|Untitled. Pen and Indian Ink on Canvas (60” x 24”) 2014|
Patel's elongated pen and ink figures have a deep sense of melancholy. The untitled series for example consists of miniature block canvas with two or more figures contained and constrained within a simple linear grid. The deep block frame in which the canvas hang only seems to accentuate the deep sense of foreboding these figures permeate, stuck in an eternal void, suspended in timeless stagnation.
|Untitled. Pen and Indian Ink on Canvas (10”x 6”) 2002|
That the artist chooses to construct the work using a monochrome palette serves to simplify the response from the viewer. With no palette to distract the eye, the viewer immediately begins to contemplate each figure's presence. The 2D realm in which these eerie figures exist seems silent without sound or depth. The fact that the viewer's interpretation of any narrative is subjective, only serves to enhance the forlorn charm each piece displays.
To view Patel's work is to momentarily escape the at times frenetic and absurdly modern pace of life we now so often inhabit. The viewer has time to draw breath, and quietly absorb the simplicity and elegance of each work before opening the door, powering up the smartphone and stepping out once again into modern wired life.
About the reviewer
Suzanne Wells is an Art History graduate from the Courtauld Institute of Art.
She has her own caricature pet portrait business producing quirky one off pieces with a strong emphasis on character.