Art Reviews

Art Reviews

Art Reviews

Layered environs

Perhaps considering the not so enthusiastic state of the art market, there have been several gallery exhibitions that, rather than venture into ambitious but uncertain projects, offer cultured and technically sound, even insightful work which does not however cross the boundaries of the safe, pleasant and fairly predictable.

Impressions from scenery or broader environments are often understood as guaranteed here. The show titled “Over the Horizon” by two young local painters Kantharaj N. and Supriya Murthy promoted by Blue Spade (CKP, June 23 to 27), indeed, quite adequately paired them for the sake of the commonly, if differently, pursued aspects of the landscape feel involving similar, smallish sizes, hue translucency along with its multiple layers, illumination and inner shadow, textured surface versus depth, linearity and soft pigmentation, recognisable detail and abstraction, closeness and expanse, even spread and clear rhythm, all this being largely enabled by the use of water colours.

In Kantharaj’s case the aesthetic language is more traditional as it brings familiar associations, also slightly obvious, maybe louder and design-oriented. Rows upon rows of varied horizontal stripes in light-graded colours cover the images brushed on boards interacting with patchy textures and lucid, wiry lines, those either accentuating the spread of the scenery or curl mildly describing simplified tree silhouettes or scattered foliage and pollen.

Such lines in a decorative manner enhance the sense of distance between the foreground and the limitless recess. Supriya Murthy’s comparatively contemporary paintings on paper frequently have some subtle pencil strokes too, but the superimposed or juxtaposed strata of her pastel colours create a gentle kind of intensity, one that simultaneously looks at the surface of tiny, non-specifically organic elements, right into their insides and over the wide space they form or fill, their proximity appearing to contain a premonition of untenable yet pressing depth. The dynamism there, at the same time restful and regularly swirling, induces an impact of nebulous tissue or creature behaviour on the microscopic plane that approaches an echo in almost cosmic dimensions. There is a degree of nice patterning here also it, nonetheless, finds a graceful form.

The idiom of Ichha Bhojani looks unconnected at first glance only to reveal a kindred desire to penetrate and balance a disjointed yet pervasive accumulation of reality tiers. Her show “Ever After” (Kynkyny, June 16 to July 6), in fact, appeared to disclose the artist’s pathway to wards such complexity. On the one hand then, in the dark black and white photographs from arched Islamic corridors one could guess her savouring the strong structure and atmospheric mysteries of existing architecture, whereas, on the other hand, she was tempted to multiply the effect in virtual collages where photographic fragments of buildings together clash as well as mutually increase their intricacy. Often interesting, however, these compositions give way to a somewhat excessive blend with interior motifs in bright colours, partial negatives and superimposed perspective markings.

The situation repeats in the mixed media drawings on printing paper. Having appreciated the ones where comparatively rudimentary human figures turn disturbing under an open network of anatomy details, the viewer may be a little tired by the overcrowded scenes with ably drawn nude bodies almost covered by enmeshments of buildings, vein-like roots and a diversity of floral textile designs, all the more dense that they include pronounced pigments. The overly rich instances turn the previous intuitiveness into formalism.

Dated gamut from afar

Now aware of what is happening on the art scene in the faraway Jharkhand, one may have been curious to see the paintings by the nine members of the Shilpi Niketan Group of Artists from that state who not long ago exhibited together at the Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath. It was rather disappointing then, that what one found abundantly on the walls was a range of very old-fashioned, indifferent styles meant to please popular tastes whose virtually amateurish character was of the kind that could be expected among modest surroundings anywhere else.

At one extreme were images based on a sweetened, descriptive sort of academic realism blended with textural abstraction (Krishna Kumar Mahato) and an equally surface-bound decorativeness of folk and classical painting transpositions (Sarmistha Pramanik).

Somewhere in the middle came the Modernism-derived cuteness of rustic sculptures in bronze (Shibu Sengupta), of stylised divine icons and pensive human figures (Yashpal Singh) along with their more current, naively mannered variant (Anjana Sengupta) and one focussed on textured hue layering (Sumita Pramanick). At the opposite extreme the spectator could notice two versions of a highly stylised ugly-pretty expressionism (Badal Pramanik, Brindavan Debnath).

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