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Mixed media, single focus

Be it painting, ink wash or metal reliefs, Senathipathi is at his emotional and expressive best


THE CANVASES are vibrant with kaleidoscopic colours and intricately woven linearity. The forms and details are worked through meticulously, revealing the angst of the social reality that is all too pervasive in the globalised context. The artist through fractured imagery is self-reflective, inscribing his forms with tortured and anxious ridden emotions and sentiments.

Placing himself within the social and cultural matrix, the artist, Mannikam Senathipathi takes the viewer on a journey experienced through his deeply felt sensitivity.

Senathipathi, whose background places him in the thick of tradition, has explored effectively the social reality of human consciousness through myths to mediate varied emotions as love, anxiety, tensions, alienation, insecurity — a collective phenomenon in any society. And these concepts have remained central in his works. Some of these emotions find expression in works as, "Friends", "Mother and Daughter" and "Woman with Bird".

Senathipathi gleaned out a skein of tradition when he required tools through which he could mediate and communicate. And he awakened to the mammoth value of engaging the line — a ubiquitous phenomenon of Indian art tradition — in recreating and delineating his form and revealing the content.

It needs to be stressed that the fluid and vital strokes precipitating as blots and smudges configuring the artist's compositions are also cathartic.

Senathipathi's sharp sensitivity has responded to varied social realities and this is disseminated via his technical expressions. The powerful linearity and the expressionistic distortions that his strokes achieve seek to focus on elements of corruption, dehumanisation and the accompanying insecurity that is so pervasive. And the artist continues to vacillate between these ink washes and mixed media that he creates with easy facility.

The versatility of Senathipathi comes to the fore in his restless exploration of various mediums, which in this instance is working with metal. It becomes a natural extension of his painting and drawings when he mediates with this material. The metal works created by him employ the same subject matter but they are worked through with felicity of technique resulting in appearances that are predominantly ornamental. With jeweller-like precision, Senathipathi has evolved textures that are visual delights.

The decorative linearity is enhanced and reinforced with black oxide that remains in the crevices and gentle undulations to create the illusion of mass. Enhancing his metal repousses are the forms derived from folk traditions and kolam patterns. Through transformations according to his personalised needs, Senathipathi marks a posture of difference in his works be it a painting, ink wash or metal repousse.

The show is on till February 29.

ASHRAFI S. BHAGAT

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