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Wednesday, Nov 26, 2003

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Reliving childhood


`COLOUR SCATTER' is an exhibition of paintings and drawings by B. Santhanam at Vinyasa Art Gallery. With his long hair let down, he appears a little forbidding. Santhanam is a soft-spoken young man keen to make a mark in the field. A product of the College of Arts and Crafts, Chennai, Santhanam was born and grew up in the rural areas near Udamalpet in Coimbatore District.

The streams, the hills and the fields where he roamed with other boys had made a deep impression on his mind and have come back to life in his paintings and drawings.

The village hutments in their simple surroundings have been drawn in small formats with a sepia tinted pencil or black ink. The watercolour landscapes reveal his grasp of the classical technique. Transparent washes and delicate brushwork attract attention. Mere broken bits of line drawn in an abstract manner indicate the trees and shrubs in some works.

More than the landscapes, the watercolour portraits prove his control over the medium as well as his keen observation of the subject. The paper has intentionally been damaged in one of the paintings; pasting it as it is on a mount, has lent a new interesting dimension.

Santhanam seems to like flowers; a number of oil and watercolour paintings depict bouquets; the oils are in an impasto technique painted with the knife. But a large painting of a landscape with a bush and red flowers in the foreground appears rather too bright and artificial in complete contrast to his delicate watercolours.

But the most remarkable work is the large ink drawing on the wall facing the entrance. In this Santhanam has delineated the mosque at Mecca through dots with no lines anywhere.

This young artist also does paintings for hotels and homes. His three-dimensional work of a train breaking through a wall at the Sangeetha restaurant has won him praise.

The show at the Vinyasa Art Gallery is on till November 30, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. (including Sunday).

LAKSHMI VENKATRAMAN

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