I posted on Tyeb Mehta a few months ago, after it came out that a painting of his had sold for $1.58 million at Christie's in New York.
Somini Sengupta has a thorough profile of Mehta in the Times this week, which is pretty well worth reading for the insight it gives on what Mehta is after with his myth-based gestural paintings. (Also helpful is Sonia Faleiro's nice profile of him, which appeared in Tehelka in June.)
And I came across a recent first-person testimonial by Mehta in the Times of India, where he talks about his active (if non-devout) relationship to his Shia Islamic heritage.
I know much more about Mehta after reading these pieces -- and he seems like a fascinating person -- but I'm still on the fence as to whether I actually like his paintings or not. The images just seem somehow flat to me (have a look at the Times' slideshow and tell me what you think...)
While the shapes Mehta produces are dramatic, they seem more like drawings than paintings: they are flat and descriptive even when the images involve violence, suffering, or mutilation. (Sengupta mentions the traumatic effect of communal violence on Mehta's thinking...) The monstrous, misshapen bodies in his paintings ought to provoke visceral horror, but that's not what happens for this blogger at least.
Contrast his work to that of another contemporary painter, Prosenjit Roy. Roy has some paintings on Jalsaghar, and more on his own homepage. Alongside whimsical paintings like "The Sleepy Scratch" is the more serious "Artist on a mend," a painting about depression which, I would argue, has a painterly joke in it all the same:
(Do you get the joke? Hint: It's on you.)
But Roy's most ambitious painting might be The Order of Things, which he hasn't posted in full color -- perhaps to protect it from Internet leechers (**blogger coughs nervously**). It looks like a surrealist take on the philosophical arguments of Michel Foucault...