Art review

Art review

Art review

Minal Damani’s ‘Container’Contemporary artists

“Evidentia”, the current exhibition at Sumukha (December 19 to January 5), was ‘conceptualised by Murali Cheeroth who invited sixteen, mostly well-known contemporary artists witnessing and concerned about the diverse aspects of the changing urban reality and the environment. It comprises of cultured individuals most of whom combine serious engagement with the safety of attractive idioms, especially that painting dominates here, whereas some achieve powerful and often disturbing images.

The whole indeed relating to the broad subject area but being somewhat lose in terms of its facets and interactions among those, comes half-way to a curated event.
 Among the most interesting are the works that in a diversity of methods and foci bring out the inner structure, texture and mood of the city in its metamorphosis.

Bhagyanath portrays urban life as drawn to and controlled by the shaky geometry of rising building levels and as growing around or with an ominously bright cable tree.
The canvases are effective despite slightly echoing of Anant Joshi. George Martin pushes to an extreme vortex the atmosphere of compressed digital blur and distortion that filters and merges the busy street cacophony.

The intuition of unhealthy decay that lies dormant there is faced straight on with the raw proximity of its directness by Prajakta Potnis, as she with deceptive delicacy paints wounded walls next to worn out electrical fixtures.

Excellent contributions come from the photographic prints of Gigi Scaria and Vivek Vilasisni who, respectively, capture the architectural character of machinery imposing itself on normal buildings and the incongruity of worn out monuments to idealistic heroes of the past when set against sites that contradict them and
Ravi Kumar Kashi, T V Santosh, T M Aziz, Murali Cheeroth and Priti Vadakkath portray ordinary people and crowds, with a greater or lesser conceptual ingredient, relying on the popular and finely rendered kind of realism, often imbued with its photographic and television mistiness and often turning slightly pleasant. Ashok Kumar Gopalan’s ironic cheerfulness, though, is rather mannered.

Of the works dealing with natural endangerment, one may be fascinated by Minal Damani’s apocalyptic flower, eerie in its sensuous lushness, seems to epitomise and contain our world that is falling apart.

Rajan M Krishnan’s white birds on a dry tree skeleton unsettlingly let sinister tones permeate splendour.

A wonderful surprise comes from painter Babu Eshwar Prasad whose wooden book holds an inlayed copy of Benore Bihari Mukherjea’s “Tree Lover” and such images of tree stumps.

By contrast, Sebastian Varghese’s view of city’s messy plant-life and the sacral-idyllic ponds of Josh P S appear vague or quietly alluring yet insufficient to set off the rest.
A valuable addition to the show is the group of videos which sharpen some viewing angles.

While Babu Eshwar Prasad snakes around an immense and roughly aesthetic township of discarded industrial machines, Ravi Kumar Kashi’s gradually vanishing TV footage with Kasab questions the reliability of manipulated media reportage.

Using a playful conversation between middle-class people guessing about the make-shift construction being undertaken and discarded by a worker beneath them, Gigi Scaria hints at entrenched social perceptions, planes and

Rhythmic exuberance

Anuradha Nalapat’s exhibition “The Earth Dates the Sky” (Time & Space, Dec 15 to 26) was an ambitious work of love for the beauty, energy and vitality of this world, professed and much indulged in defiance of the dangerous stage we have reached together with our environment.

However,  well one may have empathised with the artist’s aim and her sincerity that was evident in the sheer exuberance of her paintings, most of the works betrayed a degree of naïve literalness both in terms of building the imagery and its actual brushing.  As the title suggested, the frequently large oils strove to embody the calm exhilaration with the loving dynamism of the planet and its creatures who thrive on participating in generative processes.

Nalapat depicts multitudes of organic forms from blossoming flowers and sinuous tendrils to diverse, sketchy-real yet slightly fantastical animals that ever animated scatter amid pulsating patches of soil, water and atmosphere in flickering light.

Minute and larger shapes are loosely contoured too vibrate along with the dappled, quite flat background, while strong spiralling lines, latitude grids and orbs set them within the vast movements of the globe and cosmos.

The trouble is that these strategies are fleshed out in a design-like manner with an excessive stress on kaleidoscopic brightness. The two biggest works which loosen up and become fluidly cogent are more convincing. 

The drawings expose the pattern as the reason behind the idiom’s limitations.

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