Games of Life- Maya Burman

Games of Life- Maya Burman

Games of Life- Maya Burman

15th April 2022 - 22nd April 2022

Bikaner HouseView Works

Landscapes of Delight

Maya Burman, Recent Works

Maya Burman’s paintings evolve from a buoyant interplay of architecture and landscape. Gardens trail into interiors and brickwork arches frame forests, even as a parade of children animates the pictorial space with intimations of dance and music. These are landscapes of delight, alive with the afterimages of Renaissance art, in the midst of the contemporary moment. Some of the children in these works are modelled on the cherubs and zephyrs of Renaissance pageants. They play celestial music, while some of their peers engage in sports, pneumatic figures that seem suspended in zero-gravity states of delightfully slow motion. The moment is both now and forever, and these paintings are animated by the spirit of fantasia, in all its lightness and capacity for invoking unpredictable events. Burman’s palette of yellows, greens and pinks evokes a sumptuous fruitfulness and an organic connection with the cycles of the natural world, a connection that has been placed in jeopardy and to a great extent lost by humankind, in its exploitative rapacity.

As viewers, we are invited into the relaxed festivity that forms the key mood of these paintings. Burman retrieves for us a confident spirit of celebration that effortlessly blurs the distinction between private and public space, between the family’s intimacies and the solidarities of the social collective. In formal terms, the artist engages with such traditional formats as the panorama, the scroll and the tondo. Each of these formats permits a specific expansion or contraction of space, and correspondingly, challenges the artist to generate a variable choreography of figures as they accommodate their stylised gestures to the available space.

We sense a luxuriant repose as we observe the artist’s protagonists, as they move through various states of rapture or leisure, participating in sports of varied kinds, in games that summon forth individual refinement as well as crafting group dynamics. Harmony, rather than competitiveness, is the leitmotif of these games. As we become involved in these theatres of activity conjured up before our eyes, we recognise that Maya Burman’s paintings mark a gentle threshold of postponement. She invites us to inhabit the too-swiftly fleeting time of childhood, a time not yet shadowed by the uncertainties of adolescence or the anxieties of adulthood. Above all, these paintings enshrine a radiant condition of primal innocence, to which we look back in a spirit of wistfulness even as time’s unrelenting momentum carries us forward into the overcast future.

Ranjit Hoskote

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