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Divine theme, sensitive interpretations

`Gods, Goddesses and Birds', an exhibition of works by Asma Menon and Premalatha Seshadri at the Lakshana Art Gallery evokes an interesting imagery.


Discipline is the key in Premalatha Seshadri's works.

GODS, GODDESSES and Birds, an exhibition of paintings, drawings and prints by Asma Menon and Premalatha Seshadri on at Lakshana Art Gallery, invites the special interest of the spectator. Even before viewing the show mythic images conjure before the eye. Who are the `Gods and Goddesses'? An apprehension glides into a sceptical mind. Are they an eruption from some familiar pantheons? Or is it a visitation from the primordial psyche seeking appeasement of secret desires? A dramatic tension is already created.

The eye of the spectator is gradually readied to absorb the visual tension composed by the text of the title. Nevertheless, the element of `Birds' seems to play the role of a relief which has a natural reassurance of environmental intimacy. The artistic partnership of Menon and Seshadri may be a conceptual binder but both pursue individual convictions to arrive at their creative junctures.

While Asma Menon adopts the method of complete abandon to dictate her aesthetic terms, Premalatha Seshadri employs a balance of skill and technique. While she applies media with a restraint, her counterpart, Menon, revels in mixed media. However, the two intelligently create classic and temperamental images of myth from reality. The linear trail of Menon is an interesting picturescape where she fills her spaces with madness of her nib. Oscillating between the illustrative mode of narrative work, she, in fact, reverts to a very primitive style of the aboriginal art.

Guided by contemporary consciousness, her drawings appear engraving like, wherein she finds an outlet to express her personal mythical environment and desires. Gradually, she enhances her pleasure by the use of colour and mixed media application. Especially, goddess Lakshmi, which is adorned with pearls and beads appear amazing. The decoration in fact, transforms into an adoration which seems to evoke the goddesses. Picture making is certainly not her ambition. Instead, her obsession with the line seems to find an outlet in its indulgence. Although, her images of Hindu gods and goddesses are fantastically contemporarised in vibrant colours, the other works such as Aeons, Isis, Oiras and Gollywog arrests the attention of the viewer who is lost in the maze of her lines.


Modern images of a goddess, Asma Menon.

On the other hand, Premalatha Seshadri is quite organised. Her etchings, especially, relate her disciplined methodology. Even while she drafts out the essential in her work it appears to be an origin of her minimal temperament. There could be a surgical process which discards the obvious to arrive at the essential.

For instance, her paintings Water: Black,Yellow and White is a simplification of a physical, but also an abstract, element. There could be a chemical composition of water but the artist has endorsed its symbolic presence which is consciously or unconsciously applied in the visual arts. In fact, by her repetitive style she takes it to the levels of animation. As though a dancer's hand is frequented upon her space to evoke the presence of water.

Seshadri's love for the minimal is quite obvious even in her illustrative drawings of Anantha Sayana, or the Nandi or the Ganesha which actually explains the process of her painting as well.


Obsession with line, Asma Menon.

For example, the Garuda in mixed media or the Birds of Cauvery are not attempted to be realistic but the essential is worked out to relate a personal experience of the artist. Consequently, the styles of the two artists and process are distinct but thematically the show has a definite character. An ideal display to move from one compartment to another but with abiding sincerity.

The exhibition is on till July 31, between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m.

ATIYA AMJAD

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