Roobina Karode seeks out Sheila Makhijani at her studio in Delhi and unearths a hoard of energetic works.
Talwar Gallery is delighted to present NowNotNow, an exhibition of paintings on canvas and works on paper by Sheila Makhijani. In 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, not a single spot remains untouched on Makhijani's canvas. Everything here belongs to her and her brush.
In contrast to the canvas works, on paper Makhijani proceeds with precision abled brush strokes gently borrowing space for her lines to exist. In the recent works, amidst the meandering markings, there appear floating planes as if the result of an overflowing river system revealing the possible depths within the structure. Playful, 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 thought as if it was presented all at once. Sheila Makhijani stands distinctly apart in her consistent commitment to an oeuvre that stands resolute in its singular pursuit of abstraction. A quotidian practice that has been rigorously maintained over the last quarter-century, as artists abandon painting for other mediums, Makhijani has steadfastly remained engaged in discovering its limitless possibilities.