Giving vent to the pent up passion inside of them, drawing is perhaps the most direct way of speaking that an artist can lay recourse to. Arguably drawing, unlike painting and other forms of art, requires less premeditation, it is, in a way, unpretentious, raw and immediate.
In this body of work, artist Sunil Padwal, attempts to unburden some of his angst and frustration towards social tribulations and the apathy felt by many as a result of being relegated to the margins. For this, he turns to drawing that unlike his larger canvases is intimate, yet striking–almost like a stage whisper.
While writers resort to prose and poetry to ponder questions, artists speak through the medium of lines on paper. Padwal’s implements for this body of work are paper, an isographic Rotring pen and basic drawing materials, enhanced with water- colour and ink. Some of the works are titled with a font of the now almost defunct typewriter.
Largely these drawings, like most of Padwal’s earlier work, reflect upon the changing face of the metropolis of Mumbai. The constantly morphing sky-line of maximum city has played muse to many an artist, as it has for Padwal in his previous series, Numb, however the scale of the works are an important factor since their miniature size is in direct contrast with the larger-than-life experience of Bombay/ Mumbai- with its sky scrapers, earth movers, Bollywood hoardings and teaming millions. This direct contrast is perhaps an invitation to examine closely what one has often taken for granted.
Padwal has approached some of his drawings as one would the act of automatic writing, wherein the lines of the artist have meandered from the austere dictates of strictly delineated forms and taken their own entangled path. These lines then to create forms that have, ‘come into being’ as opposed to them being purposefully created with premeditation. They are perhaps, fictional forms where the artist has allowed himself to come close to abstraction. The works speak in black and white, but in a role reversal where the background is black and the lines are rendered in white with an isograph pen with white ink.
In other instances, the works gain multiple-layers and appear more self-consciously worked upon, even while they strive to maintain the feeling of being spontaneous doodles. The drawings are actually quite studied in their casualness as they appear to have been torn out of a note book or sketch pad. However, the drawings have in fact been worked upon, with Pawal’s trademark meticulousness to create textures, burn-marks, sutures, blue paper burnt on the edges to appear like an x-ray and other collage-like effects and processes that enhance the ruggedness of a scientists’ working manual. These make these spontaneous drawings more complex, refined and thought out.
In other instances the graphic quality of these works are so meticulous, that they appear almost like miniature paintings, they also bare the exactitude of and likeness to a study of human anatomy that has been a hallmark of Padwal’s earlier work.
In its entirety the works emulate the intimate format of a diary, yet they have a certain audience in mind; they possess theatricality and poise, which is why the title of the solo, Soliloquies, is extremely apt. The artists’ internal monologue is externalised and the intent is to share and articulate these quiet thoughts, without grandstanding, or resorting to heavy-handed preaching tone. The works are neither loud nor do they state the obvious. This body of work draws its effectiveness from the fact that it calls you in closer.