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We need our voices, prejudices

NETRA SHYAMNETRA SHYAM

The ongoing art mela at Lakshna Art Gallery leaves one reassured that individual expression will survive against all odds in this age of speeding technological advances that condense all types of expression to more or less some degree of uniformity.The show brings together the works of over 60 artists from various parts of South India.

Art tries to propose an alternative world.

Berger

APART FROM the worlds that the canvases confess to, they seem more to show skilled hands that worked at them than hands that could blow your mind with the colours they mixed, made, blended, stroked, spread, slurred, brushed, dripped, finished. A Rothko is what I had in mind. There, colour IS the painting.

One needs to look at a painting in the direction from which it has come if one has to receive it, in any sense. There can be many ways in which that can be done. The easiest is to know what the artist herself/himself has to say about the work. Subash Kammar's "Perspective" is a culmination of a lot of research of histories and arts — it is a product of an enormous amount of information seen through various lenses of the imagination. Sangamesh Rajeshwar says that through his work, he wishes to convey that sense of purity one comes face to face with while working with a painting. Dimple B. Shah, whose artwork is mostly newish, combines performance, photography, and painting. She makes what is called multiplate photo etching which gives a piece of framed artwork a new look, putting together media and manual exercise. She says that various aspects of life including the search for meaning and spiritualism play a part in her work. Also, she writes onto her work, words that hold significance for her. She feels that in any piece of art, there is space for writing.

Rupa Mahesh says she paints nature because it fills her with a sense of wonder and beauty and never ceases to hold promise.

There are some canvases that have nature in various forms for their subject — cratered planet, changes that seasons bring... Nature always gives people back to themselves. A lot of people paint nature but to get close enough to that mauve in the evening sky or the colour of rain is to devote your entire life to colour and still not find what you are looking for.

One almost seems convinced, while looking at wall after wall of paintings, that each person is born into a different version of this world.

To mention impressions of a few of the exhibits: Mohan Sitnoor's huge wave forms — red, white, yellow, sharp peaks and shadow people; Srikanth Kurva's intriguing faces and animal figures; V.K. Dinesh Kumar's cryptic man — standing, a focus and an eye; complex angular filling in Basavaraj Jane's work; Rupa P.'s yellows and blacks in combination; Dodda Mani's granular pensive faces; Raman's fabric-feel paintings; copper-lined blue-and-green faces by M. Raja; Abdul Rahman's gripping blue mask and red sash, Razi Rozario's deep rectangulars. All these appear to be images picked out of contemporary personal myths.

There are others that use and display religious images of traditional faith like Ganesha, Krishna, and Radha, the young Krishna with his flute and others. But when art begins to grope, one has to remember that it is time to search. To find depends on how far and deep and wide your reach is. And Reach is always cultivated.

Taking off from what the cubist Georges Braque said of art, in most of the paintings here, there seems to be a slight striking of a middle path between disturbing and reassuring. One sees a variety spreadwise, but not depthwise. It is comforting to know that so much individual expression will survive against all the odds in this age of speeding technological advances that condense all types of expression to more or less some degree of uniformity. We need our voices. We need our prejudices. We need all those colours and structures that we know and are still to know and learn from. And yes too Picasso, art does wash away from the soul the dust from everyday life.

(The art mela at Lakshana is on until August 30, and the works on exhibit are by close to 60 artists from various parts of South India. You can call the gallery at 2207946.)

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