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DEEPTHI P. Vasu's exhibition opened this week, bringing into view canvases rich with myth, coated with symbolism.

In a series labelled `Maze,' which also lends itself as the title of the ongoing display at Kashi Art Café, her continuing attention to women and their interests comes to the fore. This section is worthy of note as the paintings are structured along a wide angled camera lens, with the artist enlarging the focal point of her composition.

The foreground of Maze/The Grab is dominated by a mythical turtle who loans his back to three, (or is it four?) midget-sized elephants, which in turn are caving in under the pressure of holding up a cheerful, light footed young girl. In sharp contrast to this concept, rooted in Hindu mythology where the entire universe rests on the back of the humble turtle, are the high-rise buildings emblematic of western models of crass capitalism. To signify their separateness, the entire drama of creation is enacted in black and white, even as the rest is awash with muted colours. Grabby hands dominate the composition underscoring Deepthi's anxieties vis-a-vis globalisation and its trends. Deepthi, a Kochi-based artist, has exhibited off and on in city galleries. Her current exhibition shows a new capacity for refinement in her drawing and a harmonised colour palette. Her palette is both conventional and tempered. She is able to establish an illusion of depth in all her works while retaining a lightness of form. Soft, pastel colours float and ripple adding to the weightlessness; a band of strident blue, which encases the middle ground, shatters the sombre effect. This ribbon of bright blue is seen in a number of her works.

If there is a sense of bulk and mass it emanates from the hands, or the outstretched arms in Maze/ Illumination, or the humongous foot in Maze/The Race. In Illumination, a young girl reaches out to touch the clouds as the scene shot from the sky reels off images of rooftops, where a clean laundry is hung out to dry.

Portions of an earlier display are evident; three women trapped in the neck of an urn are reminiscent of a picture displayed during the annual exhibition of the Lalithakala Akademi last year. Deepthi draws her inspiration from women, their isolation and personal longings for a friend or comfort emanating from any source. Her works are highly symbolic where images galore. She works spontaneously, building her compositions as she goes on.

Deepthi's works are on display till February 23.

SUNANDA KHANNA

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