgina Maddox