Six artists from Chennai experiment with different media, influences and thoughts in ‘Contour'

The paintings on display at ‘Contour' are not just meant to be looked at. They demand contemplation. They intend to set you off on a journey of introspection. They make you wonder about the presence (or sometimes even the absence) of contours in them.

The exhibition, on at Kasthuri Sreenivasan Art Gallery, showcases the works of six young artists from Chennai. The artists are as interesting as their art. Balaji Vijayaraghavan's works seem abstract at first glance. But, as he begins to talk about them, his paintings tell stories, most of them revolving around spirituality. “I want people to travel through my paintings,” says Balaji, whose works are dominated by primary and secondary colours.

Spiritual

There is symmetry in his art works — most of them have lines running through the centre. Ask him why, and he talks about the spinal cord and the kundalini points. “In the path of spirituality, there is a straight upward line that denotes progression — the connection between man and God,” he explains. The artist draws inspiration from the spinal cord. “I try to depict the chakras and nadis that rise through the spine to reach the brain.” A lot of zig-zag lines fill the canvas and there are pathways that deviate from the centre too. His explanation? “Man does not always travel on a straight path towards God. He tends to get distracted.”

V. Narayanan's metaphorical representations are exquisite. He uses wood and charcoal to depict the transformation of identity in one of his works. Another one, a thought-provoking diptych, abounds in circles, squares and straight lines, and conveys the message of losing and gaining identity.

In ‘Fellow Traveller', Narayanan's fingerprints articulate the importance of impressions. “Take, for instance, the humble house fly. It sits on my finger print and leaves behind an impression that is here to stay,” he remarks. Narayanan wants to drive home the point that more than the medium, it is the concept that makes any art work successful. And, his art justifies this idea.

Saravana Raghavan revisits nostalgia and memories through his works. “I approach art from a psychological perspective,” he says. The remains of flowers and the use of monotones indicate his tryst with romance at various stages of life. In ‘Yes, I am', the artist pronounces that a woman's beauty is the only thing that is synonymous with Nature.

Raghavan, as passionate about gardening as he is about art, uses the cactus as a metaphor to denote human nature in one of his other paintings.

While Kasa Vinay Kumar begins his art work with an image, develops it digitally and subsequently applies colours on the digitalised image, Kalai Selvan does just the opposite. He draws on paper, generates an image digitally on silver film and draws on this modified film.

Appealing collages

Vinay's works are based on the concept of overlapping thoughts, resulting in interesting, visually-appealing collages. Some of Kalai's noteworthy art works include one with the motif of a horse, symbolising lust, and another with paper boats, fishermen and a Buddha (‘A White Violence') — it refers to Sri Lanka and the deaths of fishermen on the high seas.

Suresh Kumar's prints play with the viewer's eyes. He uses metallic colours such as silver and olive green on dark surfaces, creating optical illusions. “I project my perspective of simple objects such as cupboards and drawers in the form of art. However, I'd like the viewer to look at them with his/her perspective,” he smiles.

The paintings are priced between Rs.10, 000 and Rs. 90,000. They will be on display at Kasturi Sreenivasan Art Gallery, Avanashi Road, till June 27. For details, call: 0422-2574110.

Keywords: art exhibition