Holy cow and other animals
Oct 01 2013 , New Delhi
Bovine beauties and vivid rarities by artists from south India spice up the capital’s art scene
You step in to see the pristine white walls come alive with explosions of colour on canvas. Six dynamic artists from the southern states are presenting art that is vivid, impulsive and spontaneous in an exhibition titled, “Of Masters and Heroes.” The “masters” being C Dakshinamoorthy, Pon Ragunathan and P Perumal, while A Viswam, N Manoharan and P Gnana form an exceptional trio of “heroes”.
This is not just another show, mind you. Yes, there are paintings on display all around, but here you also get to see the artists at work, giving shape to a blank canvas right in front of your eyes. The artist first creates calmer corners by applying the paint in a slow, sedate fashion, only to later flay the base with quick hyperactive strokes to create central cuts. He squeezes the colour tube directly onto the surface, and lashes it rapidly with his brush, mixing in hue after hue, to create new shades and new imagery. It may seem random to you, but every stroke is made with careful consideration, and of course, deftness that comes from practice.
You also get to see a perfect blend of the contemporary and conventional worlds here. So, on the one hand you see Gnana’s experimental work on cows in industrial materials that makes you stop and think about the complex world we live in and the balance between nature and development. On the other hand, you soak in Perumal’s evocative harvest scenes, Manoharan's poignant portrayal of the curious goat; Dakshinamoorthy’s depiction of women in many moods; Ragunathan’s renditions of everyday rural life and Viswam's pulsating, vivacious abstracts.
“I never plan anything beforehand. Its always a flow of emotion that I capture on canvas,” said Viswam. On why most of his paintings were untitled, he remarked: “I wanted the viewers to decide for themselves. A painting can be interpreted in various ways and I want the viewer to anaylse and see where they can fit a particular painting into their life.” Viswam’s work reflects the artist’s stream of consciousness rather than a map with a beginning, middle and end; it exists as a gathering of the diverse, eternal elements that make the title of the exhibition come alive.
Diverse elements are also the forte of the Singapore-based Gnana, one of that country’s most celebrated artists, whose aesthetic affair with cow-imagery has earned him huge recognition. “Experimenting can be more fruitful when it is done with a concept in mind. My art combines both modern and traditional elements and explains to the viewer without the need of any stereotypical symbols,” he said.
On display at the Art Spice gallery of the Metropolitan Hotel in the capital, the exhibition will continue up until October 31.