Art review

Art review

Art review

Physical proximity

With much amazement and appreciation one has been observing the activities of Samuha, which for well over a year brought about two exhibitions a month by some major artists and several young ones from Bangalore and the State, besides various events involving people from non-art areas of life and traditional village artisans. The project and art-work of Suresh Kumar G as the Handyman behind it, has managed to thrive on common resources.

Among its achievements one should count the widening of artists’ address and reach together with an inclusive attitude which may have resulted sometimes in less exciting quality but often encouraged otherwise little visible or neglected talent. It is in tune with the spirit of Samuha, that towards the end of its duration it presents another phenomenon from among the self-help artists’ initiatives that this city is unique for.

T Mohan Kumar’s charcoal drawing on paper.The current display (July 31 to August 16) offers works by seven recent recipients of scholarships from the Arnawaz Vasudev Charities, which has been quietly assisting youth under the guidance of senior artist S G Vasudev, a member of the Samuha collective. A very interesting surprise comes here with the drawings of T Mohan Kumar. Without trying to be cutting edge fashionable or spectacular, Kumar achieves an unassuming but passionate kind of authenticity and contemporariness by responding to situations and sensations intrinsic to reality. His large charcoal on paper teems with essentialist, nude human figures that calmly as well as aggressively interact under the pressure of their physical proximity, while such natural and forced interlocking yields a sense of blind, animal vivacity that turns literally, absurdly or surreally hybrid.

If there is oppressiveness and some disgust in this image of unbridled multitudes, there is also much intensity and warmth with a weirdly poetic humour. The latter traits inform the array of small drawings which yield more intimate moods around the strange coexistence of people and beasts, man-made objects or machines and the organic world. Another absorbing contribution belongs to N Srinivas Reddy the simple, direct realism of his delicately precise draughtsmanship in graphite conjures rather personal scenes of fantasy, innocent aspiration and social criticism, whose atmosphere becomes heightened by a controlled yet imaginative use of watercolours.

The human figure continues in the graphic prints of K S Chandrashekar, under strong hues and such black and white tonalities, oscillates between essentialist realistic and a somewhat expressionistic over-stress. The impact is solid and cultured but not exceptional. This remark can be used also in reference to the coloured dry-point graphics of K Aishwaryan who In a mode as amusing as it is tenderly aesthetic creates a portrait of family of toothbrushes.

A similar response can be evoked by the mixed media paintings of A Naveen Kumar which, blending gentle, painterly building facades, mapping exactness and visceral suggestions strive to touch on a multi-layered evocation of urban surroundings. The two sculptors in the show may not be equally convincing. M Sreenu’s bronze with Hanuman in cyber-reality is well executed and valid but perhaps not charged enough. The immense mutant elephants of Hareesh Malappanavar prove the artist’s ambition and point at a truly disquieting condition, however, spend themselves on the effect while borrowing from predecessors.

Young awardees

The winners of this year’s H K Kejriwal Young Artist Awards are exhibiting at Mahua (August 11 to 25). Among the four of them the sculptor Tarun Maity is surely someone to expect much from in the future. His painted works of wood, often conceived somewhat in the manner of installation, look at the world around with critical sharpness underscored by his concern which can at times yield tenderness. The human figures tightly, with a degree of rawness capture characteristic, ordinary types, their sparing but expressive postures and faces combining brutal frankness with a sense of the tactile real. His rough, shallow scooping can become rather lyrical in the images of birds. The remaining participants  are well skilled and respond to reality, but seem to have prematurely settled into more or less clever aesthetic formulas.

One does appreciate Hrusikesh Biswal’s impassioned sarcasm about devious people with hidden sexual obsessions, even if he relies excessively on stylising. The heads translated into objects in the serigraphs of Maripelly Praveen Goud may be ironic but they indulge in decorative mannerisms. The partly abstracted urban trajectories of Rajnish Chhanesh mediate a forceful flow with a little too much of design.

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