Vrindavan Solanki explores the people of his region in a telling manner.
In our contemporary art scene there are artists who have evolved their pictorial language in and around the place they come from. Or are intimately familiar with a region and its people and are able to weave local narratives, myths and incidents in a sensuous and emotive manner. These artists have created fresh images which enhance our perception of the socio-cultural reality in general and of an area in particular and through certain emotive patterns communicate to us the core of the characters depicted, without being illustrative or repetitive. They also enliven a yearning to understand human relationships in terms of deeper existential questions. The way they use line to delineate figures and objects is enchanting and their colours denote the very intent of their works.
Vrindavan Solanki is one such artist from Junagadh, Gujarat, who will be exhibiting his new works at Art Heritage Gallery this Friday onwards. He has charted a creative journey for over four decades. His works have a lyrical feel, and a verve of their own.
Vrindavan Solanki has sketched, painted and etched men and women from a rural community, who dress in a particular manner, have postures and gestures of a specific kind, through many a generation. Yet these men and women have not been presented by him just to illustrate their ways of living, dressing or working, but to give an essence of their quiet lives, how they interact with each other, and converse with nature and the universe. There is also an ongoing exploration of body and soul, so to say, on realistic, as well imaginative terms.
One may also recall here the works of Laxma Gaud and Thota Vaikuntham from Andhra Pradesh, portraying men and women from rural background with wit, irony, a touch of humour and at times with certain eroticism; and also the works of Sudhir Patwardhan from Thane, Maharashtra, depicting suburban scenes from daily round of life in their very own way, and visual vocabulary, which captivates our gaze and transmits the intent almost effortlessly. There are many similarities among these artists but it only highlights the range of works available in the very context to which we have referred in the beginning.
Vrindavan Solanki has a singular approach to his art. He deftly uses lyrical lines, creates fine textures, attires his men and women with a flair for drapery, and pagri (for men); does a kind of blocking of the figures on the canvas, as is done by a theatre director for some play, and looks at his men and women through their profile, perceives them from front, from aside, and also from their back turned towards us. He deliberately leaves out nose, eyes and other features of their faces and makes the rest of the body express their emotions – to be registered somewhat differently.
His works are mostly monochromatic, where the yellowish, brownish tones dominate in the paintings; and in the drawings blacks, whites, greys play a skilful role to carry out the intent emotively. He uses both oil and acrylics, and his use of ink on paper is a treat to watch.
He also produces fine etchings and lithographs. The show to be mounted has all these works. There are also works depicting trees, open fields and some based on architectural units. The sheer range is enchanting and visually exciting. A sense of touch, a feeling to go beyond the surface, pervades all his works.
He captures and also creates, many a mood, ranging from passionate to impassive. The very construct of his works is endearing and makes us feel nearer to the earthly qualities of human existence and also takes us to the realm of ethereal and sublime.