M. F. Husain has become the symbol of modern Indian art with an international flavor. He portrays a black social environment, often using distorted or deformed human figures, horses and objects. In a unique way, he synchronizes aesthetic ideas with significant events, at times using highly violent distortion in form and color to display emotion.
Besides his renowned series of works-‘Ramayana,’ and Mahabharata’ (using visual metaphors of violence, injustice, and despair); ‘Mother Teresa (a Symbol of love and hope), ‘Images of British Raj ( a Brilliant satire on the personalities and life and lifestyle of the period)- Husain has been expressing his concern and anguish over the increasing hatred between man and man.
His ‘Theater of the Absurd 1990’- a sever comment on the cult of violence was followed by ‘Splash Front Page’ 1991, on the brutal war in the Gulf. ‘shwetambari 1992’, an all-white show expressing his experience of ‘White is superabundant’, and ‘Visarjan’ 1992 which took six days of making the image of goddesses and one day of unmaking or destroying them (claimed by Husain as a protest against establishment) and, ‘Violence’, and ‘Portrait of the 20th century 1993’, symbolize his identification with the causes and concerns of the times.
Their execution qualitatively was, however, inadequate as compared to the earlier series of paintings. The later works have been described by some as Tamashas or gimmicks performed by him to remain in the limelight. In the process of finding a new language of form, Husain’s work has been marked by a decisive influence of Picasso, Gris, Leger and Perhaps, even Maholy Nagy.
A typical element in his work has always been a figure pattern to shifting tonal/light -shade areas, (introduced in his early painting Zamin).
Husain, however, has always been in danger of becoming too decorative, too vigorous and too improvised. His overlapping of formal color and tonal patterns has been an intellectual exercise. This has, in fact, been his typical approach-inventive and a renewed vision of forms wherein the shaded areas or color areas in a figure cut across the figure changing silhouette into fragmented forms.
The elastic effect produced by complementary colors seems to transform the image into some other reality in his schematized forms the articulated patterns of figures and splashes of colors. From the forties, Husain has always attempted to combine the real and the abstract in a striking manner.
Husain’s art depicts the extremely complex changes that have taken place in the visual arts in India during the past half-century, from realistic painting, a continuation of the style of the nineteenth-century British academic traditions, to a modern distorted approach to form. This is essentially an influence of the cubists and Abstract school or a combination of both. His work virtually sums up the complex history of art in India of our time.
- M.F. Husain: A Pictorial Tribute
- Lightning by M.F. Husain
- M.F. Husain Ki Kahani Apni Zubani
- M. F. Husain: Kala Ka Karmyogi (M. F. Husain: A Pictorial Tribute) (Bahuvachan)
- M F Husain
- Let History Cut Across Me Without Me
- 88 Husains in Oils
- Beyond the Canvass: Unfinished Portrait of M.F. Husain
- Epic India: M. F. Husain’s Mahabharata Project