members Gallery

PRINTS BY P.MANSARAM 1964-2014

P.MANSARAM

July 3 - July 29, 2015
Opening Reception: Friday, July 10

In the late 1950s, before studying Art in his native India, Mansaram went to a Science college in Ajmer for four years to fulfill his fathers desires ,where he would walk four or five miles to and from school every day.

Then, in 1963, he flew 4,000 miles to go to school in Amsterdam, at the Rijks Akademie on the grounds of which he might have found the apple cores of the greats, like Piet Mondrian and Karl Appel, who once studied there.

What he found in Amsterdam, what he came 4,000 miles to discover, was an etching machine, in addition, meeting with the founder member of Cobra Group; Constant Nieuwenhuys. It was an opportunity to study Intaglio at the Art School. He did not know it when he set out but this was his journey – the machine, or rather, the way of the machine.

In Amsterdam, Mansaram made his first print an etching,he also made  his first collage. These were to prefigure the rest of his artistic career.

The medium, you might say, was the passage, not just the message. In Mansaram’s case, the passage from India; not really  “from” India perhaps, because Mansaram has never left India behind; he brought it with him,

That first etching appears in this show, this show which is a concise, vibrant retrospective of Mansaram’s work.

There are hints in that first print of what was to come, the great compression of geography, and crush of associative reference, the horizontal sweep.

Mansaram’s works are often busy and bustling affairs; they have to be, bearing as they do the weight and variable tones of at least two different worlds and moving them together as they do with the speed of the central nervous system.

The mention of McLuhan above is not a casual one. Mansaram, in the 1960s, having moved off from Europe to North America, met McLuhan in Toronto. They befriended each other and collaborated on at least one show.

More importantly, Mansaram absorbed McLuhan’s thinking, his ideas about he collapse of distance; about the path from the mechanical to the electric, about the temperature of information.

Mansaram’s printmaking over the years has been defined by continual redefinition and readjustment of the settings.

He was an early user of new media and technologies like lasergraphics, giclee in mixed media, colour photocopying and computers.

Mansaram’s art is full of jagged, sudden inter-cuts from one medium to another, one universe of discourse to another, one colour field to another. It is excited, like the air in a storm.

So are we, in its presence. Enjoy these images of Mansaram.

Jeff Mahoney

Hamilton, June-16-15