Two years ago, Zimmerman first opened its doors with Spacebook, a stunning 135 panel installation by Whanganui artist Prakash Patel. The painted panels - and their successive replacements over time - have remained so popular with visitors to the gallery that Zimmerman has dedicated a permanent wall space to Patel’s panel works. This month, Zimmerman is featuring a number of Patel’s larger works on canvas.
Born in New Zealand in 1968, Patel’s shimmering painted works are subconsciously imbued with a sense of the artist’s Gujarati background (his parents emigrated from India before Patel was born). “I didn’t go out of my way to paint things that relate to being Indian, but I think it just happens naturally anyway.”
As with Patel’s panels, many of the artist’s large paintings on canvas evoke both ethereal underwater colonies and luminous cosmic scenes. Exotic creatures float across the void, tantalisingly just beyond identification. Delicately drawn golden lines and dots rise up from the deep, wafting along the surface like swatches of woven fabric. Other paintings are evocative of thriving, sprawling cities, an iridescent labyrinth of artificial life.
Whatever associations Patel’s paintings suggest to the viewer, these works are essentially labours of love, the product of an artist committed to his calling. We welcome you to stop by Zimmerman this month, to form your own response to Patel’s works.