The works at ‘Interface’, on at Gallery OED, are artistic reactions to contemporary times

Interface, a group show of works by eight contemporary artists, takes the viewer through expressions that range from the direct to the complex. If an attempt is made to find a common voice of Interface then it can be called serious conversation. Though most frames are open-ended and give room for talk, they don’t encourage a light tete- e- tete. Most are statements, often complex and subtle. Another evident commonality is that the works are a reaction to contemporary times, to globalisation and urbanisation, even the ones that hark back to ancient history.

Shijo Jacob is direct. His two works in acrylic and silk screen on paper (22x30 inches) in flaming orange and black delineates the conditions faced by a displaced populace. War, confinement, refuge, ghettoisation are just some of the depraved conditions that migrants face.

Reliving the myths

Manoj Vyloor’s works — a triptych and a diptych— deal with ancient myths. In ‘Shrine’, done in acrylic and graphite on canvas, he sweeps across centuries tying them with mythology and science, the ancient with the new. In graphite expressions of ancient mithuna sculptures set against the backdrop of molecules Manoj creates a meta-narrative. The centre piece of this work presumably Shiva’s third eye, a symbol of destruction, can also be interpreted as a symbol of the female principle of life and thus creation.

A.P. Sunil lifts the sartorial image of an ordinary shirt on a clothesline, a warm symbol, to narrate the mythical tale of the reverential Monkey God, Hanuman, tearing open his heart to reveal the image of Ram and Sita and thus his love for them. Sunil’s art is on a lighter vein parodying the layered interpretations of a tale that remains relevant and throbbing in the current times.

Strong comment

Manu Binny George’s ‘Purity Guaranteed’ is a comment on the consumerist culture, the infestation of materialism and the search for purity. The inferences are wide open. Is it all pervasive? Is society mesmerised by the glamour of the ad world and a prey to its clever tactics? Are the dragonflies in the canvas in love? Is reality in the seen and in the heard or in the final product in use? These are some of the questions that Manu delves into.

Antony Karal’s three works in mixed media on paper are subtle and gentler, though the message is strong and harsh. ‘Portrait 1 and 2’ are not about people but about landscape that’s being continually scalped by greed. The tree is attacked and the earth is scooped. In simple images the artist is making a strong comment. Suresh Panicker’s visually appealing work of a ripe set of bananas, done in dry pastels, is a soft image titled ‘Don’t touch my halo’. The title is a censure of the prevailing materialism that has put a price on every object.

Remya Sandeep’s expressions are about the rite of passage, the passage of time and the ultimate formation of a pearl or a diamond. In simpler terms it is about the travails of time that finally results in a product of beauty.

Babitha Kadannappally asserts the feminine in single-toned etchings in aquatint. A visually attractive untitled work draws instinctively by the strength of the flower and the woman. In ‘Move Apart’ she plays on the image of an open pod, that is symbolic of the womb, a receiver of seeds.

Interface thus is like an open forum where artists are indulging in serious conversation with strong individualistic views. The viewer can take it or leave it but, as they say, cannot ignore it.

Interface is on at Buddha Art Gallery till November 30 from 11a.m. to 7 p.m.