Akbar Padamsee is a difficult artist to pin down. Sometimes he chooses to be figurative and sometimes his works borders towards abstraction, but then Padamsee never cared for such trivial things. He is more concerned with the form, volume, space, time, and color of his works. He is one of those meticulous painters who are conscious of every mark that they make. Artistic creation is a meditative process for him.
This inveterate modernist was born in 1928 and passed out of the J.J. School of Art, Bombay. He left for Paris in 1951 and soaked in the electric atmosphere of the city for over a decade. He returned to India in 1967.
He was contemporary of many other young radical painters who later went on to become celebrated painters. He along with his friends like M.F. Husain, F.N. Souza, Tyeb Mehta, V.S. Gaitonde, believed in rejecting India’s past tradition to create a new vocabulary of paintings.
Akbar’s Figurative Works
His figurative works were both cerebral as well as sensual. His primary aim in these paintings was to explore the existential crisis of the urban man. The “modern personality” who is exposed to elements of extreme stress, alienation and solitude was his chosen subject. He paints the figures with both pain and tenderness, which is why his paintings are visually provocative and beautiful.
His metascapes and mirror images are the most recognizable feature of his works. The metascapes are offshoots of landscapes and mirror images obviously show his preoccupation with the duality of existence, of form and space. Padamsee consciously binds his figures by an invisible line and uses an assemblage of strokes to give his paintings a transcendental feel.
The Ku Fu factor
Padamsee was fascinated with the Chinese method of ku fu and liberally used it in his paintings, which in turn gave his figures an agile grace.
The Versatile Genius
Akbar Padamsee has also dabbled with filmmaking, sculpture, and writing as an art critic. His free spirit has allowed him to experiment with a wide range of media and his inherent talent and perseverance has ensured that he succeeds in them all.
Padamsee lives and works in Mumbai.