If you've plumbed the Erratic Phenomena archives, you already know about Nimit Malvia's expressive, tumultuous, nakedly emotional work. Nimit's first solo show, entitled "i can't love you, but we can romance," opens on February 5th at Show & Tell Gallery in Toronto, so he agreed to draw aside the veil a bit and show me a glimpse of what's to come.
"Carry All That I'm Able"
Erratic Phenomena: Last year, you drew a great deal of attention with a couple of drawings of majestic lions engulfed by a firestorm of swirling energies, executed quite simply in graphite on paper. Lately, you've fully embraced that aesthetic, choosing to work almost exclusively in black ink and graphite, and have evolved this highly charged atmosphere to express a myriad of emotions. Your upcoming exhibition at Show & Tell Gallery in Toronto – the largest body of work you've shown to date – is entitled "i can't love you, but we can romance." What can you tell me about the narrative or emotional backbone of this show?
Nimit Malavia: I wanted to tell stories – or rather share moments – of connection and loss, moments that we can’t quite capture in words but are certain that we’ve felt. While I know many people approach love with caution and hesitancy, I really wanted to speak to the fearlessness of first love – how hopeful and courageous you can be to risk and believe in another, opening yourself up to the possibilities of experiencing something real. Totally unbound by worries of what might happen, or what could or couldn’t be. All the while romanticizing the loss that can come upon you. It’s a naïve notion, but I think it's something that holds much more charm and honesty than some of the so-called "romance" du jour.
"You Are Always So Much More Beautiful In the Dark" (detail)
EP: Are there new places you're trying to get to aesthetically or technically with this body of work?
Nimit: As you mentioned, this has been a great opportunity for me to really embrace my joy of working with black and white imagery. I’ve been trying to involve painting and charcoal a lot more. I used to find those two things to be quite frustrating, but lately I’ve been trying to gain an understanding of some different methods in which I can implement them. It’s had an impact on the direction and methods of the work, with the different textures and atmospheres I can achieve. Aesthetically, some of my earlier work was very raw and almost a reactive response to the medium and image. I’ve tried to refine the images in a way – to create richer, fuller works. I’ve been pushing to try and get a more classical quality out of these pieces. In the same way that I’m working to develop the marks I make, I’m trying to develop the images as well.
EP: Have any particular experiences or influences had a strong impact on what you're painting at the moment?
Nimit: Without getting too emotional, haha… I guess the experience of falling in love and the unfortunate loss of that had a pretty deep impact on me, and on the sort of things I’ve been painting at the moment – that and the friendship of a few really great friends. I sort of took this show as a chance to look back and reflect and learn from my experiences this past year.
"Is My Passion Equal To the Task" (detail)
Nimit Malavia's "i can't love you, but we can romance" will open on February 5th at Show & Tell Gallery in Toronto, alongside Tessar Lo's "everything we wanted, in our nostalgic future." I will be traveling up north for the festivities, so I hope to see you there!