Prabhakar Kolte (B. 1946)
The early work of Prabhakar Kolte shows the strong influence of Paul Klee, the Swiss artist and teacher whose childlike figures belie the sophistication of his richly textured surfaces. Kolte`s debt to Klee can be seen in his technique of weathering his stronger colors, adding touches of white to age the effect of an otherwise bold hue. His early canvases are characterized by a single, dominant color in the background, on which lighter and more complex forms, both geometric and organic, are placed.
"In those days people used to call me the Indian Paul Klee. It didn`t really bother me because I was busy searching for myself."
In the early 80s, his work took a new direction as Kolte began experimenting with installation and performative art pieces. In one piece, he covered a car with newspaper; in another, he painted a volunteer black and entitled him "A Man Without Shadow". Such off-the-canvas experiments allowed him a free space to play with abstract ideas of color and form outside the shadow of Klee`s influence.
On returning to the canvas, he sought to "immediately cover up any identifiable image, making sure that my forms would function as pure colour in space." His most recent works show a glossier, more finished approach to his early themes in paintings. The strong ground colour remains, but this time both the forms overlaid onto it retain a crispness in line and colour: the "weathering" inherited from Klee has dropped out in favor of more finished - and thus more abstracted - fields of colour.