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Prabhakar Kolte

Indian Contemporary Artist
Born 1946, Maharashtra, India
Lives and works in Mumbai

One of the renowned abstract artists of the country, Prabhakar Kolte's early works show the strong influence of Swiss artist, Paul Klee, while his recent works have a glossier, finished approach. Through his oeuvre he seeks to be part of nature, not imitate it. Bold colours and abstract geometrical forms characterize his works.



Diploma in Painting, Sir J.J. School of Art, Mumbai

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Kolte's paintings seek to be a part of nature, not to imitate it

His works demonstrate a rare commitment to the modernist idiom in the face of current trends and fashions. His works often take a poetic imagery, representing nature in its utmost form and believing that everything begins and ends in nature. It all begins with one dot/seed, takes on myriad forms and finally perishes into the insignificance that it began from. This journey is what he strives to portray through his art. He states “Nature is not what you see, but what you don’t see; what you see is only the aftermath, for nature has already moved on”

He believes that each of his works is an individual interpretation of the varied manifestations of nature in its own impeccable way. For this reason he does not title any of his works as he wishes not to slot the subject into narrow or limited definitions.

Prabhakar Kolte, Mountain, 2002, watercolour on mount board, 29 x 44”

His works are characterized by bangs of bold colours and abstract forms

Kolte's earlier works display a hint of Paul Klee's technique of weathering the stronger colours with touches of white to age the effect of an otherwise bold hue. His earlier works were characterized by a single, dominant colour in the background, overlaid with lighter and more complex geometric and organic forms.  But the recent works have a glossier, finished approach to his early themes with more abstracted fields of colour.

Prabhakar Kolte, Untitled, 2005, acrylic on mount board, 32 x 44"

Kolte's works show strong influence of Paul Klee

Prabhakar Kolte’s earlier abstract works show the strong influence of the Swiss artist, Paul Klee, whose childlike figures contradict the sophistication of his richly textured surfaces. The abstract layers of paint echo cityscapes where the signs and textures proclaim his modernist consciousness.

Kolte’s approach to painting is neither representative nor interpretative, neither expressive nor illustrative. It communicates through bands of colour juxtaposed against each other, and bold form, attempting to be part of nature. His works reflect an aesthetic vision wherein the subject is not important as the experience of abstract delight and elated epiphany that his paintings seek to evoke.

Prabhakar Kolte, Untitled, 1997, watercolour on paper pasted on board, 29.5 x 39.5”

Kolte has experimented with various mediums

In the early 80s, Kolte began experimenting with installation and performance 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”.

Having used all mediums through the years, watercolours and acrylics, he states, are an extension of his inner being. The fluidity of these mediums help him best express his feeling.

Prabhakar Kolte, Untitled, 2005, acrylic on mount board, 32 x 44"