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Acquirable art

The exhibition, on at Apparao Galleries, features works of promising youngsters at realistic prices


ART COLLECTING today has reached middle class aspirants, having become accessible due to insistent and assiduous market forces. And this situation attracts analogy to diamond jewellery, which at one time was categorised as elitist and is today commonplace adorning women of every class and stature. This was made possible due to a similar rise of the educated middle class, targeted as ideal clientele.

A trend of this nature has also emerged in the `art collecting' arena, once a bastion of the rich and the famous extended to corporate and industrial houses. And working towards this concept, the Apparao Galleries is holding an exhibition titled "ABC of New Contemporary Art". Sharan Apparao with this young talent show is moving towards dismantling certain myths associated with her gallery and simultaneously demystifying attitudes towards collection of art works.

Says Sharan: "Such shows have been held in Mumbai and Delhi to promote young artists and widen the base to bring in more art collectors, with the aim of making art buying an investment." And unquestionably, she has called it The ABC of art, the acronym for the `acquirable, buyable, collectible' of new contemporary art.

Beginning a venture of this nature in Delhi, where she was approached by young artists trying to find a foothold in the art market, Sharan instead of doing a `typical' affordable art show, decided to select young talents whose works display creative potential and promise and yet remain within the reach of aspiring collectors who are looking to enter the art collecting arena without getting hassled by sky-rocketing prices. This market-driven concept nevertheless with acuity targets the educated middle class with realistic prices. And hence a collection put together in Chennai `at the price of a five star meal or a designer shirt. All the works are priced between Rs. 1,000 and 5,000'.

The artists number 31 and are selected from across the length and breadth of the country. The names are too many to merit mention, but there is a display of creativity negotiated either through imagery, technique or/and material. A majority of the artists are figurative in their expressive idiom except Visvam who nevertheless belongs to the old guard. Avishek Sen's small format paintings are laced with humour and satire. The imagery is straightforward and this simplicity conveys the power in his frames. Benita Perciyal in her works displays promise. They appear layered with meaning and a distant hint of Ramanujam's imagery becomes obvious. Her structured drawing and compositions are her main asset. Bharty Jhaver with her salad of brush strokes is eminently expressionistic. Dinesh P.G. has translated his imagery not on a flat plane surface, rather on wooden cubes, dexterously working his acrobatic forms to convey an idea of insistent movement, making it magical as one turns it around with surprising shapes and imagery leaping forth.

Working on photographic paper, Elongavan has created very small pieces, that have a charm all their own. J.M.S. Mani's imagery is recognisable and has become part of his signatorial style. Sailesh's four canvas as a series makes an impact with distorted perspectives of the village well and woman and has a stencil-like painted imagery of the cattle in the background.

Narendra Nath's two charcoal portrait sketches of Iyer and Iyengar are pregnant with subtly nuanced humour, K. Siva's mixed media still life objects, Manil's miniature format works, Ravi K., Ravi Krishnan, Rohini Mani, Rajarajan, Nitasha Jainee and Mangirish Rajaday are some of the talents worth investing in. A majority of the works on display have a commonality of creative aesthetics and diversity of visual repertoire.

The exhibition is on at Apparao Galleries till January 28.

ASHRAFI S. BHAGAT

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