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Different strokes

Anu Agarwal's brazen use of colour is stunning, for she combines it with a fluid and forceful handling of form


Creating a significant space for herself in the art scene of Chennai, Anu Agarwal has established herself professionally, both as an artist and as an administrator. Still in her twenties, she currently heads the Julius Macwan Institute.

The choice of title for her exhibition of paintings, `UOFI: It's a Magical World' verbalises a great deal. While UOFI is meaningless as a word, it speaks of her boldness to arbitrarily use letterforms that fascinate her; and yet, in her admission that life and the human figure can be 'magical', she stakes a claim with the conformist.

Anu's brazen use of colour is stunning to say the least, for she combines it with a fluid and forceful handling of form. The human figure is seen through a contemporary gaze, an inhabitant of her own world. The focus of her visual expression is on the beautiful and the bold, with no thought given to anything that might in some way be termed mundane.

Black and a range of reds come under the spotlight, deceptively balanced with vast sections of white. Stark juxtapositions of contrasts in colour exist as abstract shapes until they fuse together to become legible as images. White works in a complex fashion, alternately building and dissolving forms. Simultaneously sensitive and aggressive, Anu's paintings are satiated with spontaneous energy and a strong sense of design, reminiscent of cut-colour illustration. While figuration is undoubtedly her forte, the same fervour however seems rather elusive in her pure abstractions.

Exhibiting irrefutable artistic talent the exhibition of paintings is on at The Terrace at The Park, Nungambakkam High Road, until December 10.

SWAPNA SATHISH

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