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A mixed palette

An art exhibition is under way at the Contemporary Art Gallery. SUNANDA KHANNA critically appreciates the exhibits.

MANOJ VYLOOR is a romantic at heart who mixes dream imageries with realistic scenes in order to create a poetic coherence in all his artwork. He prepares his compositions well before the brushstrokes hit the canvas. `Dance of Twilight' is a brightly coloured picture, which has its inspiration in Cubbon Park, Bangalore. Here Vyloor takes references from common pictures that he sees around. Twilight is not the lady floating in the air but an idea of displaying complete freedom.

His other canvas of an acrobat cycling in the air is a metaphor for life. The large bubbles float in the air with relative ease but the acrobat slips and falls as gravity of life pulls him down.

These are among the 92 paintings mounted for display at the Durbar Hall Art Centre. The exhibition has been organised by the Lalithakala Akademi, now in it's 40th year of existence. High on the Akademi's annual calendar is an invitation that goes out to the State's artists to display their works at the Centre.

This is part of its venture to ensure that art does not remain closeted in the homes of a privileged few but is displayed for a larger audience. A judicial body of the Akademi also gives away honours and awards to those artists whose works have been selected.

Seven oil paintings by V.S. Valiathan greet the visitor at the entrance. This established artist of Kerala has strong leanings to theatrical compositions such as The Battle of Kurukshetra and his own rendition of The Last Supper. He has given shape to figures from ancient myths and folklore such Vishwamitra and Menaka showing their natural emotions.

Valiathan paints in the classical style getting his inspiration from Ravi Varma. His colours are muted and show natural overtones. While these are some of the artist's older works, done in the 80s, he is the first recipient of Lalithakala Puruskaram.

Deepthi.P.Vasu draws her inspiration from women, their isolation and personal longings for a friend or comfort emanating from any source. "Don't mistake her for some activist," warns her husband. Using a bright palette, she works spontaneously building her images and compositions as she goes on. The result is a highly symbolic work where images such as peacocks and the reflection of the moon, galore. Having lived in Gujarat for a number of years she has been inspired by Indian miniatures.

Women form the mainstay of yet another artist, Saju Mannathur whose work, Mirror Image is a picture of a girl's reflection, portions of which seem to merge with the frame.

The tree in the background is a symbol of growth, the artist's hope for the girl's future. Basically a figurative artist, Mannathur looks towards rural life for motivation.

That art cannot be far removed from the political happenings around is evident from K.P. Pradeepkumar's canvas Map indicated with wreckage, which shows the India-Pakistan divide.

Grim are the works of C. Bhagyanathan entitled In Memory of an Aborted Day and Conspiracy.

Also on display are 13 pieces of sculpture. The exhibition is on till August 5.

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