Jagdish Swaminathan was interested in the bearing indigenous concepts, tribal, folk and tantric, had on contemporary Indian art. He argued that in opposition to the Western approach, traditional Indian paintings were never meant to represent reality in the naturalistic objective sense.
His own interest in 'numenous' possibilities in Indian painting resulted in the Mountain, Tree and Bird Series. In this series, the artist creates a conceptual landscape using forms borrowed from nature. His compositions are ordered by flat bright colour fields, on which appear simplified mountains, water, stones and a bird.
Swaminathan states 'In the late 1960s, I tried to probe the relation of colour to space and after a study of Pahari miniatures, did a series called Geometry of Space. After the Colour Geometry show I entered the now famous phase of the bird, the mountain, the tree, the reflection, the shadow, and it lasted for quite a while...However, the obsession was wonderful while it lasted and what better tribute would a painter want than a letter from a collector [saying] that my work brought peace and tranquility into her house.' (Lalit Kala Contemporary, Issue 40, March 1995, New Delhi, p. 11.)