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Soliloquies: Notes from the drawing book (By Urshila Mehta 2011)

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Padwal’s newest body of work continues his inquest into his personal and the collective psyche.  ‘Soliloquies: notes from the drawing book’ consists of two installations and four series of small format drawings made on pages of his diary. 

 

For Padwal, the medium of drawing allows for thoughts to be overlapped and complexed. His soliloquies are memories and observations of a city, yet fictional and universal simultaneously. The worlds depicted are surreal, all-encompassing traps for the urban individual. Black and white as monochromes have tremendous strength according to the artist. They speak clearly, whereas colour distracts. These two primaries combined with a graphic language make for minimal but impactful works. Padwal has used a Rotring pen, an architectural draughtsman’s tool, to create each finely imbricated drawing. His lines follow an interiorized, almost intuitive logic to create these surreal urbanscapes. His pen meanders tightly, almost searchingly, lost in the maze of its own creation.

 

Many of the drawings hint at an underlying angst. Some lament a degradation of human values in the rat race for capitalistic power. Others express an urgent fear for the organic body turning mechanic: without feeling, intelligence or sensitivity. Many of the drawings depict a kind of reverse decay. Technology and urban development are symbolic of an alarming anti-climax that is fast encroaching onto Padwal’s worlds. The construction grid, and architectural forms indicate ruination, not evolution and tension, not celebration. Urbanization has reached saturation point in Padwal’s worlds and although his lines embroider delicate visual systems that are aesthetically fine, they also belie the artist’s keen frustrations with urban sprawl as much as he tries to map its complexities in a minimal graphic language.

 

Padwal’s new works are his most intimate and simultaneously his most geopolitical yet. 

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