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Artist Profile1
An abstractionist who revels in his inner world
His creations spell out the trauma of terrorism and the violence erupting like the lava of a burning volcano, leaving out any scope for ornamentation and embellishment. Raw splashes of color, the generous use of red suggesting the blood of violence is complemented with the shadows of sprinkles of color leading to darkness, creating a space where the brazen brutality of people who believe in the anti-human and anti-peace movement, effectively reducing the struggle of the innocent to one of futility and failure tinged with death.

His work carries boundless energy even from a visual and metaphoric perspective, as one can sense a veritable implosion of energy as he pummels the handmade paper. This flow of energy is quite obvious in the colors as well as the formation of the strokes. The energy gets represented in such wonderful ways that it exudes mystery.

Born in Kurduwadi in Maharashtra, Vijay Shinde is known as a painter’s painter. His childhood memories keep appearing again and again in his works. His memories are peppered with the village path washed with earth and the smells and fragrances arising from the fields. The artist studied joined at the Sir JJ School of Art, Mumbai, from 1977 to 1982. “Life at art school was like liberation for me, a new way of life, the mind that was wiped clean of all doubts,” he recalls. Among his teachers at the J.J., Vijay Shinde cherishes fond memories of Prof. Palsikar who was strongly influenced by Paul Klee. The academic training on the one hand and the strong impression of Klee on the other infused in him a fine sense of balance between restraint and freedom. Mumbai based Tao Art Gallery had hosted an exhibition of recent works, entitled ‘Shakti’, by him.

His work borders between formlessness and deft definition – one can see snatches of images or constructs, familiar but mired in a haze of captivating colors that keep us away from a complete and immediate elucidation. His suite of works was enthralling, energizing and mystifying - powerful to emote and to cause emotion, an accompanying note to the series had stated. It elaborated to state: “In some ways, the artist reflects reality in the very fact that his creations hover between a realm of definition and abstraction - its inspiration lies in his native culture and religion, albeit its expression rips it open to different interpretations and boundless imagination through obfuscated techniques.

The soul of the artist, he feels, should not be bound. Divine force tends to act as dictator, and the mystique of the empty canvas reveals itself slowly. Art and expression of visual images, he reveals, is about passion so, it demands the need to introspect, instead of imitating, to turn inward, to gauge within oneself. This is necessary to bring to the fore the spiritual essence of being, and staying tuned to the mind. His introspective silence gets gradually transformed onto the serene field of the canvas, astutely awakened through the intensity of the mystique of life in its magical and myriad forms. The subtle and violent shades of earthy colors emerge from the pitch black of darkness. The anger and the anguish arising from the aftermath of meaningless yet ruthless violence and indiscretion find able expression on canvas.

“Without doubt, Vijay Shinde is the most exciting abstractionist in India today,” said artist SH Raza in 1992. For the talented artist, art has evolved into an ongoing spiritual journey in quest of the Self, a journey of liberation, creativity, sustenance and destruction. It is an infinite journey of meditative exploration that leads him to using theatrical props minus the melodrama and the ornamentation, the doodles at school suddenly making their presence felt as a harking back to his childhood days.

There is a strong element of geometry that structures his works, depicting the hallucinations linked to the three–headed God “Trimurti” (Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara) representing creation, sustenance and destruction, in that order, mentions art writer Durga Kainthola. His creativity, now honed and shaped by the aftermath of fanaticism, terrorism and ego inspires him to express himself.

MF Husain has been a strong influence on Vijay Shinde Though Vijay Shinde is better known for his brilliant abstracts, he is no less brilliant at portraits. According to him, art is an endless journey. There are no short cuts. “I have blind faith in Art and do not expect anything in return. I follow it because I know of no other,” he says to encapsulate his artistic processes and philosophy.