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A mature spectrum

V. B. VENU has been around in the art circuit for close to two decades. He is one among those who chose to stick around in their home state, despite the not-so-friendly art scene here. Those who crossed the State boundaries have nearly all been greatly compensated by the art market elsewhere and the fact that artists are made much of in bigger metros is professionally very satisfying.

But now, he's going places. Not he, literally, but his paintings. They are to be shown in London, at the Bharathiya Vidya Bhavan there. From September 27 to October 10.

From October 27 to 31, they are to be displayed at the Vinyasa art gallery, Chennai and from November 2 to 9, his exhibition will be held at Lakshana Art Gallery, Bangalore.

Venu has been featured in most of the seasonal art shows in the State, right from 1985. His works have been bought by collectors in UK, Spain, Italy, Denmark, France and the US, apart from those in India.

What you see at first is a splash of vibrant colours. The primordial aura of Venu's paintings cries for your attention and that's when you see through the colours, the clear intent and the sure lines. The modern (in style) juxtaposes with the traditional in content in several frames.

Watch his nudes. They are different. They don't titillate. They are sort of, matter of fact. Far from curvaceous, buxom or vulgar, as painters are wont to depict nudes, they hold serious discussions with deadpan faces. No come-hither looks for Venu's maidens.

Cow-crazy, one might be tempted to call him, if you call M. F. Husain horse crazy, that is. Cows occupy quite a lot of space on his canvases. They roam all over, sometimes between humans. These animals take on the form of bronze sculptures in some works.

The under ten per cent surrealism that pervades his canvases is almost negligible. Colours bring on that surrealism more than forms. A trace of the tantric here and there, meticulous depiction of details plus the power of expressions even in inanimate forms make Venu's style worth watching out.

The exposure, long due, can easily catapult him to the other bracket.

PREMA MANMADHAN

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