ART Three artists, mostly first-timers, use their brush to make comments on a society that is in a state of flux

A commentary on nature and society underscores, both directly and indirectly, the exhibition “Nonverbal Statements” at the Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath where three artists, Sivasankar, Nandan V.P. and Col. Suresan V.P., have put forth three different takes on the condition of human society.

Col. Suresan's paintings reflect hope and light at the end of darkness. He has put it across quite literally in paintings like “Trickling Hope”, where he has painted a human figure sitting in a dark room with his head buried in his knees as light slowly begins to filter in.

The journey towards light is also represented in the spiritual-metaphorical sense in works like “The Pilgrimage”, where a group of figures in white are seen moving purportedly forward, as the landscape, including trees, bends forward in their wake.

He has also made a commentary on globalization in “Losing Identities” where buildings dominate the canvas, even as people become microscopic stick figures.

A new style

“The painting is about how people are losing their identities in a world ruled by globalization and commercialization. I'm trying to build a new style by using rollers in my work. There is very little brushwork in my paintings,” says Suresan, an army officer and a self-taught artist, who will be retiring in one month to pursue art full-time.On the other hand, the face of the Buddha becomes the central figure in Nandan's paintings. In “Divine Truth”, the face of the Buddha is “seemingly complacent” with a peacock feather and a flame in his pituitary.

In “Inspiration”, the Buddha occupies the foreground while robed monks occupy the background, signifying how the Buddha gave them an impetus forward in the spiritual path. But the non-expression of the Buddha reflects “the lack of expression in human beings who watch as their fellow humans suffer”.

Sivasankar contemplates on what would happen to the ecosystem, using the consequences of building the Athirapalli dam, Kerala, as an example. He has also spoken out about the disastrous consequences of global warming by showing the last man on earth drowning in a world filled with water. There is also a figure rising in the horizon depicting the next God, who could be seen as “a female, who maybe black, instead of the usual white”.

Committed to the next generation

In the works against the Athirapalli dam, he has painted a submerged ecosystem with elephants and bisons, rising from the forest foliage as nature learns to live under water. “I think an artist must be committed to the next generation,” says Sivasankar, who is inspired by nature.

“My works are not pre-planned. I only plan the broad theme and let the details flow through me, like the way the wind blowing through a flute creates music. So a single painting could take as long as a few months,” he adds.

Both Sivasankar and Col. Suresan are self-taught artists, while Nandan, who has worked as an art director in Bollywood, is a graduate of the Brushman School of Art in Kannur, Kerala. This is the first time Col. Suresan and Nandan are exhibiting their art work. Col. Suresan's works have a flow and rhythm, while Sivasankar's works are direct and strong. Nandan on the other hand is more subtle with his expression, letting his imagery and colours speak for themselves.

“Nonverbal Statements”, sponsored by Van Gogh's art gallery, will be exhibited at the Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath until October 19. Call 9633950522 for more details.