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Hues of diversity

The Fourth All-India Artists Show, which is on at Vinyasa Art Gallery till March 23, showcases the works of senior and junior artists from various States. A review.


THE FOURTH All India Artists Show which is on at Vinyasa Art Gallery till March 23 is a mixed bag with a combination of senior and junior artists and of figurative and abstracts. The works exhibited are both paintings and sculpture and the artists in question are residents of various States — Bengal, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Delhi.The participating artists are Amitabh Sengupta, Annu Naik, Basawaraj Bilagundi, P. Gopinath, Gopal Adiverkar, S. Kanniappan, J.S. Munnolli, Rini Dhumal, M.X. Susairaj, Srinivas Reddy, Sudip Roy, Uma Adiverkar and A. Viswam.

Within the narrow confines of the gallery space, the range of images, forms, shapes and colours, leaves the viewer unsettled. The selection of works requires better arbitration, as many do not qualify for exhibition while those of senior artists could have been better. The lack of an underlying commonality makes the display incohesive in its visual appeal. Nevertheless the space is redeemed by the presence of stalwarts such as Amitabh, Gopinath, Rini, and Susairaj.

The sculptures of Srinivas, besides acknowledging the impact of the powerful and overwhelming imagery of his co-compatriot Ravinder Reddy, also imbibes the monumental energies of Egyptian art. His large heads (22" to 36" in height), fashioned out of fibreglass, mark his transition from terracotta and ceramics to this industrial material. According to Srinivas these overblown heads with their surfaces painstakingly detailed `approximate the configuration of hills surrounding his native village'. While Kanniapan's weak imagery of nature in terms of plants, birds and insects appear anaemic and naïve, the small format abstracts of Gopinath rise head and shoulders over those of Viswam. The latter's canvases project a hasty appropriation of wishy-washy diluted tones and characterless brush strokes. The structured composition of Gopinath has his ubiquitous warm hues and tones of red juxtaposed with ornamental details. The artist brings to his canvases a happy blend of eastern mysticism and material rationality. This is to imply that his compositions are structured having a horizon line dividing his surface into planes and through it he builds up his organic geometricity painstakingly, with calculated and meditative colours and brushstrokes. Undeniably a leading abstractionist, whose experiences internalised over years of working in the language of abstraction, strategically makes for works that allows for an intellectualisation of his deeply thought out concepts negotiated through a gamut of forms and shapes as well as numbers and script.

The figurative imagery of Amitabh, Rini, Susairaj, Annu and Adiverkar is equally evocative, ornamental, powerful, meditative and lyrical. These works traverse a range in which Amitabh's evocative imagery from his `Image Series' appears ominous with its sombre dark tones and speaking shadows.


Rini's `Ancestor's Tapestry' underlines her personalised formulation of the face imparting a strong primitive character and simultaneously energising the surface of oil board with decorative ornaments.

Susairaj's powerful and distorted figuration juxtaposed with textured background obtained with a technique of blotching paint conjures up images of struggle, wherein the dominant animal form, stressed with red horns, battles with human figures. In a play of contorted images the subject is ominous of impending disaster, which is battle, with the animal serving as a metaphor.

In opposition to restless and tense energies manifesting Susairaj's works, Annu Naik's figurative compositions are a paean to contemplative and serene prose. Her `Magic Note' and `Light of Knowledge' are bathed in a warm ambience of yellow and red. Says Annu, "I find it extremely interesting using the human figure as my visual vocabulary, in which gestures, moods and movements of the figures becomes my language."

If colours are the centrality dominating the creative negotiation of the above-mentioned artists, Adiverkar's rustic composition with linear emphasis has freshness and spontaneity rendered in acrylics on paper. The poetic forms, both human and animal, are infused with sentimentality and romanticism evocative of Sailoz Mukherjee's impressionistic works.

Sudip Roy's sun drenched watercolours of architecture in which the light playing upon the surface of a ruined façade and a spiral staircase with purple shadows is characteristic of academic realism of colonial established art institutions. Exhibiting qualities of picturesqueness they seemingly are quaint and romantic.

Munnolli's animals offer a display of verisimilitude in the artist's rendering of them as idealised portraits. Uma Adiverkar's abstracts evolved in terms of collage have a decorative appeal.

The efforts of bringing together artists from different states have to be lauded. Nevertheless, it must be stressed that it requires an aesthetic vision and an intuitive feel to put together art works that would be a healthy mix of variety. Signatures are not enough; it is imperative that the artist too should shoulder the responsibility for exhibition of quality works.

ASHRAFI S. BHAGAT

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