Stories of a Sophisticated Gypsy Solo Exhibition

by Shashikant Dhotre

Shashikant Dhotre wields his color pencils and pastels on paper with a magician’s finesse, captivating viewers with his ability to direct their gaze and immerse them in the suspended disbelief of his art. Unlike magical realism, where reality blurs into the improbable, Dhotre’s controlled illusion invites scrutiny without doubt, creating a witness-like realism. Initially renowned for his portraits of young women elevated to divine status, Dhotre’s art transcends AI perfection, rooted in human skill and imagination. His shift from posed models to everyday scenes reflects an anthropological documentation of his native Sholapur.

Dhotre’s artistic journey takes unexpected turns, from delving into the history of woven fabrics to collaborating with weavers, culminating in immersive installations alongside his paintings. Despite surprising followers with forays into filmmaking and installation art, Dhotre’s ability to captivate audiences remains undiminished. His latest series, inspired by intricately woven carpets, transforms gallery spaces into nomadic camps where life intersects, all rendered with the meticulous detail of his color pencil and pastel technique.

Paper, Dhotre’s chosen medium, underscores the ephemeral nature of his craft, contrasting with the enduring beauty of his hyper-realistic carpets. Echoing the drapery folds of art history, his works evoke invisible presences of the artisans and models who inspired them. Each piece is a testament to the magic of creation, bridging past and present, beauty and history, in Dhotre’s uniquely captivating style.

January 2024, New Delhi