Baiju Parthan (Indian, b. 1956) Immeasurable Distance Between Us 4, 2006 oil on canvas signed and dated top right and verso 72" x 72"
Catalog Note: Baiju Parthan studied painting in Goa, India in the late 1970s, when it was especially fashionable for Westerners to travel there on spiritual journeys. His education, therefore, was saturated in the world view of Western art. This gives Parthan a unique voice, and one with which he has struggled to come to terms. Inspired by Impressionism, Expressionism, and Cubism, Parthan claimed in the 1980s that he "felt like a missionary for Western art."
Subsequently, Parthan took a hiatus from painting, studied comparative mythology in Bombay, and then returned to art a decade later. He has tackled diverse subjects, from hardware engineering to philosophy, and his studied perspective sometimes takes the form of digital works and installations.
In his artist statement, Parthan describes his transmedia approach: "Speaking of the present, I certainly hold the view that virtualization and relocation of our everyday social and economic transactions into virtual data space is the most important marker that identifies this present historic moment. Consequently, the art I produce currently addresses the dematerialization or erosion of tactility of the real, and its effect on our being and existence."
Baiju Parthan received his BFA from Mumbai University and has held solo exhibitions in Mumbai, New Delhi and Goa. He has also participated in major group shows in Calcutta, Mumbai, New York City and elsewhere. Parthan currently lives and works in Mumbai.
Artists in India have for a long time asked the question, what makes Indian art, Indian? In the years immediately after India became independent in 1947, that search often led to defining an artistic tradition in defiance of the Western, academic, Beaux-Arts tradition under which many of the artists had gone to school. More recently, as the Internet has flattened the cultural world, contemporary artists have been more comfortable being part of a larger global narrative, exploring the impact of technology and pop imagery on art. Abstraction, especially in a contemplative and meditative tenor, has always played a key role in this exploration.