The mind's eye

A Seminal Exhibition of Prabhakar Kolte

9 October - 10 December, 20221


Prabhakar Kolte’s paintings are, in the best sense of the word, endowed with artistic life: they possess the throbbing of life, its somber notes and radiance, and they exert an influence on a human’s inner life via the eye. As an artist Kolte regarded point and line to plane as the “organic continuation” of ideas he had addressed in his earlier works. Drawing elements from his own observations and experimentation on the relationships between form and colour, as well as his extensive readings of perceptual poetry and literature both in Marathi and English, and artistic theory from the twentieth and twenty first centuries Kolte descended into his own practice.

Playing with the geometry of different colour fields in the 80’s and 90’s he explored the relationships between planes; he produced complex and powerful combinations of independent fields and lines during this period, illustrating the manner in which their internal forces and individual characters interacted with one another in different combinations. In this way, Kolte showed the viewer the myriad ways in which a simplified singular vocabulary could be varied and  modulated to create ever more interesting and intriguing visual dynamics.

His experiments in this vein continued into the 2000s. with his willingness to experiment more broadly with his incandescent imagery, specifically the possibilities of structuring pictorial space. By this time, his abstract constellations had become less concentrated, the fields gradually converging upon one another as if drawn inwards/outwards by a strange gravitational force. While they still make extensive use of subtle, geometric components, the compositions also feature numerous shapes that have clear associations with the natural or man-made world. They call to mind both mathematical  signs and man-made geographical indicators, such as in an air field or landing pad, boldly graphic  shapes delineating a specific location within the terrain.

We see an expression of his desire to insert specific energies into his paintings Whether dark or light or bright the works illustrate his desire to turn towards a chromatic richness, as he moves away from the starker, pale, monochromatic grounds of previous years, to a warmer and more variegated colour palette, blending soft, mixed-hues amongst a retinue of primary tones.

– Uma Nair