“I want to create a language only with color and line, which will speak in their own voice.”
Sheila Makhijani over the course of her career has steadfastly pursued her continuing interest in the vitality and spontaneity of the abstract form. On seeing Makhijani’s canvases, the first impact is of movement, forceful and definite. Rising vertically, diagonally, spreading, or converging they seem to expand beyond their frames. Planes of color jostle amongst themselves, merging and overlapping as if being directed by hidden energy fields under the canvas. Constructed with layers of paint, Makhijani creates depths with light filled planes alongside dense dark surfaces. Their presence is bold and full on, and unlike in her sparsely executed drawings until now.
On paper, Makhijani proceeds with playful precision abled brush strokes gently borrowing space for her lines to exist. Markings appear on floating planes as if the result of an overflowing river system revealing the possible depths within the structure. Imaginary and exacting these self-contained, self-governing worlds appear to unfold according to some unknown logic. The compositions appear as unified forms, singular if confoundingly complex: the course of a thought as if it was presented all at once. Her recent works with pastel on paper have departed from being created with floating and fine lines to those of dynamic overlapping planes of color, edge to edge.
“Formal elements, instead of being building blocks of representation, become magical toys to play with and through play they become all powerful in themselves. They are out to be seen in their physicality without metaphysical layering.”
Roobina Karode in “The Secret Life of Sheila Makhijani”
Sheila Makhijani, born in 1962 in New Delhi, where she lives and works, stands distinctly apart in the art landscape in India to her commitment to an oeuvre in its singular pursuit of abstraction. She was awarded her Bachelor and Master of Fine Art degrees from College of Art, New Delhi and later in 1994 she studied in Kanazawa, Japan. For over three decades Makhijani has steadfastly remained engaged in exploring the limitless possibilities of painting.
Makhijani’s works have been exhibited and in collections worldwide including at the Seventh Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT) at the Queensland Art Gallery, Australia; The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Perth Institute of Contemporary Art, Australia; Arnhem Museum, Netherlands; Kunsthal Rotterdam, Netherlands; Gemeentemuseum, Den Haag, Netherlands; San Jose Museum of Art, CA; National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), India and The Kiran Nadar Museum of Art (KNMA), New Delhi, India.