Realism and abstract stand hand in hand

Tags: Knowledge
Realism and abstract stand hand in hand
This week we follow the paths of two young artists, who are as different as chalk and cheese. I met both of them recently through their paintings at Gurgaon’s Gallerie Alternatives. Deepak Madhukar Sonar does abstract landscapes, while Rahul Arya is into figurative painting in a big way.

I was admiring one of Sonar’s large landscapes rendered in shades of red, which caught my eye immediately. Having spent quite a while in front of the painting as well a slightly smaller one in shades of blue, I was asked if I wished to see some of the artist’s smaller works. I was keen to see more and found all his paintings most engaging. It seemed to me that they offered views of a distant horizon — we might say a desired location created in mellow colours, but in every painting nothing was distinct or could be recognised. About the artist’s work it has been written: “The world of thoughts in the ocean of consciousness melt just at the point of collapse where they are in transition to the next beginning.”

I then turned around to look at the one on the wall opposite: a large painting of a girl reading a newspaper. The whole effect was so lifelike that I had to move closer to see if the newspaper had been pasted on the canvas. It seemed almost impossible for anyone to have painted it so perfectly. But Rahul Arya is not an unknown name. He is now known for his amazing portraits and depictions of newspapers — open, folded or just lying around — each crease and lettering perfect.

Arya’s portraits are also unique as he paints them more than four times larger or even bigger than life size. What is important also is that he does not paint from photographs. The entire process is executed with the model sitting in front of him… just the way portraits were known to have been done since time immemorial.

He is known for creating portraits with expressions that reflect moods and situations, his portrait of a singer is a fine example of this. Arya, whom I had the pleasure of meeting mentioned that at one of his exhibitions, a lady tried to straighten the crumpled newspaper that he had painted — he said it had made him feel more determined to work towards reaching perfection in his art.

Born in 1971, Arya was trained at the Delhi College of Art and in the words of a senior art critic, “….. is not an artist to take the easy way out. Every step of his development is measured and determined… choice of his colours and the sombre aspect of his compositions”. Arya’s work was featured in the art exhibition by seven prominent art galleries of India, including Gallerie Alternatives.

(The writer is an author and

a former art gallery owner)

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