“As the West loses its intense visual preference and enters the iconic world of sculptural and acoustic values, the painterly and graphic idiom of India gains steadily in western habits and acceptance. The work of Mansaram brings the mosaic forms of T.S.Eliot and James Joyce to the Orient in the very moment and by the same means that Mansaram enables us to contemplate the Orient as a variant modality of The Waste Land. In short, Mansaram is kind of a two way mirror, living simultaneously in the divided and distinguished worlds of the East and West.” – (signed) Marshall McLuhan, January 1973
P. Mansaram Past | Present is the first retrospective exhibition of acclaimed Canadian artist Panchal Mansaram and includes examples from all facets of his career. Tracing Mansaram’s considerable artistic output, the exhibition features more than 20 preparatory drawings, sketches, collage studies and panels relating to his early work from the 1960’s through to 2013. Mansaram was born in Mount Abu, in Rajasthan India. He studied at the Sir J.J. School of Art in Mumbai from 1954 – 1959, and from 1963-64, he attended the State Academy of Fine Arts, Amsterdam, Netherlands on a Dutch Government Fellowship. Mansaram first came into contact with the Toronto art world in the late 1970s, when he also met Marshall McLuhan, and the two formed a life-long friendship built upon ideas, art and dialogue.
The exhibition features several early pieces, among the first of Mansaram’s exhibited works, which offer a glimpse into the artist’s struggle to channel cultural commentary into layered, subversive observations of Canadian life. The exhibition also includes a selection of Mansaram’s collaborations with McLuhan. Drawing on the artist’s interest in the image, palimpsest and colour, the exhibition presents a range of artistic styles and strategies and explores how Mansaram developed dynamic new ideas within the field of digital, painting and collage.
A significant portion of the exhibition is devoted to collages, a medium that in its myriad forms has consumed the artist throughout his career. Produced between 1978 and 2011, this body of work highlights the commitment and vision of a senior artist. The exhibition also includes research material, preliminary sketches, photographs and storyboards related to the evolution of Mansaram with images, pages and publications that reveal the artist’s legacy.
Mansaram’s work is held in the public trust in numerous collections, including the Royal Ontario Museum, Air India, Marshall McLuhan estate, Art Gallery of Hamilton, Art Gallery of Mississauga, Government of Ontario Art Collection, National Gallery of Canada, and Modern Art New Delhi.