Sunday, October 15, 2006

Art Space Talk: Manish Pathak

I recently interviewed Mr. Manish Pathak. I was delighted upon viewing his gallery. His work conveys a sense of darkness and light. They seem to give the viewer insight into the place within our souls where our problems and accomplishments walk hand-in-hand.

Mr. Pathak's mixed media abstractions have an expressive edge that is most alluring. As a painter, I am most interested in his use of marks upon the surface of his painting. His work has a gestural quality that is very stimulating. In my open, Mr. Pathak's art is a mix of violence and calm. His images cause me to feel comfortable, yet wary. Thus, they remind me of how living in our world is today.

Q. Where can we find your work on

A. "Under Login:mayavi13 or my name:Manish Pathak"

Q. When did you first discover that art would be an important part of your adult life?

A. "5 years ago when I came to Canada,but I already had worked as an interior and garden designer for about 8 years in India and Singapore.So the creative direction was already taken.I would consider 13 years of creativity leading upto this moment."

Q. How has creating art shaped you professionally and personally?

A. "This is what I do.There is not much of a distinction between life and art as such anymore.I am shaped and molded absolutely by the force of art,whet ever aspect of life.It is a difficult situation sometimes to be in,but there is no other option."

Q. How has society influenced your art? Are there any social implications in your art?

A. "Well,because I felt marginalised in Indian society for certain reasons,I tried to find my comfort through art even though it was not at all a conscious process.

When I was really young I would draw on my neighbor's doors and would draw in my notebooks to be reprimanded later by my father.But it did not stop me.So in a way society has influenced me by putting me under the label of "different".

The social or I would rather say universal implication in my art is human condition;emotional ones.My art contains universal human emotions of loneliness,joy,melancholy,ecstasy,hurt,desire among other instincts."

Q. What are your artistic influences? Has anyone inspired you?

A. "No particular artist has been a major influence.Although the few artists whose work I truly admire are:
Rothko,Twombly,Rauschenberg,Pat Steir,architect-Tadao Ando sculptors-Richard Serra & Giacometti,Photographer-Richard Misrach."

Q. Tell me a little about your background. Are your past experiences reflected in the work you do today? If so, how?

A. "My work is influenced largely by my past experiences especially by memories.These experiences are reflected in my dreams combined with the present.Than the dreams influence the art that I create.

Some of my recent pieces are influenced by dreams that I had 3-4 years ago. My childhood was relatively happy.I was raised by my grandmother till I was 5 years old and she influenced me a lot.She was a very strong and independent woman,who raised 7 children of her own.I was happiest when I was with her.

We had this guava orchard and we would put swings in the tree,me and my cousins.I still remember the fragrance of Champa flowers that were yellow of hue.Now that I think of it,yellow is a very prominent color in my art.Yellow is also a sacred color of Hindu ceremonies and Turmeric that I have used in few of my pieces,is of course,very prominently yellow.So the living experience is a crucial factor in my art."

Q. If you could pinpoint the characteristics of people who collect your art, what would they be?

A. "My collectors are sensitive,educated and generally are people who think with their hearts not with their minds.My art also is felt by people who are emotionally distressed or are going through the darker stages of their lives.It provides them with solace.

I was at Toronto Art Expo in 2004 and there was this person of about 50,who stayed at my booth for about an hour listening to me hyperventilating about my work."

Q. Where do you see your art in 10 years? What are your plans?

A. "I do not want to sound fatalistic,but I don't really plan or think about my future as such.I can only do my best now and somehow I believe if I take care of my present the future would take care of itself.So I don't know where I and my art would be in a decade.A decade ago I never would have thought that I would be an artist."

Q. Discuss one of your pieces. What were you thinking when you created it? What is your artistic process?

A. "There is no conscious thought process leading to a final product.But with this one (above image) I think I was influenced by the pre-fab structures that I came across in a magazine. Also I have housemates and I was not happy with their presence and behavioral pattern.

I was searching for home in this valley of greens and yellows with positive energy fields floating overhead.It was my space to have solitude as my companion.

My process is of trial and error.I erase and add constantly till I reach a satisfactory version.I make marks with push pins,knives,and other sharp objects.I stab and mend.I wash paint and other media off.I used to beat my canvas up.

I create by sitting on the floor,like a Hindu priest offering homage into the sacred fire and the fire cleanses while dancing the dance of destruction.So there is lot of destruction and turbulence.The calm descends later,what I consider re-generation.My art is based a lot on instincts and impulses as my life is."

Q. Why did you choose the medium(s) that you use?

A. "I just choose randomly,whatever is available and what ever I feel like.I experiment a lot.Sometimes it works sometimes does not."

Q. Do you have a degree or do you plan to attend school for art?

A. "I am a Bachelor of Commerce from University of Calcutta,India.I am also trained as an interior designer.I have about 18 years of education.But I am a self-educated artist.I only had one art school experience.It was painting residency at School of Visual Arts in New York City."

Q. Where can we see more of your art? Are you involved with other websites? Do you have a personal website?

A. " "

Q. Are you represented by a gallery? If not, do you want to be?

A. "No, I am not represented by a gallery.Yes,I want to be."

Q. How many pieces have you sold in your career?

A. "10 pieces in the past 3 1/2 years.Thats how I had been able to afford my Mac.This year has been the best so far,commercially. I sold 2 pieces for $1700 and bought my iBook."

Q. Why do you create art?

A. "Why do you breathe?"

I hope you have enjoyed learning more about Mr. Manish Pathak and his art. I encourage you all to visit his gallery.

Take care, Stay true,

Brian Sherwin

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