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Prakash Patel - Celebrating 20 Years of Panel Making


Thu 26 Nov 2015, 11:00am–3:00pm
Fri 27 Nov 2015, 11:00am–3:00pm
Sat 28 Nov 2015, 11:00am–3:00pm
Sun 29 Nov 2015, 11:00am–3:00pm
Mon 30 Nov 2015, 11:00am–3:00pm

Where: Zimmerman Art Gallery, 329 Main Street, Palmerston North

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Admission: Free

When Zimmerman Art Gallery first opened its doors in 2010, we featured a stunning installation by Whanganui-based artist, Prakash Patel.

Patel’s inaugural exhibition at Zimmerman consisted of 135 small painted wood panels – mesmerising in its totality, each individual component comprised a miniature marvel of beauty and skill.

This year, we celebrate 20 years since Patel began his small panel series.

Started by the artist in 1995 as “test pieces” for exploring the effects of paint, the small panels continue to be a source of mystery and delight for viewers and collectors alike.

The commentary below is adapted from a Fran Dibble review of a 135-piece panel installation, as featured by Zimmerman Art Gallery in 2010.

Prakash Patel’s painted panels hinge on the development of the effects of paint - paint splattered, as single expressive strokes, dotted and dropped, and in circular vortex spins.

Patel tends to use fluorescent and shimmering paint colours on black, creating the strong visual of bright iridescent items that are found, almost as though discovered with a torch or picked up by the light of the giant torch of the sun and its reflection on the moon.

So the narrative we weave is that these are discoveries from the void; big and small, above and below.

They could be pieces of sky with stars and comets, telescope sightings of supernovas or craters on distant planets, fireflies or exploding firecrackers in the dark.

They could be underwater sightings of strange luminescent creatures like swarms of plankton moving in warm currents towards food sources, or microscope scans of a Petri dish, studying a colony of bacteria.

The panel works take us on a journey, following the flick of a brush, or curious dots that seem like a marked trail, or charting the winds that have scattered a bloom of colourful dust.

We are exploring into far reached depths.

And yet there are cultural remnants that are part of the mix. The bright of the gold, the dots and the patterning give a flavour of the exotic.

Patel’s Indian heritage (he was born and raised in New Zealand by parents who emigrated from India) has, subconsciously perhaps, broken through, with a memory of hennaed hands and the rustle of saris.

But, mostly, Patel’s panels are concerned with the simple beauty of the effects of paint and pattern. These small pieces instil a sense of wonder in the viewer, evoking the magnificent beauty the universe contains.

About the Artist

Born in 1968 in Whanganui, Prakash Patel graduated in 1993 with a Diploma in Visual Arts and Design.

While Patel continues to live and work in Whanganui, in the past decade he has made two journeys of artistic discovery to India, the country from which his parents emigrated in the 1950s.

The first trip was in 2006 when, supported by Creative New Zealand and the Asia New Zealand Foundation, Patel was awarded an artist’s residency at the Sanskriti Kendra Campus on the outskirts of New Delhi.

More recently, and again supported by Creative New Zealand, Patel visited the State of Gujarat, near his family’s ancestral origins, to study the paintings and artistic processes of the indigenous Warli people.

“I find fundamental aspects of Indian philosophy resonate strongly within my work, particularly in the way it adheres to a holistic view and that everything is connected from the microscopic world to the cosmos.

For me each painting is an adventure of exploration, experimentation and discovery.”

The exhibition of Prakash Patel’s new panel works continues until 30 November 2015

All panel works are acrylic on board, 135 x 135 mm

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