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Paintings from the 1980's & 90's

This period of Khanna's painting in particular has a wonderful sense of mystery and ambiguity upon which the mind's eye can feed without hindrance from extraneous references or meanings connected with the "real" world of names and facts. The mind's eye contemplates the longest when it is in a state of interested, but not fearful, puzzlement -  like a child watching a stream, in fact.


In 1980, Philip Rawson, who was also an author, curator, and well-known specialist in Oriental and Indian art, wrote: 'The energies that  permeate Balraj's paintings are not controversial among themselves, but co-operative. They seem to be unravelled from a single matrix of feeling, and each iIllustrates something already implicit in his overall vision. Though touch is important, the lines are not gestural but kinetic through invention. And this is a source of their strength. For it is striking how each work also represents a genuinely fresh pictorial idea without any loss of stylistic integrity. It is at this level at Balraj goes beyond many of his compatriots. It is obvious that again like Klee, he thinks of his work as having music in its concern with process, in the way it deals in forms that act as verbs rather than nouns. But Balraj's music is Indian music. Each composition sets up its own special field within which its activity takes place. Its kinetic forces evolve in constant relationship to themselves, expressing the possibilities imminent with each composition as the plant is eminent in the seed. Shapes and colours do not suggest the dramatic structures of Western music, so much as the resonant worlds of Indian ragas, which encapsulate not only space but also time. There is no suggestion of the objective spectacle, the European theatre of forms.  In Balraj's paintings, no event overwhelms another, no drastic solutions are reached. Instead, each segment of a work participates in a process of unfolding by almost - repetition and subtle variation, laying before us the substance and inner structure of a single, unified pictorial thought. This is a very considerable achievement, rarely encountered. '

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