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Playing with space, images

Manohar and Mallesh use the canvas to convey the spirit of life



`Untitled' Acrylic on canvas, G. Mallesham, `Untitled' Acrylic on mount board, Ch Manohar

GURRAM MALLESHAM and Chiluveru Manohar are a popular duo on the Hyderabad art scene. Graduates of the Fine Arts College, JNTU, and postgraduates from the University of Hyderabad, both have made their presence felt by their regular practice, different personalities, their work and friendship.

As a keen experimentalist, Manohar made forays into various media and delved into experimenting with sculpture, printmaking and painting, often combining all the three to identify with his restless attitude and the ever-shifting peripheries of life. With the present show, Manohar arrives as a `pure painter'. Though the untitled works in oils and acrylic have no visible bearing of an external medium, Manohar's attitude of a trained sculptor (B.F.A.) and printmaking (M.F.A.) oscillates between the circular, triangular and regular boundaries of his canvas.

Manohar's conceptual imagery stems from the various shifting ideologies of everyday life and lifestyle. Unsettling as these shifts are - uncontrollable and crossing over to being unrealistic, Manohar synthesises these thoughts, juxtaposing a few nostalgic elements, predominant landscape, dreams and realistic human figures in an interesting manner, lending a peculiar metaphysical ambience of dark unfathomable dreams and existing solid reality.

Contrary to his conventional sculptor's mindset of working on an idea and trying hard to realise it, now Manohar says, "as a painter concentrating only on canvas with paints, I find the medium more exciting and spontaneous, I am able to enjoy the freedom to erase, change and rebuild, and take advantage of every moment and condition every changing idea."


More reticent is Mallesham who is seemingly determined to create a brooding rostrum of sublime emotions. Says Mallesh, "I have never been interested in concepts and different images. My major preoccupation always has been with the human form in a very simple manner. My work is a play with images, space, colour textures, postures and movement. I have been clearing my doubts and confusions over the time through the practice of this play."

The acrylic works on canvas show definite maturity concerning the restructuring of space and resuscitating the human form. Photographs of the aftermath of the famous `Sammakka - Sarakka Jatara' at Warangal where the landscape was strewn with awesome colours of turmeric, kumkum, coconuts and jaggery helped him understand space better. His minimalist attitude on the conceptual terrain lends the audience the convenience to penetrate into the frustrations and passion of the artists who grapples with inappropriate burdens of responsibility saddled on his young shoulders.

Though not very ambitious in terms of portrayal and conceptual depiction, Mallesh has consistently developed a language that speaks much of his consummate thinking and working. Friends for over 13 years, Mallesh and Manohar have worked together since their graduation days, participated in several exhibitions and camps and won many awards.

They have cherished a dream of being artists as children, nourished the dream and today, despite easier avenues for better living, they enjoy the hardships of freelance painters who belong to that set of people who define the spirit of living.

B. PADMA REDDY

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