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Same theme, different strokes

`Cityscapes', an exhibition of paintings, is diversely single in theme with the exhibits in varied media being individually expressive. The show is on till April 2.

"CITYSCAPES" IS an exhibition of paintings by a group of artists whose inspiration has been derived from the city streets and side roads, people and architecture. The artists Jaspal Singh, Anjani Reddy, Ritendra Roy, P.R.Sathish, Milind Mullick, Somnath Maity, Preeti Tamot and Venkateshwaralu Jagati are from different parts of India each bringing to the exhibition individual styles and personal experiences of the urban environment.

Jaspal Singh's watercolours are almost expressionist in the use of colour with the brilliant hues reminiscent of India's festively coloured streets. The dark clouds almost bursting with rain combined with the warm dust on the ground convey the sense of an impending tropical downpour. The blurred edges of the colours laid wet-on-wet create an intensity that unites the entire painting.

The precise rectilinear and geometrical forms of Ritendra Roy's paintings are diffused by customary details of a gate or a staircase and railings. The presence of a familiar element such as a cat on the prowl in a residential neighbourhood adds the factor of time within the created space. Hidden dimensions and the superimposed layers of architecture entice the viewer to analyse the play of lines in terms of space.

In the work of Anjani Reddy, many motifs speak together to connote the hustle and blur of city life. There is strength in repetitive detail with the motifs playing a dominant role. In contrast, P.R. Sathish sees his environment in simple bold shapes of muted colours. The forms are solid, static calm and serene, virtually of another world. Milind Mullick's exceptional watercolours seem to capture transient moments of light and street life. The characteristically bright tropical sunshine picking out details and diffusing into shadows epitomises the quietness experienced in Indian cities during the afternoon hours when life changes pace from the bustle to the benign. The artist has captured both the brightness and the quietness of an afternoon in the residential areas of India's metros with the effect of the stark sunshine being suggestive yet real.

Another aspect of the city is evident in Somnath Maity's oil paintings where foreboding dark, sombre colours are highlighted by brighter strokes. Evocative of the ominous side of city life the artist lays further emphasis by using bold, strong lines. Lines dissolve in the mixed media works of Preeti Tamot where an element of design takes centrestage until the viewer sees the landscape emerge from within. The squiggles, dots and lines produce interesting effects of architectural ruins that are partially concealed.

Venkateshwaralu Jagati's abstract works using acrylics are a play of rectangular shapes alluding to buildings. The solid architectural forms are liquefied and dissolved with few vestiges remaining. The colours recede and emerge within these dissipating shapes creating depth.

`Cityscapes' is diversely single in theme with the paintings in varied media being individually expressive. They are different expressions of a familiar subject, each approach unique and inimitable providing a new look at the everyday environment we live in. The exhibition is on at the Apparao Galleries till April 2.

Swapna Sathish

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