Art talk

Art talk


Speaking objects

The effort by three young city artists and their curator friend, on the one hand, may have been too basic form-wise and not entirely clear about its intentions unless explained verbally, on the other hand, however, suggesting an honest start from familiar experiences rather than jumping into contrived complexities. One could appreciate Parinitha Konanur's concept that focussed on the evocative and meaning-bearing physicality of familiar objects from childhood seen against the fluid, simultaneous and fleeting, almost immaterial imagery and handling of gadgets that now dominate the digital age. The most absorbing installation by Mithila Baindur had an array of old, evidently used up cycles, tricycles and a play horse.

The hint at the early gender conditioning in the big cycles did come through, getting diluted, though, because of the lack of such differentiation in the smaller ones.

Varsha Deshikar's "Nostalgia" looked back at the time when listening to the radio was an all-absorbing activity, her grandfather's apparatus coming together with its own little table and chair. Babitha Lingraj displayed hand-made baby frocks and tiny knitted sweaters in a cabinet under glass as though it was a protected museum exhibit. As much as one admired the validity of the theme and its atmosphere along with the simplicity of the approach, the works left the spectator a bit cool. It is not enough to just rely on the dated charm of the mundane objects. What was needed perhaps was something more than placing the furniture, clothes and cycles in a certain manner, something to lead the viewer that would have clarified the ideas behind them and enhanced emotive recognition.  

Inner-outer rhythms

For Gregory Lent art-making is part of his spiritual seeking. This American artist dedicated to meditation and the atmosphere of Tiruvannamalai strives to capture the serene and joyous processes and effects of recognition of higher consciousness in his inner world of intuition. He wishes to suggest the formless through forms while using and beautifying often discarded, humble materials he aims at evoking transformations of the mundane into the subtle. Even though one cannot doubt the genuineness of the artist here, his latest works at Time & Space (June 4 to 13) had a literally illustrative character rather than revelatory. The term illustrative here can be applied as much to the manner in which he represents figures, landscapes and ancient symbols as to the way in which he handles the aesthetic means. Whether it is the sacred hill with the arches of its shrines, people gathered in the expectancy of an epiphany or bindus, chakras and symbolic triangles, the images aim at conjuring the deep pulses that underlie and bind everything resulting, nevertheless, in a somewhat easy design. Geometry-based or structured of recurring undulations, the whole composition is threaded of little, fairly uniform elements that, irrespective of their original nature, look like colourful beads often altering with tiny mirrors.

If the reference of kitsch transposing into something refined can be a method, it does not quite rise beyond the source. The sparing, more abstract pieces convince better on the decorative level, whereas the comparative realism of the painterly sceneries are fairly amateurish.

Design-based

The twelve young artists associated with the Ken School at the "Odyssey" exhibition (CKP, till June 15) represent different variants within a hesitant striving from school-taught conventions to more contemporary ways.

An academic scenery (Basava Raju L) can be spotted next to a colouristic (Paramesh) or geometrised (Mukunda H V, Athmananda) simplification of figures, a vaguely expressionistic one (Sastry K M S, Krishna R Nagaral) or realistic but design-like (Gowtham) or next to full and partial abstractions of an evident provenance (Shekhar R, Prasanna Kumar, Manjunath Koppal), while painterly volumes and sculptural ones remain equally formalist and design-oriented (Ashok U, Sharada BS).

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