Anuradha Nalappat's paintings are journeys in search of the forms of organic life.

Anuradha Nalappat began her studies in painting at a time when the figurative idiom was re-emerging in art schools across the country.

But right from the beginning of her career, Anuradha preferred to deviate from this path and she found her niche in the metaphysical world of landscapes that had the touch of both the abstract and the objective.

Her frequent exhibitions in the nineties in Kolkata, New Delhi and Bangalore were journeys in search of the forms of organic life and environment. And in the paintings recently exhibited at Time and Space, Bangalore, Chaithanya Art gallery, Kochi, and Srishti Gallery, Hyderabad, Anuradha emerged with images of macro and micro life in the universe.

Water, fishes, mountains, plants, birds, animals and so on, move and float in the aquarium of life, which she constructs on canvases. Pebbles skipping on water, fish wandering in the pond or bubbles rising… in each work Anuradha builds up an aquarium of micro life, which appears to be in a constant flux. As you walk into each painting you see the tangibility of pigments, and the horizontal and vertical writhing movement of lines that in turn form a language of their own.

The visual and the verse

As such the visual and the verse are the two mediums that Anuradha has been alternatively engaged in throughout her career. In the exhibition at Kochi, the captions and supplementary literature that accompany the paintings are the extensions of the visual in the form of text.

Then again the text of the painting is a kind of monologue addressed to the viewer. The nature of the monologue, akin to poetic expression, is a silent address to the viewer; as if the painting is incomplete or the painter wants to say something more than what has been painted. These are attempts of the poet in her to reach out to clarify her ideas.

Anuradha designed the show as an interactive and participatory one in Bangalore, where she invited school children for a dialogue and collected viewers remarks.

These remarks were displayed at the show in Kochi. But Anuradha had to abandon the plan to have a participatory show at Kochi as she felt that the viewers here are relatively reserved. Inviting comments from visitors and making it viewer-participatory is a dialogic process that Anuradha is now exploring. Informal as she is, it cannot be achieved in a conventional display system inside the gallery. This kind of show could have been conceived in such a way by presenting the text in calligraphic form along with the canvases in multiple mediums to bring a balance between the text and the visual.

Born in 1967 in Kozhikode, Anuradha graduated in Fine Arts from College of Fine Arts, Kerala in 1989. She has to her credit 10 solo exhibitions throughout the country. Settled in Bangalore, Anuradha also writes poems and has published extensively in various periodicals.

(The author is the Principal of the College of Fine Arts, Kerala in Thiruvananthapuram).