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[During this phase, I had two eyes. I lost one of the eyes in an accident before beginning of 2nd phase of my art career. So there is a difference in my way of painting before and after. This phase shows how an artist with both good eyes would see depth/volume & translate them in works of visual art. All the phases after this one show how a one-eyed artist would struggle to invent a feeling of depth via juxtaposition of conflicting/contrasting elements. For full explaining statement, read it at the beginning of the post about phase 3.]
The image of a bat, a small living thing with enormous wrappings led me into other metamorphic forms. These combined them in a way that showed a struggle between the inert and the active. This led me in its turn to pictures of erotic combat, sometimes combining the sensual and the brutal. I have probably tried to dramatize through these a feeling of personal desolation. I have probably tried to make a general comment to an environment which is a thing to us. We struggle to be a part of it but not be a thing ourselves. I am aware of an inherent contradiction like this in life, even the erotic.
My drawings have been so far quite personal, but of late, I have wanted to pull myself out of it into a distance and be a watcher not a party.
-Vinod Dave on his early works from 1975 – 1981
Vinod Dave’s confiding note on his drawings is illuminating. It is disturbingly frank, as are his drawings. Handling a vast variety of forms – the bat, the nude, the disembodied garment – Dave’s delineation is so clear and aggressive, so sudden and striking in confrontation as visual images, that the drawings command immediate attention and respect. The anatomical details are rendered with fine observation and a revealing skill.
Some his works refer to the erotic but manage to avoid portraying the sensual or the sensuous. Dave does this by incorporating graphic elements or themes which make the drawings portray frustrations or mania. Compositions based on the forms of the bat imply and suggest the elastic , nervous power symbolized by this creature.
There is a genuineness about these images, a powerful but controlled statement and an unorthodoxy which mark Vinod Dave as a young artist of considerable talent.
One is immediately struck by Vinod Dave’s skill as draughtsman and painter. He reveals a sure and masterly grasp of pencil and paint. There is a fluidity and ease in the execution of his works, the dexterity and supple grace of the accomplished artist. Art comes naturally to him, it is his element.
But technique apart, Dave has developed a personal imagery which is compelling, with forms as persistent as figures in a dream. They are an assault on the senses, a nightmarish vision of the vampires, dismembered bodies, scattered remains, emptied skins juxtaposed with the cold crystalline hardware of modern life. They are painted with a meticulous almost obsessive realism, reassembled in a relationship which cast the hypnotic spell of the chimera. These disturbing convulsive transfigurations create a Kafkaesque fantasy, suffused in an atmosphere of sinister menace, the corporal elements seemingly victims in an infernal drama.
The drawings have the clinical assurance of the surgeon’s knife. While the pencil exults in the human form, tracing the rounded contours of the body with the lascivious scars, it explores with an unabashed sensuality and limitless curiosity the remotest regions. Side by side with the disjointed images of startling beauty we have the polished gloss of putrefaction, of the bulbous shapes, of tissues tainted with the settling hues of decay.
Whatever the morals of these works, they are evidence of a creative imagination of uncommon power.
We experience hard realities, the stresses in society and the nature of sleep, the sensuous repose of the body, its physical abandon, and the psychic state of the dream when experience is metamorphosed and memory is recast and experienced subliminally as a symbolic narrative while looking at work of Vinod Dave. His work projects both these areas of sensibility, often coalescing the two. The result is real enough to be of this world of phenomenal things and fantastic also in the way that the images are “arrested” images, phased in the rhythm and movement of the dream.
We see this distinctly in the series of drawings depicting a dog on the prowl. By changing the background, which engenders the mood, the expression changes from the sinister to the sad. In a sequence of frames the dog, despite being depicted in the same posture, appears to move on as the eye admits its representative-ness and the mind takes into account its progression.
This lone dog for all its forward thrust is a metamorphosed image. One leg seems rooted, planted, as though animal life were drawing substance from vegetative earth. The cycle is complete, with the dog asleep, under a bed, besides a blanketed figure – both creatures of this world, and out of it as well, at the same time.
Vinod Dave’s other recurring theme is the female nude. Depicted in varying degrees of delineation – sensuously graphic and exquisitely modeled as in the drawings – or transposed and transformed as in the paintings where figure and prop are surreal presences – the nude is the personification of the sleep world, sleep as a sexual encounter and sleep as the drama in the dream.
One would also wish to see the artist's photography & drawing