Accord: Another dimension to infinity
- Padma Jayaraj, Thrissur

October 10, 2012

I stand struck by the large canvas, the central piece in the exhibition hall, Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai, where a landscape rises to meet me. The undulating hilly terrain of the Western Ghats where Neelakkurunji blooms only once in 12 years, carpeting the entire stretch in its bluish violet hues, flashes across my mind. The misty veil gives a bluish tinge to the vastness that stretches into infinity.

Here the artist’s perspective gives an aerial view of landscapes. In this era of technology, aerial views on the silver screen are a familiar sight. Yet, what a difference! Here is a visual experience that you get from the window of an airplane as the aircraft lands, as the earth rises to meet you. This visual experience makes the art of Vaishali Dalvi special.

In varying colours, many of her paintings are compositions where the landscapes are close to abstractions. At a casual glance you feel they are blown up pictures of aerial photographs. But a closer look reveals the subtle texture: oil on canvas, brush strokes that look like knife painting. Shades of sunset glow envelopes a land mass. Cityscapes loom large on other canvases. The shades of colours for substances and their shadows, balance in such a way that each tiny spec seems to be the integral part of a whole. And harmony throbs as in a melody.

From compositions, I move on to landscapes. The river, its embankments bursting with settlements evoke the Ganga flowing down the centuries, connecting its settlements with hanging bridges with mythical names, in the Indo-Gangetic plains. The blue waters of the river have made them prosper: the green of an agrarian economy casts its colour even to the modern times of high rise buildings. The painting of a lake, cloaked in darkness, where boats are moored after the day’s work is another picture that attracts attention.  A stillness haunts Vaishali’s landscapes, with neither life nor movements, save that of the rippling waters. “The Dal Lake in Kashmir has inspired the painting. I used to do a lot of landscapes,” she recalled her student days.

Yes, but the aerial perspective of her compositions strikes as something innovative as the land zooms in to meet the viewer. Maybe for her, flight is a preferred mode of travel. “Only twice have I flown... to participate as an academic visitor to the Prince’s Drawing School, London and on a Scholarship to Switzerland, international residency from Future Foundation.” Vaishali Dalvi, based in Mumbai, graduated from J.J. School of Art. Yet, something intriguing gnawed at my perception. The visual experience is the magic wand of the creator.

“I’m a paraglider ....” The pieces of the jigsaw puzzle fall in place. “But of course, none of my works copy what I have seen during my paragliding. All my recent paintings are an endeavour to harmonize each element within me. This harmony gives significance to the smallest that transforms the vacuums to space. The smallest dot or stroke strives for its presence to make my creation look big, vast, and deep. Denial of any may disturb the harmony that binds everything together.”

Seated on the beach, I confront the infinity of the sea and the infinity of the sky. Here standing before these paintings, I confront the infinity of the land. The September show of Accord is the   promise of a budding artist.

Padma Jayaraj is a freelance writer and a regular contributor to