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The figurative idiom

Artist D.L.N. Reddy's `body language' challenges conventions and lends his watercolours a sense of lightness


D.L.N. REDDY has been a well-known name in the field of art for the past few decades. His works in different media created over the past 20 years are on show at the Lakshana Art Gallery (38, Maharaja Surya Rao Road, near Venus Colony, Alwarpet) till August 22, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The exhibition gives a glimpse of the artist's style and technique; the styles are as varied as the media he has explored. But he obviously prefers the figurative idiom, perhaps a throw-back to his days in Baroda.


Reddy's paintings and graphics of human faces, which are many, have a `sculpturesque' quality and a sense of solidity. The expression on the female faces in gouache — most of them are in grey — seems to be one of confrontation and challenge. The nude figures of women, also in the same medium and tone, are highly stylised and with a bent towards cubism. Their body language also seems to challenge conventions. On the other hand, his few watercolours have a feeling of lightness about them.

Reddy's meticulous approach is seen in his etchings and pen and ink drawings. The three drawings are of still life — spread out newspapers and glass. Black ink on white, drawn with great care and attention to detail and extremely realistic; the simple everyday objects seem to have been depicted with care in contrast to his few glass paintings which appear to have been done in a hurry. But all these refer to different stages of evolution of the artist. His etchings also reveal his keen interest in the medium. One dark work of a man's head is an example of his dedication and involvement in this medium. The entire work is made up of countless tiny dots. Even the deepest shadow has been achieved with dots; among the darkness the highlight on the cheek manages to lend the necessary moulding to the face. Despite the darkness, the sharp look in the eyes is brought out effectively. How carefully the eyebrows and the two-day-old beard are worked out! These are tiny strokes in white and the white cloth of the turban too adds to the contrasting effect.

The two female heads, which are reddish brown, on the other hand, are moulded with myriad fine lines in various directions filling out the flesh and the bones; the hair knotted into buns too has been very carefully executed. It must have taken several hours of patient work to draw the faces. With a diploma in Painting from the Fine Arts College, Hyderabad and Graphic Arts from M.S. University, Baroda, Reddy has been teaching for several years now. He has won several scholarships, awards and prizes. Besides holding a number of solo shows, he has also taken part in a number of group exhibitions in India and abroad as also camps and workshops.

LAKSHMI VENKATRAMAN

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