His painting is minimalist while remaining figurative. The simple lines of the naked bodies border the flat planes in pure pastel-type hues. Beyond the character, woman, man or androgynous, his art invites for a meditation on human condition and meaning of life.
After a serious illness Mehta becomes an artist in residence in 1983 in Santiniketan in Bengal for a period of two years. In the intellectual and cultural environment of this city founded by Rabindranath Tagore his art changes forever when he mixes the Hindu mysticism with his own metaphysical quest.
The rickshaw has long been for Mehta an abject symbol both by the enslavement of the puller and by the confinement of the seated character. In 1984 the figure in the shadow of the machine is no longer a naked woman but a divinity who exhibits her three legs in sunlight. This oil on canvas 150 x 120 cm was sold for £ 1,97M including premium by Christie's on June 9, 2011.
Mehta begins to express that humanity needs more than ever the return of Durga, the primordial warrior goddess who uses violence to offer peace with her eight to sixteen arms.
The nude female creature sitting on the floor with two heads, two bodies, four arms and two legs is a peaceful Annunciation of Durga. The bull's head in front of her is both an emanation of the slaughterhouse and a memory of Durga's ultimate victory over the buffalo demon Mahishasura.
This oil on canvas 150 x 105 cm also painted in 1984 prefigures the epic themes of the later career of Mehta. It was sold for $ 1.76M including premium by Christie's on March 21, 2012 and had been discussed at that time in this column. It is estimated INR 14 to 18 crores worth US $ 2.3 to 3M for sale on August 23 online from Mumbai by AstaGuru, lot 20. The full catalog of the sale is linked in the tweet.
SOLD for INR 15.5 crores (worth $ 2.57M) before fees