Art Suryakanti Art Gallery’s ‘Small is beautiful’ exhibition features small- format painting by 12 artists

With more people shifting to apartments in high rise buildings and trying to cram all their things into small confines, large and expansive paintings that used to adorn living room walls have become slightly impractical. Art and its keepers however, have always been an adaptable bunch, and smaller paintings are now becoming popular. Keeping with the times, Suryakanti Art Gallery at Vazhuthacaud conducts an exhibition of small-format paintings on its premises from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. till December 31.

The works of 12 artists are being featured as part of the exhibition, which uses the popular adage 'Small is Beautiful' as its title. Among the many artists featured are B.D. Dethan and Lizzie Jacob, members of the board of trustees of Suryakanti Gallery, and versatile artists in their own right.

Looking at the abstract concepts depicted in Dethan’s paintings, one would be hard pressed to guess they are not painted on fresh canvas, but rather crafted, or as he likes to say “recreated”, from existing printed material. “I discovered this style while experimenting one day, and have used it many times since. Any thick colourful sheet of printed paper can be my canvas. I scrape off parts of colours I don't need, retain other parts, and colour the rest in with sketch pens or paint. It is surprisingly quick as well, as there have been days when I finished four or five of these works,” explains Dethan, indicating paintings from a series of his mixed media work titled ‘Parinamam’.

Lizzie explains that the small format is a result of art evolving to match the urban lifestyle. “We received a lot of feedback from our patrons about how they wished to buy certain paintings but simply did not have room for them. This got us thinking, and we reached out to some of our trusted artist friends and asked if they would be able to provide us works in such a format. The results have been great, and even we have been taken aback by the different ways we can express ourselves in this smaller frame. Also, the fact that smaller works are more affordable is also a plus point,” she says.

Also on display are the works of Balucharan, K.P. Muraleedharan, Muthu Koya, Ramesh Chandra, Indrapramit Roy, Nandan and former principals of College of Fine Arts – Ajayakumar, Kattoor Narayana Pillai and Rajappan K.K. Providing a contrast to the landscapes and abstracts are the digital paintings of Pushkin, mixing brooding darkness with occasional splashes of colour. Sharing wall space with such illustrious company are two works by American artist Ron N.G.

Lizzie and Dethan seem pleased with the attention generated by the exhibitions in the gallery and the general attitude towards art in the city. “When we started around 13 years ago, people were only interested in traditional paintings. In the time since, we have seen the attitude shift and modern as well as abstract art has started to receive its due. There are a lot of serious artists coming up nowadays and more galleries ready to exhibit their works. It is a nice feeling to see more people interested in the arts and willing to maintain collections and display them,” says Lizzie.