‘Where Art thou?' a solo exhibition of paintings and drawings by V.B. Venu organised by Artvenue.in was on display at the Taj Palace Hotel in the Capital recently. Venu may have a calm voice, but he roars through his work. The paintings were based on socio-political issues and portrayed various aspects of contemporary life. “These are all real issues and the only medium to present them is through real imagination,” says Venu. He believes this is his way of reacting to society's wrongs. “Writers react through their writings and this is my way to respond to things,” he says.

Venu is associated with Artvenue.in for more than 18 years now. “His art and craft have come a long way since those initial years,” says Paul George of Artvenue.in. “His forays into surrealism and experiments with colours and subjects have reaffirmed his mastery of colours, especially watercolours.” Paul Hughes, the famous artist, once told George that Venu's work reminds him of Francesco Clemente, the legendary Italian painter. This comparison amused George as Venu was unaware of his work.

Speaking about his ‘Masked' and ‘Unmasked' series, Venu says, “People try to hide their real expression with a mask which has a static expression. But who is the mask seller?”

He depicts the mask seller in his painting and has left rest to the viewers. Similarly, in ‘Big fish' and ‘Small fish' he tries to point towards imperialism. “But you can interpret it the way you want,” he adds smiles modestly.

Bheeshma of the Mahabharata lay on a bed of arrows, while in Venu's work, Buddha is seen lying on the bed of arrows at the seashore of a high tech city where Buddha is a symbol of peace and peace is in danger.

Venu, who heads the Chaitram Institute of Art, believes the benefit of being an art teacher is that one keeps in touch with the students' new and pure ideas.

Venu's work involves tremendous detail. The artist, whose works are in collections across the work, says he is trying to simplify his work making sure that it doesn't lose its purity. Hong Kong will be the venue for his next show.