Art Paintings and sculptures meet at ‘Interface’ to create a thematic link

‘Interface’ is a small but intriguing exhibition currently on display at the Gallery Sri Parvati. The premise: a conceptual coming together of painting and sculpture, an interface between the two media. Six artists, including senior city artists such as C. Douglas, K. Muralidharan and Rm. Palaniappan, have paired their paintings and sculptures, creating a thematic link between the 2-D and the 3-D to create a complex whole.

This works well in some cases, and makes less off an impression in others, but always makes for interesting viewing.

C. Douglas’ ‘Journey’ series of paintings—– a set of small canvases depicting a child’s journey forward juxtaposed against the fallen bird — is typically darkly lyrical. The artist’s two bronzes, of the child buoyed by wings and carried by an elephant, work beautifully as a complement to the canvases, continuing the same poetic yet cryptic narrative.

Sculptor Shyam Kumar’s ‘My Planet’ series also fares very well in this format, the meditative yet dystopian quality of his ink drawings being captured perfectly in his striking terracotta sculptures. The futuristic abstract landscapes feature undulating plains and bare, exposed-brick buildings covered in symbolic motifs, all rendered with lakhs of miniscule dots. His tall, burnt terracotta sculpture of a futuristic building seems literally to have arisen out of the painting, as does his cloaked and hooded mystic monk figure.

You might wonder how Palaniappan’s characteristic spare, linear renderings of aerial flight and topography, encoded with cryptic lines of text, could be rendered in sculpture. The artist doesn’t try; instead he creates an installation evocative of an aviator and his log book, or a scientist and his apparatus, which works well to add a meta-dimension to his paintings.

Muralidharan and Vishakapatnam-based V. Ramesh each have just a single painting-sculpture combination on display, which means there’s less of an opportunity for a clear theme to emerge. Muralidharan’s painting, as always, is a bright, deceptively childlike mix of figures of animals, birds and mythological creatures alike, depicting Earth and sky, mortals and goddesses. He takes the concept of this exhibition one step further by actually physically linking the canvas to the colourful plastic flowers that wind around his cylindrical sculpture. Ramesh’s work, ‘Reaching for Fruit’ is all muted, organic tones, a deeply abstract piece where the hands in his painting seem to reach for the prickly, plump fruit of his sculpture.

Natesh Muthuswamy’s exhibit provides a contrast to all the other more muted, restrained works in the exhibition. His canvases are large and expansive, his installation bright and kitschy, featuring magazine cut-outs of people stuffing their faces with fast food, and the plastic shells of Kinder chocolates, among other things. The whole is striking, making a strong statement about the environment dying even as humans feed their greed.

The exhibition is on until December 20.