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Rich hues of Rajasthan

Yashwant Shirwadkar specialises in painting landscapes for his interest is in the architecture he depicts. His show, which is on till October 25 at the Vinyasa Art Gallery, focusses on the colourful locales of Rajathan.

YASHWANT SHIRWADKAR portrays varied representations of what is essentially a single subject, the colourful locales of Rajasthan, with special focus on Bundi, Kotah, Jaisalmer, Jaipur and Udaipur. An exhibition of paintings by the Mumbai based artist, his fiftieth one-man show, is on at the Vinyasa Art Gallery October 25. Rendered in an impressionistic manner, which is somewhat dictated by the artist's choice of tool, the palette knife, the fleeting strokes help define the grandiose architecture of the region. The provincial architecture suffuses his painting, providing strength of character and yet a romantic ambience of past faded glories. The famed Pink City of Jaipur exudes a dreamy quality with its characteristically coloured palaces and fortresses dominated by arches and crenulated gateways. The rose tinted stones seem to almost breathe in the hot and colourful bustle of life. He depicts not only the well-known edifices of the respective cities and towns but also provides a glimpse of the crowded bustling life that pervades them by locating his compositions within congested marketplaces, where the stalls are covered with stretched cloth awnings to protect the tradesmen from dazzling glare of the harsh desert sun. The strong lines of the buildings dominate the canvas while gently people are framed within the arches. The presence of men and women in these paintings is purely incidental for it is the architecture that is projected as the protagonist. People merely happen to inhabit a shared space.

Shirwadkar revels in the beauty of period style architecture and hence identifies such regions for his compositions. Initially making pencil drawings and water colour sketches on location he then works in the oil medium with palette knife to create his impressionistic landscape paintings.

Employing earthy colours such as yellow ochre, raw sienna, umber, oranges and reds the artist creates a mood of old world charm in the present day. The colours are dappled with sunlight and are evocative of the time of day and the season they represent. Each painting denotes a specific place at a specific time and is not a construed interpretation of that vista but almost a facsimile of the same.

Shirwadkar specialises in painting landscapes for his interest is in the architecture he depicts. Strong contrasts of desert colours play with the vivid tones of local costumes. The splashes of brilliant reds, oranges and yellows of the traditional turbans, bandhini and mirror-work cholis colour the atmosphere with a distinct vibrancy. Having painted and exhibited varied scenes of India's gloried architectural monuments such as at Benares and now Rajasthan, Shirwadkar proposes next to explore the beauty of Kerala's backwaters and his professed fascination for reflections.

SWAPNA SATHISH

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