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Myriad moods on canvas

SWAPNA SATHISHSWAPNA SATHISH

`Mindscapes', a collection of paintings by Prafulla Dahanukar, depicts the nuances of the artist's emotions, playing with the viewer's imagination. On display at Apparao Gallery, Nungambakkam, till April 14.


PRAFULLA DAHANUKAR'S exhibition of a series of paintings titled `Mindscapes' is worked in her signature style of flat, coloured ground, traipsed through with horizontal, textured bands. While previously she painted landscapes with forms, the images of trees and other elements of Nature were soon banished, with only the residual space left to linger.

She gradually moved on to `Mindscapes,' which she says are created from her own mind. "Each painting is a result of the concentration of my soul, of myself. Each painting is evocative of my mood at that time, each a reflection of my mind. One work has to be finished before I can work on another for each painting belongs to a particular emotion or meditation, and has to be completed at that moment."

Her style has changed over the years but these mindscapes seem to be her lifelong mood. "The spontaneity is intense, with the works being totally unplanned. Feeling is paramount. Once I finish with a painting I am detached from it, but until then there is tremendous involvement." Colours and textures create a feeling of depth and show the distance that can be traversed by space, albeit limited within the second dimension. Textures can take on immense meaning and Prafulla sees that as being very important. The colours vary from painting to painting, eternally affected by the pervasive space. The passion of intense red, taking on newer implications seems rather to exude serenity and peace.


She has tried experimenting with various media, having studied etching in Paris and silk-screen printing in Mumbai, but feels that the techniques involved do not complement her style for they are not spontaneous enough. The technicality of these processes do not allow for impetuosity. Layered paint, applied to the canvas with unevenly inked rollers, produces variances from the norm, creating a brief history of the artists' cadenced movements within a defined space.

While space is the principal motif, the horizontality in every canvas is equally hard to miss. In this context, the earth and the sky may be seen as limitations in view of the vertical axis, but in the horizontal plane there are no perceivable limitations, thus connoting endless space. "Space never ends within my picture frame. Whatever the size of my canvas, large or small, the space always extends beyond." Nuances of textures typify the subtle movement of the roller as it moves across the surface of the canvas, each move carefully mapped for perusal. Every viewer reads a painting differently, in terms of the personally unique cache of one's life experiences. The artist plays with the viewer's imagination, teasingly allowing one to read natural forms where none exist. To her, however, they exist as space, and only as space, no more, no less.

The paintings are on display at the Apparao Gallery, 7 Wallace Gardens, Third Street, Nungambakkam until April 14.

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