An art gallery Ben Brown Fine Arts in London currently presents an exhibition of works by British-born Indian artist Desmond Lazaro, which perhaps can turn into the first step towards an amazing journey to India for someone. Born and raised in Leeds, the artist has lived in India for over 15 years now studying miniature painting - especially Pichhvai painting, under one of the only surviving masters of this ancient tradition, Bannu Ved Pal Sharma of Jaipur. Lazaro has since applied the discipline and skills he acquired working in the Pichhvai tradition to his own body of work -- meticulously-rendered paintings of contemporary subjects and concepts, which have earned him critical acclaim and exhibitions around the world. This conflation of tradition and modernity, collective and individual, ancient craft and innovation, religious and secular and East and West, results in a visually exquisite and uniquely expressive body of work.
This exhibition presents a range of small and large scale works primarily from the last two years, some painted with minute detail on sheets of handmade paper, others created with swathes of dazzling pigment on vast, hand-woven canvases. The subject matter includes the seemingly mundane - a canopied bed, tea cups, post boxes, lozenges - yet all of Lazaro's imagery is infused with cultural or historical significance and reflects his experiences from a multi-cultural existence. Lazaro's technical precision creates texture and three-dimensionality in all of his work, as seen in his depictions of fibrous carpets and coconut palm leaves, while his use of pure mineral pigments and handmade brushes of either squirrel or mongoose hair create a dazzling paint surface reminiscent of Old Master paintings.
While Lazaro's artistic vocabulary and imagery are thoroughly contemporary, his working method is firmly rooted in ancient Indian traditions. Lazaro and his team of craftsmen make all his materials by hand - papers, cloths, pigments and brushes - before he actually begins to paint and draw, this stringent preparation becoming an integral part of the life of his works.
In 2004, Lazaro established a company that produces handmade pigments and paint brushes as well as a foundation to promote the revival and continuance of traditional arts in North India.
Currently, the artist together with wife, the French fashion designer Agathe Gerin Lazaro, and their three children lives in Pondicherry. A dream to come true of the both artists is an Indian concept store / art gallery La Maison Rose - one of the most intriguing and inspiring places of its kind. It is sited in a historic French colonial style villa, now turned into a skillfully managed lifestyle empire where both European and Indian influences are equally strongly pronounced.
12 Brook's Mews
London W1K 4DG
- Jetty, 2009/2010
Pigment on cloth
- Golden House, 2011
Pigment and gold Shellac paint on Sanganer paper
67 x 86 cm; (26 3/8 x 33 7/8 in.)
- Waiting Looking, 2011
Pigment paint on cotton cloth
2 panels; 122 x 184 cm; (48 1/8 x 72 1/2 in.) each
Keywords: Londona, exhibition