Kolkata-based artist Malay Shah’s paintings skilfully combine the energies of a room known to us all, whether within structure or through acquaintances, in an ideal setup or discrete corners of homes. Shah’s figurative furniture passages with exemplified nature of its owners, the people we know, not directly, but through the meanings hidden in their choices.
Malay Shah, Icons, 2007, 54*48 Inches, Acrylic
Malay Shah, The Room, 2007, 24*22 Inches, Acrylic 

As artist Donald Judd, a minimalist pattern art creator once said, “Somewhere, a portion of contemporary art has to exist as an example of what the art and its context were meant to be.” Within the realms of contemporary art and commentaries, the context of paintings and ways of expression have changed strikingly and to a point where art styles have taken a circular route to be back in vogue, the idea of the art’s context is still relevant. Although, there have been shifts in terms of escalation of the value of, for example, maximalism in art. This norm also moves to make a difference given the context of the art system in which the paintings are presented. In the Indian art space, maximalism in the traditional sense is never the question, it is rather an unspeakably understood idea. Though in areas of American portraiture and structure, and calligraphed canvases, the conversation nearly changes. That’s when this idea is presented in varied style and becomes a dialog. 

As with the works of Easel artist Malay Shah, the art is a surrealist symbol of ordinary lives associated with people, yet garnished variably. His figures in art are layered narratives of mundanity seen in proportioned and sometimes stark comparison with extraordinary feats.

Malay Shah, Icons, 2007, 54*48 Inches, Acrylic

Malay Shah, Icons, 2007, 54*48 Inches, Acrylic

The greatest part of the series is the layering hidden within the furnishing. Multiple elements with speckled alternatives are explored in the artist’s paintings which can be seen as stories of people shown with the use of products and interiors. A grand sofa houses within its space, in a shadow form, a traditional two-seater, a mattress with a soft, floral pillow, a chair, and another mini sofa set, surrounded by other trappings and personal belongings resonant of the people that have used them, left them with memories, abandoned them at warehouses of vintage glory. His paintings work as a symbol of figures in this world, the ability to see each other within each other, and the ethos of existence in more ways than one can imagine. 

The context matters the most in Shah’s paintings. Given a scenario of these figures as part of literary or cinematic wonders, a classic novella, or a timepiece, these artworks speak of certain clutter in countenance, an identity, a mishandled past, or a unitary system of living. In a different context, with one of these pieces as part of a subtle, more muted setup, the ability to conceive the world from the point of view of the owners of these pieces is diverse, and the idea, stunningly receptive to understanding a few facets of these individuals that do not exist within the paintings. Artist Malay Shah’s art often reeks of a combination of Asian colours, not essentially synonymous with a particular person or a community, but rather, a window into more exploration of these lives or the ones that detest these symbols altogether. 

The chronicles inside these paintings hint at a detailed venture, love for creation, and an arrangement of human civilisation in wide-ranging circles. The iconography within the art is a vital approach to deciphering people in their belongings, both the sacred and mundane, and the essence of human lives connected with worldly signs and a cultural mix. 

The artworks within this series of contemporary exposure

Malay Shah, Arrangements, 2007, 10*18 Inches, Acrylic; Connections, 2007, 30*28 Inches, Acrylic 

The artworks within this series of contemporary exposure, use elements of edge and colour to inform as well as reflect, to form identities and endure a sense of empathy of thought. It can also be seen as a commentary on dynamism in structures of habitat, closing spaces, and qualms of daily life. Malay Shah’s art is a folded reproduction of many lives as we see, and of the ones we don’t.