Masters and beyond at the AICON Gallery

By Priyanka Gupta

Modern masters as they are called by many, the likes of  Vaikuntam, Haloi, Jamini Roy, M.F. Hussain to name a few, found their way onto the walls of the Aicon gallery in Palo Alto this August. I was curious to see the collection and found myself attending the opening as well as the talk on art as investment and the future of Indian contemporary art.

Although I am an abstract artist, the work that captured my attention at once was 'Femme Verte' by Thoda Vaikuntam, a brightly colored green sari-draped woman with decorative patterns on the fabric. This painting brought in so much calm and tranquility that I was drawn to look deeper. The line of Vaikuntam has a magical quality suggesting both contour and volume. The woman adorned with jewels and wearing a beautiful sari had a blank look and seemed to be restricting something. It seemed as though she was carrying a lot of weight of society and was a prisoner of her own making. 

Next I went to the collection of apparently M.F. Hussain's , although they were signed Colrain.
I was forced to clarify this and asked the gallery founder, Prajit Dutta about the collection. I wasn't so convinced but I was told that they were acquired from the Hewitt collection. Well I have heard of Hussain signing differently adding to his name but never seen him not signing his name and sign 'Colrain'.

Another interesting work was by Shyamal Dutta Ray titled, 'Man with Sitar'. One of the most accomplished water colorists of modern Indian art, his works were mostly done on paper. This one had a somber emotionally broken down man sitting with a sitar on the road probably after trying hard to please the passersby with his music. The colors, tones, the line quality all reflected the sadness of this man.

There was an interesting slideshow presentation on the development of art and artists from post-independence till the present after which was an exchange between Prajit and Dipti Mathur, an eminent art collector. I must say I wasn't quite intrigued by the talk and chose to walk away after a while.

I went there with many expectations and did feel like I have seen better collections of the masters. I do congratulate the gallery for building up the collection. It's always a great feeling to possess works of these masters, few of whom are no longer with us. To have their works is a treasure in itself.

'Post-modern masters' runs till September 30th at the AICON gallery, Palo Alto.

Priyanka Gupta is a Bay Area artist. She can be reached at guptapriyanka79@gmail.com. Her works can be seen at the following up-coming shows –

1) Fine Art Auction and Show by the Fine Arts League of Cupertino,

Auction and Reception 7pm Sept 12th,

Show 13th, 14th 10-5pm at the Cupertino community hall, 10350 Torre Avenue, Cupertino.

2)Pratham Bay Area Gala 2008 on Saturday, September 13, 2008, 6.00 p.m. onwards at Marriott Fremont Silicon Valley, 46100 Landing Parkway, Fremont,  CA 94538

3) "5th Annual Blues Bash" at the Triton Museum-Sunday, September 28, 2008 from 12:00 – 5:00 p.m.- a musical jam to support the arts.

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