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Angst through art

Materialism robs life of the human dimension. Blodsow's paintings convey this philosophy forcefully


THE SMALL anteroom at Alliance Francaise where the Kerala-born artist Blodsow is showing his huge works can hardly be considered an exhibition area. The paintings are not on traditional canvas, but ordinary gaada material mounted on jute with simple bamboo frames. The plebeian and seedy material speaks eloquently of the artist's philosophy that is full of disdain for the material aspirations of life. In the true tradition of the Existentialists of the 1940s, Blodsow approaches his support with materials to create not a picture but rather act upon it, mediating through it to convey his angst, tension and anxieties in the hope of creating better societies that would not be beneficial to any one individual but to everybody.

The works in many respects echo the fragility of existence aspired to in the canvases of C. Douglas, a senior artist at Cholamandal where Blodsow also resides. He does not negate the influence of this `great artist' as Blodsow refers to him or of K. Ramanujam. His intense passion to make his art serve as a carrier of social message disallows the use of paints, which are neither oils nor acrylics but rather water-soluble pigments. Blodsow has used these with charcoal sticks to create large meaningful works. There is no brushwork and the artist makes use of his fingers, except in certain background areas.

Blodsow has used the medium of painting as a catharsis not only for his intense emotional outpourings, but also through a process of stitching the material on jute and other patch works, which appear at random in many of his canvases, he is mending the wounds that society has inflicted. Stitching, pouring, rubbing sand and pigments, the wide gestural strokes of his arm... Blodsow seemingly is living tormented and torturous moments by emoting through them.

The imagery is dark and depressing, but has power to carry his social image. Blodsow is commenting on the money making mantra, which has dehumanised a noble profession like medicine, wherein he has depicted a huge womb to comment upon the Caesarean section used by medical practitioners to demand exorbitant fees. The artist is pained to see innocent life deprived of the natural process of birth but which through artificial means experiences agony and trauma of entry into the world.

The deep and obsessive disposition of the artist, who has used the medium of painting to convey a social message, marks him as radically different from the others in the city. His attitude is dictated by a philosophy that there should be change, development and growth in all spheres of life. And his large canvases dynamically and forcefully breathe this message. There are no subtleties, but subtexts to convey the reality of alienation that is becoming integral to life in pursuit of materialism that remains an illusive dream chased by every individual, while simultaneously injecting the possible loss of human dimension to every facet of life.

The show is on at Alliance Francaise till July 3.

ASHRAFI S. BHAGAT

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