Murli Dhir Rai creates magic on the canvas by painting light and air without a brush. Instead of using a brush, he prefers a knife, spatula even a toothbrush. "I have a special liking for knife and spatula because it creates good effects on the painting than brush," says Rai. He has done figurative work and landscapes. But later, abstract forms composed his pictorial language. "In Banaras, where I spent my student days, I studied old buildings. The movement of light on architectural elements like doors, windows or other structures fascinates me," he says. The perfect sequential of layering, scraping, erasing, scrubbing and scratching can be seen in his paintings. His paintings portray the typical physicality of gestures, which have earned him widespread recognition.