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Varied hues of nature

Ganesha Shastri's works celebrate the natural.


Natrure: Bright and colourful.

EARTHSCAPES. ALMOST eternal, clinging now to the constant, now to change, some of Nature's mysteries lie in its colours, some in form. K.G. Ganesha Shastri says that he has portrayed Nature in conversation with it in his paintings. His work is about capturing long glimpses of earthscapes on special hand-made paper with uneven edges that add to the idea of mixed boundaries. Everything that springs from the earth has a certain voice that communicates with the rest of its kind. It is this chatter that the artist has intended to capture. Sometimes it is a murmur, dark and brooding, sometimes quiet and peaceful, and sometimes stormy.

There is grass in his paintings. While most bend with the wind, there are those that don't, depicting their adamant nature. There are tree stumps that look alive, leaves in showers, and everything is captured in its raw form. One senses the absence of all that is urban. The numerous works titled "Nature" do not have any signs of human life - homes, roads, phone-poles, or street-lamps. None of these complicate the picture in focus. And what is in focus is not a landscape, the artist stresses.

As one looks at the paintings, one feels that all the perspective is in the perception of parts - parts of earth, half-trunks of trees, portions of foliage - depicted not as fragments but slices of a whole. In the five works titled "Shantiniketan" there are small hints of civilisation. For instance, when most "Nature" paintings are depicted with browns, these works have some yellows, the yellows of crop and harvest, of the suns of summer. There is the green of saplings, and the red flower. We can see a tree in its entirety after having been served walls of split forms. There is also a little geometry in these as against the temperamental in the "Nature" series.

One can make out the difference between mud, earth, and soil in the various exhibits. It can be noticed that white is not used as a colour that brings light, but is used to add form to the existing darkness of the figures. The themes of renewal and steadfastness can be seen throughout his work. Ganesha Shastri says he made all the paintings more or less simultaneously. There was no finishing one work completely and then moving on to the other. In this sense, we can see that there is a continuity in the paintings - that they don't all look extremely different. They deal with the same thing - black grass, leaves in the wind, stumps in water, ghostly white tree, half-trunks plus leaves, each of these with the wind, without the wind in stillness, flowers bending or reaching out - there is obviously a coming together, but without pattern.

The chaos within the change is what one can see in these paintings. The missing part is all that is cyclic, all that is in pattern, in order. Could we, as other creatures do, tread softly on this earth while we watch it and stand on its spin?

NETRA SHYAM

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