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Compelling canvases

`The World of M. X. Susairaj' is a retrospective of the artist's works over a lifetime



Eexpression, movement and style: Susairaj's stamp

LITERALLY ENCAPSULATING the works of a lifetime into pictorial expression is the exhibition titled `The World of M. X. Susairaj.'

Upon graduating from the Government College of Arts and Crafts, Chennai, in 1966, Susairaj was part of the commencement of the Cholamandal experiment, but three years later, he opted out because of familial pressures.

During the next 30 years that followed, Susairaj exhibited his work very occasionally, working as a micro photographer and as an illustrator in the medical colleges of Chennai.

It was only after his retirement that he returned to painting full time, at a point when his health was failing and he was going deaf.

Powerful strokes

The power that his paintings exude is unquestionably in no small measure. The compelling heroic adaptation of every theme is as captivating as his unique style.

In combining different kinds of paint application, from the smooth polished surface to blotched patches and the streaks and dots fervently applied with the brush, it is their harmonious co-existence that results in tactile expressiveness.

In his rendition of the Epic, the Ramayana, the entire story can be read on one large canvas.

Rama in a hieratic representation is placed on the right, his hair flying in the wind, which translates as the waves of the sea on which the monkey army builds the bridge to Lanka. The centre of the painting focusses on the bow and arrow that have been directed towards the fallen Ravana.



Clever integration of forms: Susairaj's interpretation of the Ramayana

The landscape below echoes the sorrow of Sita who is surrounded by anguishing figures that gradually materialise from the shadows. The clever integration of forms creates the complex image. His works may be construed on different levels with newer figures and forms stirring from every new viewing thus affording a newer dimension.

Goats, bulls, horses and birds are a recurrent motif, appearing either as protagonists or as mysterious symbols.

Illustrative approach

The integrity of his work is evident in every painting, for each one holds up to minute scrutiny, in terms of expression, movement and style.

The level of detailing fashioned by a strong illustrative approach along with the daring blend of colours and techniques is in keeping with the potency of the pictorial representation.

The juxtaposition of vivid colours bringing to the fore their intensity and their union with darker hues furnish an otherworldly quality to his paintings.

Having been brought together from other collections for this retrospective, this exhibition of paintings exuding passion and power is on from today till October 15 at Ashvita Art Objects and Artifacts, Second Street, Dr. Radhakrishnan Salai, Mylapore.

SWAPNA SATHISH

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