Essay by Shri Keshav Malik


Avenues Of Direct Access by Keshav Malik


The self-evident subject-matter of Kota Neelima’s paintings is the spaciousness and grandeur of landscape: splendid trees standing against vast sun-illuminated spaces; the storm-swept desolation of the seas and land; the legions of the higher rising clouds; the untroubled emptiness of a clear sky; the smooth serenity of placid lakes etc. These and all other degrees and shades of experience become the stuff of her art in terms of the echoing life of nature. And within the inevitable outward mutability, the artist perceives and reaffirms continually in the language of design an underlying order, energy and purpose.

So, here once more, is a visionary of that energy of life which cajoles her to paint to the limit of her power. And she in turn suggests the compelling presence of a silent and yet basically expressive world. Light and colour are enchanting things, and if we unblinkingly gaze at them we are surely hypnotized. Some of Ms. Neelima’s work is of this order. At other moments we observe the more permanent structural actualities, namely, the trunks of tall trees and so on. And from these particular works we take in much longingly picked up expressive detail. Breadth and atmospheric unity of these works would have been lost had the painter tried to crowd in more structural details that her consecutive vision happened to have shown her. So a choice had to be made according to the artist’s temperament and outlook; which means that something has been jettisoned in order to give added vigour of emphasis to something else. This is right.

NP. Why do a work of nostalgic note in these times when nature is almost ignored by painters in favour of other pastures? Perhaps because the inhabitants of out metros need to be shocked out of their apathy, and squalor and shoddiness of the rather artificial, ant-hill like life they live.

May be the contrast with nature could move us to some joy, as also action! Is not, to feel intensely about anything, also to want to do something about it? It is the business of an art in health, including this one, to deliver us to the domain of feeling and delight or all that the mind holds as essential and transcendent. So that these present works, in their own way suggest, and affirm that the senses are avenues of direct access to the informing spirit of life. Both the implicit innocence and majesty in the artist’s work remind us that there are ways by which our current, assailing circumstances and inner conflicts may be reconciled and made creative.

I understand that Ms. Neelima is still at the start of her painterly journey and yet in her chosen compositions she shows some evidence as to why she has taken to a solitary calling! I wish her safe arrivals: those authentic, the more long-lasting, honestly creative moments.

Keshav Malik 5/90P Connaught Circus New Delhi- 110001