Exhibits at Bridge Gallery in Bayonne; Gallery 14 Maple in Morristown
By Sally Deering
Dark-eyed women in traditional clothing are painted against a backdrop of bands of colors filled with rows of tiny fish, elephants and other imagery of India. They are the paintings of artist Nupur Nishith, a resident of Bayonne who moved to the U.S. a little over five years ago with an MBA and several years of working for a bank. Instead of following a banking career, though, Nishith decided to follow her passion for art.
Nishith has several glass pieces at the Bridge Art Gallery in Bayonne and paintings at the Morris 14 Gallery in Morristown. She works on various surfaces like paper, canvas, glass, clay, ceramic, and wood.
“I don’t have any art training,” Nishith says. “The art I do is a folk art from where I born. I learned it from watching my mother. From observing her, I used to do my own paintings in India, some random shows. I loved art, so when I moved here, I told myself I think I should take my art seriously.”
“Dancing with Colors” by Nupul Nishith
The traditional paintings Nishith refers to are Mithila paintings, from the Mithila region where she was born. Mithila paintings, she says, were traditionally made with natural colors, and when she started doing them on canvases with acrylic colors, she evolved a style of her own calling it Creative Mithila, which is also the name of her website.
“Mithila paintings are also known as Madhubani paintings, an ancient folk art from India,” Nishith says. “I took up the art form at an early age observing my mother painting them for various occasions, rituals and festivals. Over the years I have evolved my own distinct style by fusing contemporary ideas with traditional art “forms using modern tools.”
Traditionally, Madhubani paintings were done on the floor and walls and then about 50 years ago, artists started painting them on paper, Nishith says.
“Vipasana Buddha” by Nupul Nishith
“It’s an ancient art form, and they used them to decorate their houses,” Nishith says. “For any social gathering, they used to decorate with floor paintings and wall paintings; they were such beautiful paintings. They finally decided to let the world see them and gave the artists paper.”
Nishith’s paintings are images of people doing simple things: a figure dances; another meditates; one is taking a selfie. She creates her paintings on canvas with acrylic paints or on her tablet and Samsung Note phone using a stylus.
“I’m a technology person, I started painting digitally,” Nishith says “I doodle little pieces on my cellphone, and my tablet. Most of my paintings are completely by hand, mostly free-hand by brush.”
Nishith started exhibiting her art in 2015 and this year, she’s done five shows including COLOR at the Brooklyn Waterworks Artists Coalition, a national juried show, where she earned a Certificate of Recognition for her painting Dheeya.
“It was the first show I applied to,” Nishith says. “There were around 1800 entries and I received one of the top 13 awards. That was a huge morale booster.”
“Dheeya” by Nupur Nishith
With her boost in confidence as an artist, Nishith plans to create more art and do more solo shows in 2017, she says.
“What I do is unique,” Nishith says. “It has a universal appeal.”
One big part of the appeal of her paintings, Nishith says, are the small details she creates in the background. Many people who buy her paintings asks her to tell them the meaning of the symbols.
“They always want to know the story,” Nishith says “One client, when I delivered the painting, she wanted to know every detail of the painting, why I used certain elements.”
“Antardwandva” by Nupur Nishith
And when Nishith sells her paintings, she always tacks on a “1” at the end of the price, whether its $301or $601 for a painting.
“In Hindu culture, ending a number in one is a symbol of good luck,” Nishith says. “It’s good luck for who buys it, for who sells it, its good luck.”
If you go
Bridge Art Gallery
199 Broadway, BOHO
Now- Feb. 17
Gallery 14 Maple
14 Maple Ave, Morristown