Friday, November 11, 2005

Eighth Elephant

A few weeks ago I had the rare privilege of being invited to the opening of Eighth Elephant, a spanking new art gallery in DUMBO.  The exhibition included as its centerpiece(s) of sorts several paintings by Paresh Hazra.  Now, I'd heard about Hazra before, heck I'd even seen photographs of some of his paintings online.  But reproductions do not do this man's talent justice.  In a word: he's phenomenal.  "Folk motifs" with a "contemporary twist" has by now become somewhat of a cliche-- which is a pity, because Hazra's work incarnates that phrase with an affectingly devout touch, without sacrificing the power to unsettle by means of a vividness that is at once intense and familiar.  I realize that I had Hazra's magical Ganesha paintings (check out one on Eighth Elephant's homepage) in mind when I wrote the foregoing, but there is much more: with his "Mermaids" series, or two paintings that might (or might not) be of Radha and Krishna, one discerns an irony, yet perhaps an affectionate one.  The "Mermaids" paintings are especially arresting: in the dull colors that saturate these remarkable pieces, one sees a talent that recognizes the beauty of riverbank mud, and a hand that realizes nature's work may be bettered.  Check out one example here

If that isn't a plug, I don't know what is.  Translation: if you're in New York city, check the gallery out.  And if you're not, feel sorry for yourself...

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