7-13 August 2015 #770

Puran Khadka in the abstract

Khadka has evolved by never altering his nature in 35 years
Stéphane Huët

Photo: Gopen Rai

In his seventh solo exhibition, Wholeness, displayed at Park Gallery, Puran Khadka demonstrates his progress in abstract painting with 25 pictures.

After graduating from Mumbai’s J J School of Art in 1980, Khadka dabbled in realism and academic paintings and only started working on abstract subjects in 2000. It was neither a conscious decision nor a choice.

“It just came naturally,” says Khadka. “I realised there was something beyond reality.” Khadka remembers it was difficult for him to fit into Kathmandu’s art scene with his new technique at that time.

Neera Joshi of Park Gallery confirms Khadka had some hitches along the way. “I’m so proud to have Puran’s work here,” she tells us. “I remember when I first saw his abstract paintings in his studio at the Nepal Academy of Fine Arts, he was struggling.”

After delving into abstract art, Khadka’s work evolved from paintings loaded with coloured shapes and meandering lines to more simple patterns. “I guess I’ve reached maturity,” quips the painter.

Wholeness has 25 paintings displayed at Park Gallery, but none of them has a distinct name. Khadka explains: “Wholeness depicts the seen and the unseen. These colours naturally came to me after years of contemplation.” The only colours on his paintings are red, grey, black (the unseen) and white (the seen).

Of the 25 works at Park Gallery, 19 were specially painted for Wholeness. The other six, regrouped in one corner of the gallery were painted three years ago and have curved brown lines which Khadka says represent ‘life’.

In his more recent paintings, ‘life’ is more discrete, the brown line passing vertically among the red, black, grey and white bulk shapes. “The straight vertical line is eternal life,” he explains. “With this exhibition, I’ve found my constant.”

Saroj Bajracharya, the curator of the exhibition, reckons Khadka’s work may not be intelligible for the broader public. “People tend to seek in art things they can relate to,” he says. Bajracharya himself needed to understand the painter’s way of thinking to select his work.

The exhibition could have displayed more of Khadka’s work, revealing the different steps in his career. As Bajracharya says, Khadka has evolved by never altering his nature. He says: “The language may have changed through the years, but the message has remained the same.”

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Technique of abstraction

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