The exhibition, titled Heaven Sent, is on at gallery g and is organised in association with Sandeep & Gitanjali Maini Foundation
Dinesh Magar’s brass-etched enamel paintings are famous in the art world. “The wide ranging palette and decorative elements in Dinesh’s work demand deft hands and a sensitive mind,” says art historian Choodamani Nandagopal.
gallery g, in association with Sandeep & Gitanjali Maini Foundation, hosts Heaven Sent, by Bengaluru-based Magar. The show features 18 works in a convergence of painting, mural and sculpture in brass.
Explaining his process, Magar says he starts with pencil and pen drawings, which are transferred onto brass sheets. “Crystals are embedded after etching, enamelling and finishing.” Magar uses Swarovski crystals. “My work can be called a contemporary avatar of traditional Thanjavur and Mysore paintings. It has to be royal.”
Magar studied Applied Art at the Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath (CKP) and graduated in 1993. He initially started out as an art visualiser at leading advertising agencies and worked in Visual Merchandising for Madura Garments. His company, Kalpa Corporate Artz, creates fine art reproductions with permission from palaces and museums. “We also provide creative consulting, artworks and end-to-end design solutions for corporate interiors.” Magar wanted to make art affordable and is happy he curated nearly 50,000 paintings for corporate offices across India and abroad.
While working in advertising, Magar expanded his range and embraced a range of media and themes: from intricate pen-and-ink drawings and paintings on brass, to sculptures and mixed media on canvas. He received acclaim for his work and was awarded the Creative Excellence Award by Svetoslav Roerich, the then-president of CKP.
“His work is an exploration of immeasurable detailing using intricate lines and vibrant colours,” says Gitanjali Maini, managing director, gallery g. The 50-year-old artist, who has been pursuing his passion for more than 27 years, says brass paintings live for over 1,000 years. “It can be a priceless treasure for art museums and art collectors across the world,” says Magar.
The paints used are special stoving enamels/UV paints which are mixed to achieve desired colours. The etching and colouring is manually done and the brass plates are transferred to industrial ovens at 180 degrees centigrade to ensure permanent fixing of colours. “Once the firing is complete, the painting is scrubbed, lacquered and buffed for sheen and lustre,” says Magar, who sources his brass sheets from Haryana and Mexico. The paintings have gold and silver finish.
The paintings cost between ₹3 lakh and ₹25 lakh. “The cost takes into account the precious material and the labour involved. I take three months for a 2 x 2 feet artwork. It involves research into mythology. Even a painting this small generally has about 30 crystals.”
Magar rues the fact that people have lost touch with mythological tales. “Technology has pushed people to forget what fine lines in hand drawing mean, and they cannot relate to the stories I use.”
While Magar has been felicitated by Chief Ministers and others, he holds superstar Rajinikanth’s wishes close to his heart. “I am so happy that he wished me luck for this solo show.”