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Faces of reality

Four artists at Forum Art Gallery capture myriad expressions of life through sculptures and paintings



Emoting through colour: A work by Laxman Aelay on display at Forum Art Gallery

LIFE'S EXPERIENCES in myriad forms, allow the artist, through his visual medium to communicate or express himself, to `speak', so to say, or comment on social, political, economic or cultural situations. Art emanating from such a matrix enables an artist to mediate his iconography through a select form or imagery.

The show at Forum Art Gallery features four artists — S. Kumar, R. Srinivasan, Laxman Aelay and Fawad Tamkanat, who have appropriately zeroed in on human faces/portraits to make them mirror reality. The former two are Chennai-based, while the latter two are from Hyderabad. The thread of commonality linking these artists is the sensitive portrayal of ethnicity coloured with the regional idiom in miniature format.

Eye for detail

Srinivasan's bronze sculptures are captivating not because of their size or largeness but because of their intimate minutiae. The artist has arrived in terms of themes and concepts and clarifies his notion of representing human faces as a means of expressing the universality per se of human beings sans class, caste or race. His intuiting of concepts arises out of the unconscious layer of the mind sensitively internalised, which now transgresses to establish every individual as `royalty'. This notion of royalty is not expressed with its material paraphernalia; rather its ordinariness makes it extraordinary.

In the works of Srinivasan, the centrality is his crafty and manipulative skill acquired through innumerable experiments in various mediums from wood to stone to terracotta and their final translation into metal. In every object, the artist finds a personality, whether leaf, bud or stem, and transforms it to possess human qualities decoded through the naive and spontaneous language of folk and tribal art.

The female form has evoked differing responses from creative writers, artists and poets. In their all pervasiveness also lies their enigma, as every artist attempts to unravel their complexities in representation. Aelay's depiction of the Kadirenigudem women finds visualisation with a local flavour celebrating the dark ethnic beauties with a riot of colour. His portraits in miniature have been created with intensity and sensitivity. While Aelay's sketches come alive, particularly with their expressive eyes and screaming red sindhur, Kumar's studies of the locals of Tamil Nadu are staid yet absorbing. Rendered in water colours and impressionistic strokes, the half portraits speak eloquently the ubiquity of its culture, particularly the sartorial elegance. The portraits nevertheless make their impact through clever juxtaposition of startling whites with primary reds, blues and yellows.

Clever manipulation

Fawad's portraiture makes its impact through his clever manipulation of the formal language. The colours are striking, reinforced with textural lines that evoke primeval qualities. Herein lies the power of the artist's portrayal, in which the face becomes the vehicle to convey his subconscious tract, the language of ultimate reality, the faces that can either launch a thousand ships, be dreamy and poetic, potent and dynamic, serene and ruthless.

The show is on at Forum Art Gallery till October 22.

ASHRAFI S. BHAGAT

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