Winter Light, painted in 1987, is an example of the realist style which defined Atul Dodiya’s early oeuvre, and first brought the artist critical acclaim. Taking cues from the two-dimensional pop imagery of David Hockney and Bhupen Khakhar’s inventive use of space, this painting offers a tantalizing glimpse of a perfect winter morning sky from behind what appears to be some sort of monolithic boundary wall. Dodiya’s use of light here may also be compared to that in paintings by two of his favorite artists, Edward Hopper and Giorgio Morandi, where architectural structures and still-life objects respectively offer a springboard for exploring formal geometries and light effects.
In these early landscapes, the artist’s chief concern was to capture moods like solitude and silence and depict the intangible including the passage of time. As he explains, in this painting, “solitude and calm is the subject matter. The title Winter Light comes from Swedish film maker Ingmar Bergman’s 1963 film 'Winter Light'. Opposite to the intense content and drama of the film, my painting, as I said shows solitude and calm.” (In correspondence with the artist, 2020)