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Indian Contemporary Artist
Bombay, Maharashtra, India and working in
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Galerie Mirchandani Steinruecke, Mumbai
First Exhibit 1966 Mumbai
Years in practice 55
Solo show 1966 Mumbai
Graduated 1964 Mumbai
Gieve Patel is a multi-talented, practising physician; an artist, a poet and a playwright whose works engages with quotidian aspirations as well as a sharp, politically engaged awareness of reality. Primarily a painter, he is known for his series on Wells, Skulls and Clouds.
Graduated as Doctor of Medicine from Grant Medical College, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India - 1800
Artist of the Month
Gieve Patel is a poet, physician, playwright and painter all rolled into one, and he’s managed to skillfully juggle all these varied interests throughout his life. He believes each one is separate and independent of the other while never trying to be multi-disciplinary and sees each discipline as wholly integrated with itself. However, the liking he developed for art and sculpture was because the love for these was instilled into him at an early age.
The emphasis on keen observation and anatomy can be attributed to his training as a physician. Like his art, Patel’s poems often foreground the body and its stark functions, which becomes a living metaphor. The speaker’s background as a doctor found its way into his work in the form of a series of paintings on violent deaths; there is always some redeeming value to be found in the depiction. In his wells paintings devoid of the self/subject, Patel creates the metaphor for self-observation using artistic devices of light, structure, and reflections of sky and foliage in the wells.
He often creates picture puzzles in his well series, with a large central circle, that can be taken to be the opening of the well with the viewer either looking down at the reflected surface or looking up at the world through its water. An avant-garde artist based in Bombay, Patel is primarily a figurative painter whose central character is the subaltern figure -the victim of power structures, the individual who is located at the lowest strata of society’s rigid hierarchies. It is interesting how his works are often populated with deformation and mutilation corpses, carcasses, chopped hands, and violent imagery.
Patel uses texture and pattern to define objects; the artist successfully manages to make a transition moving from single basic colours to adventurous vivid hues.