Modern day angst found expression in the works of seven artists who organised a show recently at the Durbar Hall Art Gallery

A painting of a giant ship caught in stormy weather that almost made you jump out of your skin with its sheer monstrosity complemented the weather outside the gallery—melancholic. Done in ominous tones of grey, artist Kiran Jacob’s charcoal on paper work was a stunner. The 34’’x58’’ painting occupied a good part of the wall and could make you want to stand and stare.

The exhibition of paintings and installations that recently concluded at the Durbar Hall Art Gallery had works that were large, intense and refreshingly novel.

The group of seven young contemporary artists, who has put the show together, said they shared the same ideology and approach towards art. As a show need not necessarily have a common theme, they explored their individual interests, yet succeeded in maintaining a rare sense of continuity.

Pen and paper

Jos Martin’s ‘Infinite’ was a series of works involving the pen and the paper. Starting with a large canvas covered in black and blue circles drawn in pen, he moves on to sketch a man inside a bubble. An intriguing installation is next in the series. A framed mirror on which have been arranged a poem, a tap, tree-bark, a candle, a bird’s nest and a feather. A tube light has been attached to the mirror.

The only woman in the group, Remya R.S.’s series was curiously titled ‘Let Me Take My Own Time’. She portrayed herself in the canvas, which was cowdung-washed paper. In the first painting of the series, ‘I am not in a hurry’ had been scrawled in pencil on top of the canvas. At the bottom, it said, ‘Aware of time, Not scared.’ The background detailing was minimal, containing just the figure of a girl (the artist) slumped on a chair. Another one proclaimed it was a collection of rough “sketches transformed into drawings”. A girl holding a bunch of grapes—serene, yet full of emotion.

Aneesh V.’s works are a far cry from serenity. A giant canvas, which had been stitched together in coarse black thread, depicted a child’s face. Superimposed on it was a figure of a child labourer. The idea was direct and the painting was so compelling, one could not just ignore it.

Recurring motifs

Dreams and the constant struggle between presence and absence fed Harikrishnan’s imagination. Nine of his paintings, as series of three, had been done in charcoal and soft pastel. While one series had a tree with the hollow painted in three different colours, the others flirted with clouds and the sky. The artist suspected that the staggered presentation was a fallout of his recent fascination with the movie as a medium.

The tree appeared in a different setting in Shyne K.’s paintings. In his ‘Survival’ series, he used it as a metaphor to raise ecological concerns. One of the works showed a tree that had been cut, drawn in a dull shade of brown-grey. The only presence of life had been depicted in the form of green leaves and cherry-red flowers that had sprouted on a branch.

A mother and her son appeared life-like in Sandeep S. Babu’s painting. A sculptor, Babu’s inherent sense of structure gave his subjects a well-defined outline. Done in watercolour and pastel on paper was another work that demanded attention.

The show, titled, ‘Phantasm How Real And Other’, concluded on Novmber 1.