Prabhakar M Kolte (b.1946)

The early work of Prabhakar Kolte shows the strong influence of Paul Klee, theSwiss artist and teacher whose childlike figures belie the sophistication of his richlytextured surfaces. A graduate from the J.J. School of Art in the late 1960s, Kolte’sdebt to Klee can be seen in his technique of weathering his stronger colors. Hisearly canvases are characterized by a single, dominant color in the background, onwhich lighter and more complex forms, both geometric and organic, are placed.Kolte freely acknowledges his early debt to Klee, “People used to call me theIndian Paul Klee. I was busy searching for myself.” In the early 80s, his work took a new direction as Kolte began experimenting with installation and performativeart pieces. In one piece, he covered a car with newspaper; in another, he painteda volunteer black and titled him “A Man Without Shadow”. Such off-the-canvasexperiments allowed him a free space to play with abstract ideas of color andform.On returning to the canvas, he sought to “immediately cover up any identifiableimage, making sure that my forms would function as pure color in space.” Hismost recent works show a glossier, more finished approach to his early themes inpaintings. Kolte spent twenty-two years teaching at his alma mater, the J .J. Schoolof Art. He retired in 1994, and now devotes his time to painting.

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