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Haunting images

The `She Series'by artist G. Subramanian is a tribute to the memory of his daughter. On show at the Vinyasa


THE `SHE Series' of paintings by G. Subramanian comes as a tribute to the memory of his daughter who died at the age of nine due to cancer eight years ago. Her memory and how she used to befriend a yellow bird sitting at a window in their Jeddah home has been haunting him.

In the several paintings on show at the Vinyasa Art Gallery, young girls in the age group 9 - 17 look at the viewer from the canvas with their huge eyes — if one seems to smile at you, another gives a warm look of friendship, yet another expresses wonder as she observes the beauty of Nature around her, while yet another appears playfully angry or contemplative or immersed in appreciating her own beauty. As one enters the gallery, one feels a sense of joy as one would when surrounded by happy children.

The eyes are the most dominating feature of the girls whether the face is in full view or in profile. Though highly stylised, Subramanian infuses life in the female forms. Earlier Subramanian would paint using just two colours — a light cream background and line drawings in brown ink and a few lines in Tamil around the figures — a few such works are also on view. But in the `She Series', where children and adolescent girls are depicted, he has used vibrant hues for the clothes and jewellery. While thinking of his daughter, he cannot but remember her friend, the little yellow bird. The bird in varied hues is a repetitive element in the acrylic works. The female form is often surrounded by creepers and flowers, some real and some imaginary. But they all go to make pleasant and cheerful imageries. Subramanian depends heavily on the line to create his scenes; there is hardly any light and shade, the moulding of the forms achieved purely through lines, revealing his strength in drawing. The only trace of shadow comes from the mild spreading of the ink like fine hair beside the lines. The colours too are mild and pleasing.

A former student of the College of Arts & Crafts, Kumbakonam, Subramanian has received several prizes and awards. Before settling down in Bangalore recently, he lived and worked in Jeddah. The exhibition is on till September 20, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

LAKSHMI VENKATRAMAN

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