Coming from a small town near Vishakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, Prathap Modi, Graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts, Baroda, predominantly works with printmaking and most often with the medium of woodcut.
In many significant ways he has managed to extend its limits. One such instance is that of large-scale woodcut, which is historically understood to be limited in the matter of its scale of execution. Prathap’s striving for redefining conventions led him to produce gigantic woodcut prints that run into many feet, some even having the size of mural paintings.
Modi takes a large image composition and splits it into multiple wooden panels which are carved and printed on papers separately, but using the same colour scheme. Multicolour printing in this case is done with the spooning method. These individually printed panels are later assembled and framed into a total composition. While the aspect of scale is what one immediately notices about Modi’s works, one also notices the extremely careful crafting of minute details, with patterns creating visual segregations on the foreground and background of the images. The subtleness of the colour combinations are also unique to his work, and help to assure the efficiency of powerful images. In conceptually conversing with the woodcut works of Prathap Modi, a series of visual relationships are established between the representations of human figures, animals and other material objects..His works have a straight forward visual appeal reflecting, reacting, and conversing with contemporary social realities. While desire and fantasy become the key conceptual undertones appearing and reappearing in many contexts, the well-crafted pictorial compositions often show the artist’s self image as the key catalyst. The artistic self image stands as a conversing agent between the past and the present, or taking it further conceptually, between tradition and modernity. In a sense, these contradictions and dichotomies foreground a new symbolic relationship between objects/elements/images referenced from different timeframes of cultural history.
(Written by Aditya Mopidevi)