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b. 1940, India

Gieve Patel Biography

A self-taught artist dedicated to multiple professions, Gieve Patel has imaged a sensitive and acute awareness of the human condition throughout a 40-year painting practice. Sourcing inspiration from the quietude of nature and the pulse of the city, his work articulates a mature, restrained balance between figuration rooted in realistic naturalism and the freedom of painterly abstraction. Along with three books of verse and three plays, Patel has written extensively about contemporary Indian art and, until his recent retirement, was also a practicing physician.

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Patel published his first book of poems and held his earliest solo exhibition in Bombay in 1966, which was followed by exhibitions at Kunika Chemould, Delhi in 1972 and Gallery Chemould, Bombay, in 1975. In the 1970s and 80s, he refined an ability to describe the universal experience of isolation in eloquent representations of the urban industrial landscape and common people, sites, and even animals in Bombay. During this period, Patel's artistic practice dovetailed with initiatives of artists based in Baroda and Bombay who responded to contemporary politics and everyday situations with an emphasis on narrative figuration.

While continuing to build on these themes, Patel began a distinct trope of representing violent deaths in the 1980s. In works like Crushed Head (1984) and Battered Man in Landscape (1993), the artist rendered victimized heads and torsos detached from specific aggressors and locational contexts. Like the resilient figures living in his urban-scapes, Patel wounded his victims with empathetic sensitivity and characteristic attention to the contoured shadows and colors at heart of the human form.

In the 1990s, Patel embarked on a long-term series of visual translations drawn from the wells of his ancestral Gujarat. Exhibiting the first of these works in the exhibition Looking into a Well at Gallery Chemould in 1996, Patel's paintings of this subject privilege an expressive, self-conscious recording of the experience of perception. Eliminating the encounter of one's own face that would reflect back from the surface of the water, and transforming the horizontal well into a vertically-hung canvas, the conceptual address of these works ties closely to the artist's persistent attention to the position of the human figure. 


Beth Citron

Gieve Patel Featured Artworks

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Mary, my patient by Gieve Patel contemporary artwork painting
Gieve PatelMary, my patient, 2020Acrylic on canvas
60.9 x 45.7 cm
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Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke
Congratulations by Gieve Patel contemporary artwork painting
Gieve PatelCongratulations, 1969Oil on canvas
60 x 41 inches
Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke Contact Gallery
Statesman on a Floral Rostrum by Gieve Patel contemporary artwork painting
Gieve PatelStatesman on a Floral Rostrum, 1972Oil on canvas
49 x 71 cm
Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke Contact Gallery
Riot by Gieve Patel contemporary artwork painting
Gieve PatelRiot, 1991Oil on canvas
36 x 48 cm
Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke Contact Gallery
Peacock at Nariman Point by Gieve Patel contemporary artwork painting
Gieve PatelPeacock at Nariman Point, 1999Oil on canvas
48 x 60 cm
Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke Contact Gallery
Mourning woman by Gieve Patel contemporary artwork painting
Gieve PatelMourning woman Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke Contact Gallery
Mourning Woman (9) by Gieve Patel contemporary artwork works on paper
Gieve PatelMourning Woman (9), 1971Graphite on paper
8.5 x 7 cm
Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke Contact Gallery
Mourning Woman (7) by Gieve Patel contemporary artwork works on paper
Gieve PatelMourning Woman (7), 1971Graphite on paper
8.5 x 7 cm
Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke Contact Gallery

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