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Paramjit Singh’s lovely landscapes
Paramjit Singh’s landscapes, with their loaded silence evocative of the other worldly, became over the years, a distinct mystical utterance in pictorial terms. The esoteric element in his early landscapes was perhaps apt response to the mystery in tensions between the deep pictorial space and the sharp shadows of inanimate objects in the picture metafisica, a short-lived school in modem Italian art, and to the later Surrealist paintings. All these were transformed over about two decades into a personal statement in his wonderful paintings.

His masterly brushwork tends to chart a captivating course on the canvas, which provides the viewer with fabulous panoramic visions of truly magical and mystic landscapes. The bush, soaked in thick pigment, refuses to take a pause before having filled the whole surface and before the paint has made sure that each natural form present in the frame has been rendered with a tactile, colorful presence. Those dappled areas of the water bodies and sky too are given a tactile feel even as the lovely lines that etch out the gorgeous grass, the luscious leaves, the peduncle, all appear to be possessed by a lyrical, mysterious musicality.

Born in 1935 in Amritsar, Paramjit Singh had his art education in the School of Arts, Delhi Polytechnic (1953-58). He honed his skills in printmaking at Atelier Nord, Norway (1973), and was the founder member of 'The Unknown', a group of young painters and sculptors based in Delhi. He was a faculty member of the Department of Fine Art, Jamia Milia Islamia, New Delhi, for 29 years, and retired as Professor in 1992. He won the National Award in 1970. Among his selected solo shows are 'Beauty & Loss: A Landscape Diary', Vadehra Art Gallery, Delhi (2010); 'Shall Return Again....', Centre of International Modern Art (CIMA), Kolkata (2009); and ‘Green Thought’, Bodhi Art, Singapore (2008) apart from exhibitions at Vadehra Art Gallery, Delhi (2007, 2002, 1998, 1995); Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai (2005); CIMA, Kolkata (1999, 1994); Sakshi Gallery, Bangalore (1997); Gallery Chemould, Mumbai (1996, 1974, ‘78,’81, ‘85, and ’90); The Gallerie, Chennai (1994); Centre for Contemporary Art, Delhi (1990); Dhoomimal Gallery, Delhi (1975,’79,’84, and ‘87); Gallery Chanakaya, Delhi (1969, ’70); and Triveni Gallery, Delhi (1967).

Apart from joint shows ‘Inner / Outer’, with Rajendra Dhawan at Talwar Gallery, New York (2002) and Mahinder Tak, Washington DC (1993), the celebrated artist’s works have been showcased internationally at venues including Grosvenor Gallery, London ('Progressive to Altermodern: 62 Years of Indian Modern Art' in 2009, 2007); Talwar Gallery, New York (2004); Air Gallery, London courtesy Gallery Maya (2001); City Art Centre, Hong Kong organized by Gallery Maya (1996); Gallery Kilian, Celle, West Germany (1989); Cultural Centre, Bomlitz, West Germany (1987); Gallery Caprano, Braunchewig, West Germany (1983, 1985); Gallery Alana, Oslo, Norway (1981); Mainz, West Germany (1981); Art Gallery Achenbach-Lohrl, Dusseldorf, Germany (1973); Gallery Babylon, Burssels (1973); Kunstner Forbundent, Olso, Norway (1973)

His recent noteworthy participations include 'Art for Humanity', Coomaraswamy Hall, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, Mumbai (2012); 'Ethos V: Indian Art Through the Lens of History (1900 to 1980), Indigo Blue Art, Singapore (2011); 'Art Celebrates 2010', courtesy Gallery Threshold at Lalit Kala Akademi (LKA), Delhi to coincide with the Commonwealth Games (2010); 'Contemporary Printmaking In India', courtesy Priyasri Art Gallery, Mumbai at Jehangir Art Gallery (2010); and 'Freedom: Sixty Years After Indian Independence', CIMA, Kolkata (2008).

The veteran artist has participated in several important events and fairs in India and abroad, including 'Tryst with Destiny: Art from India', courtesy CIMA, Kolkata and Singapore Art Museum in association with NGMA, Delhi at Singapore Art Museum (1997); 'Chamatkara: Myth and Magic in Indian Art', courtesy CIMA, Kolkata at Whitley's Art Gallery, London (1996); ‘Indian Encounters’, London, New York and Dubai (1993); Art Biennale, Cairo, Egypt (1994); Art Festival, Israel (1994); Cultural Centre, West Germany (1987); Festival of India, Russia (1987); Art Biennale, Ankara, Turkey (1986); XV Tokyo Biennale Japan (1984); Vth International Triennale, Delhi (1982); ‘Indian Art Today’, Dramstadt, Germany (1982); ‘Exhibition of Prints’, courtesy Atelier Nord and Gallery 71 at Tromso, Norway (1973); and the First Young Asian Artists Exhibition, Tokyo (1957), among others.

Paramjit Singh’s practice is very significant in a sense that it creates a serene space for itself and of a truly aesthetic haven for its involved viewers. The passionate artist takes us through a continuum or series, skillfully evading any possibility of self-duplication. His paintings, done both in the representational and the realist style, come across as a gentle exploration of the myriad possibilities that exist beyond the mundane world and environ that surrounds us; traversing the humdrum of day-to-day life, noises and human activities as well as busy streets packed with people and vehicles.