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Artist Profile2
Yashwant Deshmukh’s exploration of form and the space beyond
He is an artist who has chosen to explore interplay of form, space and the void beyond to put across his vision and visual realm. Yashwant Deshmukh traverses space – infinite at that – within the bounds of a canvas. For this prolific painter, the essence of his practice lies in ‘shaping the space’ within. It’s the mystic space of our unconscious mind that prompts him to paint.

The exploration of space is not in physical sense alone. It’s the space that appeals through one’s perception akin to the deep silence of nothingness that beckons him at a deeper level. He explains: “I look to explore space – seen or unseen; empty or filled. I try to establish, interpret, feel and experience it."

Yashwant Desmukh’s work embodies his search for space beyond forms with impeccable minimalism of expressions. The elements, such as volume, shade, light and movement play minimal role in his canvases wherein each line, angle and curve is to be viewed in its entirety. It’s an iconic representation of an individual’s self-contained universe. Elaborating on his practice, he states: “My painting is essentially form-oriented. The basic idea is to grasp the relationship between a form and the space around. The forms create invisible planes and the interaction of these planes with the negative space surrounding them pushes the boundaries further.”

Born in Akola, Maharashtra in 1963, Yashwant Deshmukh did his Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA- Painting) from the Sir J.J. School of Arts, Mumbai (1983-88). He has had a series of solo shows, including 'Regarding the Cone', Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai (2008); ‘Circling the Mountain of Light’, Bombay Art Gallery, Mumbai (2008); ‘Maverick of Inert’, organized by Bombay Art Gallery, Shridharani Gallery, New Delhi (2007 and ‘Space Within’, Bombay Art Gallery (2006), apart from shows at Viart Gallery, Delhi (2005); Jehangir Art Gallery (2003,1997); Gallery Jean Cocteau, Alliance Francaise de Bombay (1996).

Among his selected group exhibitions are 'Homage to Matter', Tao Art Gallery, Mumbai (2009); 'Keep Drawing', Gallery Espace, Delhi (2008); 'Point and Line to Plane VI', Gallery Beyond, Mumbai (2008); ‘Does Size Matter’, Art Konsult, Delhi (2007); ‘Reading Paint-Spring 2007’, Gallery Soul flower, Bangkok (2007); ‘Imprints’, The Ueno Royal Museum, Tokyo (2009); ‘Understanding Oneness in Diversity’, Kitab Mahal, Mumbai (2007); ‘The Indian Art Show 2006’, Chapel Gallery, Singapore (2006); ‘Present Future’, NGMA, Mumbai (2005); and ‘Abstraction is Alive…’, Gallery Beyond, Mumbai (2005); among others.

In his works, colors simply help define the tones and intensity of space and state the nature of the form. Incidentally, he prefers acrylic. Another noteworthy aspect of his oeuvre is the usage of day-to-day objects like a bucket or a funnel that served as individual protagonists, albeit, to be strictly viewed in relation with the space in which they levitate. By employing them he is looking to investigate the metaphysics of space and form.

For instance, in his recent series 'Regarding the Cone', Yashwant Desmukh examines the geometry of the cone, articulating its formal philosophy – that of holding and emptying. In his minimal renderings, which look as if they have been revealed by a process of removal rather than formed by patient overlaying, he expresses his dual preoccupation with Space and its skin of Time that come together in momentary stasis. He notes: “One side of the cone moves to the inner space and the other corner moves to the outer space. Between these two directions, there’s the form of the cone. While experiencing the space, it loses its appearance, its physicality. It remains as only the directions to inner space and outer space.”

Yashwant Deshmukh’s work is philosophical and poetic in nature, leaving the viewers intrigued. Though very little is left to the imagination, a curious sense of structural build-up of all these elements opens up a new perspective. Summing up the thought process behind artistic journey, the artist says: “For me painting is a process to understand true relationship of nature through our perception and attitude. I believe in the power of intuition, which is always flowing...”