“In these paintings… he selects images from nature, but dematerializes them by making them metaphorical. He expresses a spiritual sentiment about the unrealized universe, but through the mediating mirror of nature. There are zigzag mountains, delicate, transparent and lofty; symbols of ascent and of eternity. There is usually a tree or a flowering bush at the foot of the mountain or the crest of a hill; a virginal plant in the first flush of spring; a fragile tulsi, a cherry blossom or a gulmohar. The space of the picture radiates light. Although the paintings are conceived in terms of an illumed space, the light is really not that of the sun or moon. It is sheer effulgence creating a colored void. In the way he levitates himself on the wings of the metaphors to an ethereal realm, there is an unmistakable striving for transcendence in these paintings…Swaminathan’s work, in my view, is based on a principle of transcendence derived from the Upanisadic tradition. It can be most satisfactorily appreciated through the categories of the Rasa theory of Indian aesthetics wherein the principle of transcendence is given its aesthetic characterization. …For a painter who quotes the Upanishads frequently, the element of space is fundamental, both pictorially and conceptually, because space is the occasion for cosmic manifestation. And in this respect it is not arbitrary that Swaminathan should have chosen the image of the bird as the recurring motif. The bird belongs to the element of space; it is the winged metaphor to suggest the infinitude of space… Swaminathan’s simple paintings are the most satisfactory. Working as he does with slender resources, he works best on the principle, less is more" (G. Kapur, “J. Swaminathan: Wings of a Metaphor,” Contemporary Indian Artists, Vikas Publishing House Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi, 1978, p. 201- 212).