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Colours of life

The works of Nitin Utge and Pravin Utge belong to the mainstream tradition of Indian art


HOWEVER MUCH the technology may aid the developments in diverse visual fields such as graphics, computer design, photography, videography or any other visual medium, the traditional use of canvas and paint will never fade or become unpopular with artists. If the medium and support have the validity within the supra technological arena, then the traditional figuration in art will never get marginalised but will continue to occupy centre stage at all times. In other words, it is a perennial stream that feeds the artistic mill.

Within this context viewing the works of two brother artists at the Vinyasa Art Gallery provides cheer in terms of theme as well colour. The works of Nitin Utge and Pravin Utge belong to the mainstream tradition of Indian art, modernised through the oil medium as well their contemporary sensibility.

Nitin has shown in Chennai earlier and, in the present exhibition, has given the collective name "Happy Family" to his artistic oeuvre. He has transcended his earlier works both in theme and style. A few of his early works nevertheless are on display intentionally to show his transition to the present series, whereby he has done away with the shadows that partially concealed the face.

Aura of optimism


Euphoria seems to best describe the works of Nitin as his works brim with the anticipation of conjugal bliss. This is evident in a group of four small canvases of a family representation or a larger one with just the couple framed in a window. Strikingly innovative is the way Nitin has employed the window frames. To add a realistic touch he has securely locked it, transforming a simple act of seeing a couple through a window into one of sacred sanctity as they tie their nuptial knot of `togetherness' forever.

Nitin's technical expertise comes through his deft control of draftsmanship and colour. An aura of optimism and cheer is conveyed in every frame. The colours are lively, daring, and full of verve reminding the viewer of the youthful vibrancy of the artist. But what comes through with even greater clarity is his rendering of "eyes" that expressively bare the soul of the protagonist with sensitive evocations.

Figurative vocabulary

Pravin's figurative vocabulary bears resemblance to the Rajasthani miniature tradition, particularly of the Kishengarh school. The long, elongated fish-like eyes, half closed in poetic splendour, are the catch point of his paintings. Women as symbols of "plenty" can be conveniently translated as iconic images of Saraswati, Lakshmi or Devi, carrying significant valence in his works. He has rendered them elegantly holding flowers in their nimble fingers, flowers that aptly describe their character from lily to lotus to sunflowers, thus sensitively translating the beauty of "Indian Womanhood" through these signs. His colours are equally descriptive and lively. The complexion of the women varies from pink to brown to green to light brown and these are juxtaposed in a composition to create charming and interesting effects. Complementing his colours is the vivacious line that is both descriptive and tenderly sensitised.

Unfailingly the viewer cannot but notice the consanguinity between the works. The point of difference in their visual vocabulary is the representation of the eyes that marks the individuality of each artists.

The exhibition is on at Vinyasa Art Gallery till March 30.

ASHRAFI S. BHAGAT

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