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Paramjit Singh

Indian Contemporary Artist
Born 1935, Amritsar, Punjab, India
Lives and works in New Delhi

Paramjit Singh is one of the most eminent contemporary artists in the country who is known for his landscapes that he creates from his own imagination. Though he has worked with several mediums, he prefers oil to depict several forms of nature on canvas. Thick pigment, brisk strokes, and vibrant colours bring out the feeling of sensuousness and tactility for the viewer.

He is the founder of the group The Unknown that was formed/initiated to encourage emerging Indian artists in the field of art.

Education

1973

Print - Making, Atelier Nord, Norway

1958

Diploma in Fine Arts, Delhi Polytechnic, New Delhi

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LIFE AND WORK

UNDERSTANDING Paramjit Singh

Singh applies thick pigment and vibrant colours to produce impressions of natural forms

The artist uses vibrant colours, as well as different textures to create landscapes that seem to have a mysterious, lyrical musicality. He creates his landscapes using thick pigments and applying colours with fast brush strokes.

The thick greens, blues, yellows, reds and other colours with which he populates the whole canvas, to re-create textured landscapes of woods, trees, flowers, and other forms of nature, bring a tactile feel with no particular identity or location to his compositions.

Paramjit Singh, Untitled, 1999, oil on canvas, 27.5 x 32”

He works in several mediums to create his landscapes, but most prominently oil.

He essentially uses oils to paint his landscapes. His body of works also includes etchings and drawings in charcoal, pastels, and crayons on paper that are applied in short brisk strokes and lines to create a colourful tactile appearance. The series of black and white landscape that he created with charcoal are cherished by many. The primary discourse that informs Paramjeet Singh's work is that of colour. Form follows colour and the myriad tones of colour.

Though silk screen can be used to create textures also, Paramjeet is fascinated by the purity of colours revealed by flat surfaces. Within this he can produce thousands of shades and gradations of colour. These effects are produced through the use of multiple screens with half tone prints, an effect very different from the textured result produced by a mechanical dot screen. The former approach closely approximates the perfection of brush strokes. These tonalities provide his work both depth along with a certain surreal aura.

From around the late 80s, Paramjit's landscapes and his techniques changed radically. The Italian picture metafisica with their sharp shadows and melting tones receded into oblivion, and there emerged lush Indian landscapes with a mystical vision of a transcendental presence.

Paramjit Singh, 8 Trees, 2007, etching on paper, 22 x 30”

Paramjit Singh's oeuvre seems reminiscent of the pastoral peasantry that he grew up in

Born in 1935 in Amritsar, Paramjit Singh had his art education in the School of Arts, Delhi Polytechnic (1953-58). He was the founder member of 'The Unknown', a group of young painters and sculptors based in Delhi.

Paramjit Singh is known to create drawings of nature from his imagination. His landscapes that often comprise of images of trees, woodlands, grassy lands, and water bodies are a reflection of his sensitivity and closeness to nature. Though inspired by the Impressionists, his oeuvre that seems reminiscent of the pastoral peasantry that he grew up in is his own.

His large paintings typify the freedom of fearlessly walking into the mysterious woodland or scenery ablaze with wild flowers, adding surreal touches to fleeting, idyllic moments. All these were transformed over about two decades into a personal statement in Paramjit's paintings.

Paramjit Singh, Untitled, 2000, oil on canvas, 27 x 39”

Paramjit Singh continues to employ his unique visual language in textural depictions of luminous landscapes

Rich, dense and vibrant oil on canvas works provide close, intimate views of enveloping wilderness - clustering trees, sprawling grass and foliage, and flowing bodies of water. Devoid of specificity of time and place, his works evoke an impression of nature, materializing as memory. The forms of nature are suggested - hinted through dynamic brushstrokes and brilliant flecks of color - emerging as familiar yet otherworldly environs.

“I don’t paint figures, but you can of course feel their presence through absence,” says Paramjit Singh. There are no human forms in his landscapes; it’s only the viewer who stands in front of his paintings who often gasps at the sensuous and tactile nature painted by him.

Paramjit Singh, Untitled (diptych), 2006, oil on canvas, 54 x 72”