First published in "Manish Pushkale: The Painter of Light", catalogue by Akar Prakar and Mapin in 2016, in conjunction with Musee de Guethary.

Somehow I must find a way of making things; not plastic written things but realities that arise from the craft itself. Somehow I too must discover the smallest constituent element, the cell of my art, the tangible immaterial means of expressing everything…

- Rainer Maria Rilke to Lou Andreas-Salome

Art has a very complex relationship with reality. It discovers and explores reality and at the same time endeavours to create it. Art questions reality and also affirms, celebrates and exalts it. Once in a while, it supersedes the given reality by forging a parallel or an alternative one. Going into layers of experience, emotion, surface and structure it emerges as something that resonates with what we already know but need to recall and retrieve, to have it unveil for us something that amazes with its freshness and unanticipated texture. There has been a classical dichotomy; on one hand, art which describes, narrates, reflects reality to attain its being and, on the other hand, art which discovers, excavates its own depths, invents its own reality. It is to this second category that Manish Pushkale's art belongs.

It is an art which is happily, not self-indulgent but sell-addressed; it is an art that discovers layers of the self's being and makes them real on the canvas. Manish's art does not say anything about something: for as we speak, it is saying, singing and creating itself. Meaning is not the end of the discovery, it is organically constituted in the process of making the discovery. The paintings are imprints of discovery, maps and notes of a discoverer who covers and the visual-emotive resonances that the space emanates - the “realities thatarise from the craft itself."

Ideas are conventionally thought to belong to the realm of cognition, of intellection; however in practice, they emerge from many different and sometimes unexpected areas. They need not be necessarily intellectual concepts, they could be, and indeed are visual ideas born out of the explorations and excavations of visual imagination. If each object in the worlds contains or exemplifies an idea in some sense or the other, then each created object of art also has an ideational content of implication. Art is primarily presence; it is presence which draws human attention; it makes us see more, more attentively, more imaginatively, it also provokes us to imagine; even if rarely but surely it makes us create or participate through activated empathies in the act of creating itself.

One way of reading Manish Pushkale's magnificent works is to realize that it leaves us free. Indeed the reading locates us in a pulsating space to discover its layers and complex layering and to resonate it with our personal memories which then taken together bring into being what could be called rich, intense visual ideas. It is unnecessary to articulate them verbally. Suffice it to note, they are 'visually’ there.

Each significant artist has a vision of life, art and reality. It need not be vision which is predetermined; significance demands dynamic change, new transformations and accretions. An artist without a vision could of no interest. But an artist with fixed vision could hardly be expected to produce significant art. Even at the risk of some simplification, one could say that Manish Pushkale has a vision where art is a continuum of discovery, that the act of discovering in art is an interminable act. For instance, take the area of colour. Manish is hardly ever satisfied with given colours. He is in constant search of them. He hardly ever allows the colours of the tubes to exist in their original hues. He puts a layer of color and runs it off taking care that it does not disappear altogether. After layers of doing so, eventually we arrive at an unidentifiable and usual texture of colour, indefinable by any conventional name. In a way he seems to be seeking colour beyond colours; colours which are created by connections with other colours, by intermingling, submerging, inter-penetrating; by overlaying, as it were hiding behind other colours, as if he is trying to discover his own distinctive colours - not one, but many to embody his pluralistic vision. In his paintings you can clearly see that they basically are constituted out of the remains of the wiped-off layers a colours. The aesthetics of the work is integrated through the remains of the wiped off. Form, shapes, colours, textures are all being discovered, and hopefully the meaning too.

There is perhaps a degree of humility in evidence here: the artist does not so much create as much as he discovers, his creativity resides in discovery. Pushkale's work desists from definition; it does not make a definitive statement. There is skillful and carefully, indeed painstakingly, structured precision, but no definition. The artist wishes, as an essential part of his poetics of discovery, the viewer also to discover on his or her own. He does not restrict meaning. On the other hand, he allows it to flow freely. It is evident that in these works, Pushkale shows great maturity and ambition, as he is trying to create a new language which seems rather self-referential: it does not refer to an already pre-existing outside reality; it creates its own internal reality. It is, however, a reality full of immensity. It makes you enjoy and think, feel elated and reflect. In an age where we are assaulted by a million fleeting images and tempting suggestions on a daily basis, art is one of the surviving realms where our humanness in its anxieties and imperfections, its connections and ruptures comes into full play, resisting trivialization of our brief existence on the planet. Art is the realm where we can reflect without contradictions and affirm the significance of our individuality and community. Manish Pushkale's art is certainly of this realm and is a powerful embodiment of his vision, which contributes so luminously to this realm. It is an art which makes you feel or touch the sacred. It does not have the conventional trappings of the divine or the usual choreography of the spiritual. But it has light and glows which are soothing and peaceably tense. It speaks to the inner eye.

According to the English art critic John Berger, "liberated from its role as a narrative medium, painting, of all the arts, is the closest to philosophy.” Manish Pushkale's art makes you realize the truth of this formulation. It is an endeavour to discover “the tangible […] means of expressing everything."

First published in "Manish Pushkale: The Painter of Light", catalogue by Akar Prakar and Mapin in 2016, in conjunction with Musee de Guethary.

Sign In Close
Only Critical Collective subscribers can access this page.
If you are already a subscriber, then please log in.
 Forgot Password?
Subscribe now

The Photography Timeline is currently under construction.

Our apologies for the inconvenience.