Contemplative Colour: A Photographer's Tribute to Abstract Painting
Contemplative Colour is a paean to the pure potentiality that exists all around us, but which remains largely unbeknown to the lazy, casual or unseeing eye. Ashvin Mehta's record of Satori-shots is not mysterious in an overt spiritual or supernatural sort of way. If anything, his objects of focus are all easily accessible, from the here and now : yet his vision discerns the whole world in a grain of sand just as it reveals an entire augury in a silver of wood.
These brilliant evocations invite the viewer to range freely inside his or her cache of images and associations, which ultimately enables the connoisseurs to come up with their own blend of formulations.
As in his earlier collations, here too, human beings have become all the more conspicuous by their resonant non-attendance. But in the process of creating these abstract haikus of minimalist form and texture, Mehta seems to intuit to the great insight articulated by the English poet John Donne in his Meditations, "No man is an island, entire of itself." Every frame in this numinous book cries out to be peopled by the creatures and chimeras of the viewers' imagination. And the creative dialogue with the viewer inevitably leads Mehta to the phenomenological interconnectedness of the world and the `holy trinity' - the photographer, his image, and the viewer - joyously proclaims the fundamental unity of things.
Note: All the photographs in this book are primal camera images, and have not been manipulated in any way through the use of darkroom or computer techniques, or by double-exposure during photography.
This book was published by Archer in 2007 and contains 88 pages with 53 colour photographs and captions.
Ashwin Mehta (1931-2014) was one of India's most distinguished photographers. In a career that spanned several decades, he excelled in various genres, including nature photography, destination photography, and the cityscapes. His work has been collected in a series of books, including Himalaya: encounters with Eternity (Thames & Hudson, London, 1985), Coasts of India (Thames & Hudson, London, 1987), Gifts of Solitude (Mapin, Ahmedabad, 1991), Hundred Himalayan flowers (Mapin, Ahmedabad, 1992), and Happenings - Journal of Luminous Moments (Hindustan Inks, Gujarat, 2003). His work has also been shown in the group exhibitions Creative Eye curated by Raghu Rai (New Delhi, 1972); Indian Photograph 1844-1984, curated by Mitter Bedi (Darmsadt, 1984); and Another Way of Seeing, curated by Circle of 24 (The Netherlands, 1992). Mehta has also been engaged in a number of prestigious collective projects, including A Day in the Life of India (Collins, London, 1995), and the Festivals of India in Britain (1982), Russia (1990) and Germany (1991). He had been commissioned as a destination photographer by Singapore Airlines, the Oberoi Hotels, and the India Tourism Development Corporation. He had also photographed the Indian medicinal plants for a monograph by chemical Export Promotion Council (Chemexil), and the spices of India for Taj Hotels. Mehta, who first exhibited his photographs in 1966, has since held exhibitions at Jehangir Art Gallery, the Centre for Photography as an Art Form, and Gallery Chemould, Bombay; the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, and Max Mueller Bhavan, New Delhi, and the Gardner Centre for the Arts, Brighton, Britain.