Known for his innovative approach to materials and technique, Dave is more concerned with the formal qualities of his works than their narrative potential. Combining oil paint with wax or encaustic to create heavily textured surfaces, as in Composition #1, he often incised them with abstracted calligraphic markings.
Dave grew up in the small village of Badpura, in northern Gujarat. Moving to the city of Ahmedabad, he earned his living painting billboards for films. By 1950 he began formal art training at Maharaja Sayajirao University in Baroda, studying with N.S. Bendre. There, he helped found the first Baroda Group in 1956. This Baroda Group—not to be confused with the later and more prominent one formed by Vivan Sundaram, and others—included the artists Gulam Rasool Santosh and Jyoti Bhatt as well as the artist and academic Ratan Parimoo.