There are strikes & there are strokes

There are strikes & there are strokes

Artist L N Rana ranks among those front runners who have earned recognition as both a sculptor and a painter, and this journey  goes back to his roots. As the scion of a family where sculpturing was part of his upbringing under his father, a traditional sculptor himself, the young graduate from Jamia Millia School of Art pitched in as a painter on ceramic murals, thereby straddling both worlds with natural ease.

While most artists prefer to channelise their talent into one artform later on, L N Rana has continued to give both interests equal attention. Conceding to the barrage of queries on how a painter can do justice to his sculptures and vice versa, Rana makes a case for it by stating, "The form and depiction being my very own in both forms of art, for me painting and sculpture speak the same language. There is a certain sculptural quality in my painting, and a living touch in my sculptures."

New display

Besides this unique expertise of mastering both fields with ease, Rana also enjoys the reputation of showcasing at his exhibitions fresh batches of work for his viewers. This has been possible as he spaces out his shows  with a hiatus of three years. This self-imposed discipline of artistic exposure makes his art a platform for airing a different social issue at each show.

"In the latest show, which I held at Lalit Kala Akademi in New Delhi, I was drawn to the plight of urban children from nuclear families where both parents work, and children have to spend their days at a crèche. My paintings show the drama of spilling emotions as the child runs with a sense of relief to meet the mother at the crèche, or the image of an older child who is delighted to meet her father at the doorstep as she opens it for him. In a way, the reaction of the lonely child mirrors the emotions of this urban-oriented painter, who specifies that being brought up in a city, he has no understanding of the utopian rural life, and is driven towards finding his artistic language in urban aspirations, such as owning a dream home, which is the one pressing ambition of every town dweller. These telling observations on life within an urban framework are thereafter depicted using figures in a geometric, regimented and controlled format. Their ambitions and cherished dreams appear like a patchwork quilt of great detailing, wrought in muted tones, and demarcating urban realities with a confluence of block-like references depicted in a select and muted colour scheme that borders on earthy browns and shades.

This exclusive grammar of expressiveness for narrating urban experiences makes Rana's canvases an ongoing pageantry of city culture. Thus, his paintings are not one-off works but mature into the form of 'city series', which, according to critic Priyamvada, "mirror the exponentially changing world in terms of technology and urbanisation, the inroads of a technical world or lifestyle." These works generate a discourse and reverberate a tone that has the potentiality to map out a path into the next phase of his artistry.

Rana's sculptures, which are exclusively in bronze, are complementary divisions of the stolid and the linear, but appear fluid and light-filled to the eye. Whatever their form, their workmanship bears upon classical realism where each piece is a statement on life arrayed with the rhythm of the senses. Thus, L N Rana and his works have a continuum in their psyche, where the playfulness and expressionism of the present works always carry in their womb the seeds of his next leap.

 

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