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FAST colours

Colour was a late entrant into Adimoolam's life. But once it arrived, there was no turning back



Adimoolam: striking in his rustic simplicity

THE SOLID doses of earthy colours and dashes of splashing, dancing, vibrant moods of Adimoolam's paintings bring to mind what Joseph Rael's said: "Colour is directly connected to a particular vibration that, when used properly, will connect the brain almost instantaneously to that which it seeks to know."

Even as a viewer rejoices the vitality of luminous colours in Adimoolam's works, s/he would be astonished to know that colour was a rather late entrant into his life. In fact, there was a conscious phase in the early part of his artistic career, when Adimoolam followed only the strong fringes of black and white lines: "Those days, I thought colour might destroy the strength of my lines."

Undoubtedly, his mastery in creating moving forms, surfaces, and mystical landscapes, using black ink washes on paper, are still valued. As is the series of 100 drawings he made on Gandhiji to mark the Mahatma's birth centenary. But once Adimoolam "discovered" the universe of colours, there was no turning back.

He belongs to that group of respected artists who would rather let their works do the talking. No wonder both connoisseurs and collectors eagerly lap up his vast output. With numerous group shows and solo exhibitions to his credit, Adimoolam's works are well known in India and beyond. The 65-year-old artist, who has been commissioned by many well-known corporate houses, has also been associated with Modern Tamil Writer's Group since the mid-Sixties and has done a number of illustrations, book covers, and layouts. A recipient of prestigious awards from Lalit Kala Academy (Chennai), Chitrakala Parishat (Bangalore), Bombay Art Society, Hyderabad Art Society, Academy of Fine Arts (Kolkata), besides the National Award from Lalit Kala Academy (New Delhi), Adimoolam has served as a jury member for the National Exhibition of Art, New Delhi, and Bombay Art Society's Annual All India Art Exhibition. He was the Commissioner for the Indian section in the Third Ankara Biennial at Turkey in 1990. The book, Between The Lines, carries his drawings done between 1962 and 1996.

Given his achievements and accomplishments, Adimoolam is striking in his rustic simplicity. He comes across as a mild mannered and warm person. Born into a family of agriculturists in a small village in Tamil Nadu, Adimoolam fondly remembers his childhood days — a time when watching a woodcarver bring to life a dead log brought him immense joy.

In his early school days, he was more keen on drawing figures on his own slate than what he was "taught". Later on, when he decided to pursue his interest in art at Madras College of Arts and Crafts, he was guided and inspired by mentors such as S. Dhanapal and A.P. Santanaraj.

Watching his canvases, one can discern the positive energy and credible process Adimoolam employs to create structurally pure compositions. The contrasting play of light and shade, speed and stillness, sober and exuberant, verve and tranquillity, silence and echoes, are forcefully brought out. The viewer also gets a glimpse of dazzling colours being harmoniously complemented by their softer counterparts — often in the same painting. If textured splashes dominate some works, others bear their tender equivalents. Similarly, colours and lines stand stretched to cover the lingering expanse on the canvas, while in others, they take the shape of a friendly jab here, a stroke there, and a barely discernible speck elsewhere. Irrespective of their shape and depth, each stroke, however rough and spontaneous it might appear to be, is self-controlled and contributes to the overall balance of the work. No wonder, then, that Adimoolam's paintings expand, explore, and delightfully endure the space with dignity, reflecting therein a delightfully inspired image. Inspired by both man and nature, the images mirror the joys and thrills of one's inner self.

(Adimoolam's recent paintings are on display at Crimson - The Art Resource, Safina Plaza, till December 13.)

ATHREYA

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