Extracts of comments from Art Critics
his latest watercolours the painter reverts to the prime source of the
muses - the Moon. By now stamped by human feet, the spectral orb is still
the White Goddess, awakener of the imagination, for Kaul. And most assuredly
moments of intensified perception are present in his finest works such
as number 21. These perceptions are not other than those flashes when the
objects at which we have been gazing stop being a flux of impressions and
become intensely clear and important for us. We may not experience such
illuminations very often, but they are common in our childhood. It is this
order of experience the artist conveys. These illuminations could be called
moments of vision of an unforgettable vividness and heightened perception.
In Kaul's work the Moon casts its magic over the snow and the waters of
a fabulous vale, and this memory is like a treasure in the vault of his
mind. In this abstract best, it is an illumination of solitude at the heart
of reality. The more genuine romanticism produces such an atmosphere even
though this is arrived at by coming contact with the most commonplace of
objects: a puddle or a shiny wrapper. Excessive self-consciousness is the
foe of such vision.
of mountains, streams and willows are transmuted flashes recalled in tranquility.
Accidental they well may be but for every such artist they are like sparks
thrown up from the centre of the creative imagination. The mood is maintained
throughout and at its truest, achieves vitality and unity, harmony and
proportion that the human mind pines for. The work is far from being naively
realistic: it is tinged with the strangeness of sylvan light.
The Times of India (Dec. 14, 1992)
"Mystique of the Moon" - a series of mountainscapes in watercolour - are
now on view at New Delhi's All India Fine Arts and Crafts Society on Rafi Marg. His earlier large mountainscapes in oil have established him as a
painter of landscapes. A senior painter in his 60s, Mr. Kaul has been exploring
the medium of transparent watercolour for the past three years.
All the paintings
have an undercurrent of nostalgic sadness peculiar to sensitive Kashmiri
artists who were born and brought up in "The Valley of the gods". In this
series, the artist dreams of the snow-capped peaks, the woodlands on the
brow of a mountain overlooking a brook or a lake - all suffused with soft
moonlight, all wrapped in silence.
The soft light
is caught by the icy crags or by the ripples on the brook or the deafy
haze of flowering treetops, and the rest is a surprising range of tonal
nuances that spell out the dark areas. Mr. Kaul has fully used the transparent
nature of watercolour for achieving a magic vision of forms in misty mountain
air. The "tenebrism" or "gloomy lighting" which distinguished some of the
major European painters of the ripe renaissance and Baroque periods seems
to have been used by Mr. Kaul in his landscapes.
aspect of the landscapes has intrigued this reviewer. In the landscapes
where the orb of the moon is absent, the mystique of the moons is most
fascinating: such as in Nos. 34, 33 and 5. Mr. Kaul's treatment of the
medium is such that it makes the presence of the moon often redundant,
because the softly lit up woodlands, and ripples in the rivers and lakes,
and the diffused glow in the dark sky make the moon conspicuous even when
it is absent.
The Hindu (Dec. 18, 1992)
remembers the many visages of his motherland in his watercolours. Light
played no important role in the large oils he did some years ago. Here
he tries to seize the transformation of the landscape in moon light. It
has brought a softness to the scenes which in some sense becomes a metaphor
of the nostalgic mood in which they are now being recalled.
Krishna Chaitanya, The Hindustan Times (Dec. 20, 1992)
A pity that
the painter had not put up work in this medium (water colour) in earlier
shows! They are really exquisite as mountain studies. The man has expended
all his long lasting knowledge of the mountains in these works. Many of
them have been done from memory, but here memory is a better guide to creation
than on-the-spot composition. For the painter, to commune with nature is
to, "commune with divinity". Oh definitely!
Times of India (Jan. 29, 1991)
now past sixty-five has shown that he can paint too besides write. For
some years he has been giving us landscapes in oils in large size. This
time he offers watercolours in small format. Physical features deliquesce
into diffuse but resplended colour - single tree loaded with all the gold
of spring in a green meadow, an autumnal tree flaming by the edge of a
blue stream - and colour has the freshness that suggests that your hand
will be wet if you touch the surface of the water spread.
Krishna Chaitanya, The Hindustan Times (Jan. 27, 1991)
who during the past decade put three large exhibitions in oils, all bringing
glints and glances of Kashmir Himalayas, their vast amplitudes filled with
divine peace, their benign postures, even their Shiva like aloofness (alas,
his painting depicting the late Mrs. Gandhi gravitating towards Lord Shiva
has gone out to Australia) has now at the age of over sixty five sprung
a surprise on the viewers and art world (AIFACS) with his water colours
dedicated to the same theme. The work is in small format. The scale of
physical dimensions has got reduced without curtailing the qualitative
dimensions of the inner soul; thereby demanding from colour more changed
responses under the pressure of highly sophisticated skills in controlling
its water diluted energies generating evocative tonalities amids thought
provoking blends. What is indeed heart warming is that the creative act
has acquired a new elan. The freshness and spontaneity which he brings
to his scenes metamorphize a child's playfulness with his mother. Thoughtout
Kashmir remained in Manohar's soul a sacred land.
There are works
where the preception of water is not only fresh but you feel like touching
their liquidity or shudder to place your finger on a galactic region depicted
in the scene (No. 3). THe ampltitudes are live, atmospheric subtle effects
have been gathered in myriads of tonalities the verdurous declivities trace
a curve that plunges into the heart, the structuration of rocks has an
ambiance that gathers its harmonies from the surrounding atmosphere and
breathes it out into it. Overwhenming tribute.
The Statesman (Feb. 1, 1991)
A lover of
nature and a fine colourist, Mr. Kaul has saved some beautiful movements
for us the fleeting moods of nature, which he spells out in terms of light.
Colour becomes a secondary element. Luminous and emotionally evocative
his paintings are a continuous process of reduction from a raw primary
cessation of colour-light into his individual perception. His effortless
handling of the medium reminds us the old world skill in watercolours.
Indian Express (Jan. 1991)
a noted painter from Kashmir, who has nearly four decades of artistic creativity
to his credit is displaying forty of his recent water colours (AIFACS)
- nostalgic scenes of divine nature of his homeland in its variety of landscapely
physiognomy, nuances of colour and the spectacular changeable light. A
record of his deep impressions of the Himalayan milieu; a soul uplifting
He has reverted
to water colours after a long gap of time. Water colours are not an easy
medium to handle but Kaul has explored the medium afresh to create striking
innovations in its technique for capturing sublime vision of noble nature
and the surprising variety of subtle textures and the sternness of geometric
structures of rocks and cliffs.
Kaul has created
a personal form to interpret the landscape - afresh and spontaneous rendering
in the challenging medium of water colours. He has blended the improbable
dream - like forms of the surrealistic landscape which lends his works
romantic feeling. He reveals a remarkable power to create the atmosphere
of the landscape in the soft richness of colour distributed across the
surface of paper; a total experience of landscape as compared to a purely
Patriot (Jan. 1991)