P.Manickavachagam's works are a mix of abstract and realist paintings in a riot of colours

“I am trying to incorporate form into the formless,” says P.Manickavachagam, of his abstracts that are on display at his exhibition at Kasthuri Sreenivasan Art Gallery. As you enter the first room in the gallery, you are inundated with colours. “The abstracts present in this room are the result of my recent experiments,” he continues.

“I have been studying human forms and their fragmentation. I have tried to visually depict that fragmentation in my abstracts.” Manickavachagam's abstracts are a splatter of complementary coloured strokes (some of which depict fragmented body parts).

Geometric patterns

The artist tries to bring out an assembly in the disassembly. Not all of his brush strokes are fluid. There are geometric patterns slipped in between organic lines and sinuous strokes that shatter linearity. Unlike true abstracts, there are recognisable elements among the scatter.

“I am trying to show that there can be harmony irrespective of fragmentation in this world,” says Manickavachagam who is Associate Professor of Fine Arts at the National Institute of Technology, Trichy.

In fact, the exhibition is called “In pursuit of harmony”.

Manickavachagam, who believes in the “grammar of colour”, has played around with a lot of shades.

His greens embrace tones of jade, olive, emerald and viridian, his blues, azure, sapphire, Prussian and peacock, and his reds include scarlet, burgundy and vermillion. A green is introduced to break the monotony of the purples, and blues disrupt the yellows. Says the artist, “I am trying to portray harmony in colours too.”

He elaborates, “When basic colours are brought together, there are chances that the final composition may turn out to be chaotic. With the right mix of colours, however, a harmony, like that in music, can be achieved.”

The second room of his paintings reveal a completely different side to the artist. The paintings here are realistic. Inspired by villages such as Poolavedi and Thoovakudi, Manickavachagam has replicated the pastoral settings on his canvas.

There are water-colours of ram shackled houses, shepherds, construction workers, boom-boom maadu kaaran, kovil theru, kili josiyakaaran and vendors in shanties.

His paintings exude old-world charm, with thatched huts, bullock carts and wheel barrows.

There is a delightful play of light and shadows in this collection. Look out for the fragmented reference to a very famous historical figure in the third painting in Manickavachagam's “Peace series”!

“In pursuit of harmony” is on at Kasthuri Sreenivasan Art Gallery from 9.30 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. on all days till September 11.

The paintings in this exhibition are priced between Rs. 500 and Rs. 10,000.

For details, call: 0422 2574110.