K. Srinivasan's abstracts beckon viewers to enjoy their colour, shape and texture, rather than look for a deeper meaning
Walking into an art gallery can be daunting. There are large, white walls, a lot of silence, and, most important, the artworks. After pondering a painting for a few moments, it's not unusual to be attacked by a panicked onslaught of thoughts: What does it mean? How should I respond? Quick, think something clever.
Fortunately for anyone who feels such pressures when entering an art gallery, K Srinivasan's ‘Organic Abstractions' at Gallery Sri Parvati stubbornly resists interpretive response. “My work isn't about anything,” Srinivasan says emphatically, “there's nothing to understand. Just feel it.”
This is a relief. A relief that I'm not required to attempt to find allegorical significance in the looping curlicue on the canvas in front of me, or decide whether it's a tree I'm looking at — or just some green shapes that happen to look like one.
“There are traces of the human form here, maybe”, Srinvasan shrugs, gesturing vaguely at a painting. Still not quite able to believe that there isn't some secret meaning lurking beneath the canvas, I ask him what the theme of the series is. He flings out open palms with the movement of a magician saying voila, and declares: “abstract!” Touché.
Now that I'm finally convinced I really don't need to peer into the paintings and imbue little dots and triangles with ‘meaning', I can relax. I can enjoy the colours, the shapes, the textures.
“He's been obsessed with texture recently” says curator and gallery owner, Lakshmi Venkatraman, over my shoulder. This certainly seems to be so.
Almost every painting sports patches of bumpy, irregular texture; some rough and sandy, some wiry and wavy. “I've used sand, cotton and even tissue paper,” says Srinivasan, “Luckily the blue writing on the tissue works well with the colour palette I've chosen here.”
Using a variety of items in order to experiment with texture, Srinivasan's canvases also settle on a single colour and exploit the possibilities of its spectrum. Each of his paintings works within this single colour range and unleashes its energies to experiment with space and texture.
Although there is no single way to approach art, and the medium invites an infinite field of responses, it's sometimes reassuring to be told by the artist that it's okay to divorce your senses from your intellect — to respond to the work however you feel like doing so.
So when going to Gallery Sri Parvati, allow your newly liberated eyes to be ravished by Srinivasan's art; and if you feel a creeping temptation to try and ‘understand' it, resist.
The exhibition is on at Gallery Sri Parvati till November 7, and is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Keywords: painting exhibition