‘Space Untitled', an art exhibition on at David Hall Art Gallery, provides an insight into what Keralite artists are up to

Contemporary art, vibrant and throbbing with life can be seen at David Hall, Fort Kochi. Space Untitled, presented by SBM, has a group of 21 artists on show. They deal with topical subjects and also random thoughts. Anger at the screwed up system (the theme thought of the day) is evident in a few works too. The 30 works hung in three large rooms of David Hall give you a gist of what Keralite artists are up to these days. There are two sculptures, of Raghunandan's, very different ones from your idea of sculpture.

The trend you see, that is fast catching on is this: A lot of text creeping into the frame, with colours and forms. Not quite like what KCS Panikkar did, but more like graphic novels, for added effect, to drive home the artist's message, woe or angst.

Text as art

Bhagyanath C. has done it in his huge frame, where like a city in several layers, he comments on urban life, and attitudes.

One text says, “An artist is compelled to denigrate the history of contemporary revolutions…….knocking on the doors of bourgeoisie art galleries to exhibit his work of art.”

Upendranath T, on the other hand, has a screaming face (of himself) in one and several in another, with lots of text. One says, “I'm not ok, you are not ok…some day we will all feel shame..' He uses photocopies of photos for his works, these days, along with text, rubber stamps, paint, charcoal etc, to emphasise the impermanence of life. The ornate frames that hold these works seem contradictory.

Realism of a different kind is in the works of Martin O.C. Stand afar and you see shining steel, marble and at close quarters, you see how he does it with straight lines of different colours and tiny blobs of paint at strategic locations: Still life in a topical mode, a sad hospital scene, sans people and part of a building.

Bara Bhaskaran's ‘Chronicles' is a huge work, pencil on paper, where you see a wide canvas of life, in black and white. K. L. Leon's works in raw colours is titled ‘Morphogenesis', while Rajan M. Krishnan's nest has his trademark sombre colours, cactus-like plant with birds peeping out, the birds and plant in the same colours.

3D effect

T. P. Premjee's ‘Whispering Waters' in oil seems like a metal relief, with the mustard and gold coloured 3D effect coming through in a rectangular frame. Bahuleyan C.B. has put up a frame with bright colours, where through the white ant eaten wheel and bullock, you see modernity ahead, atomic reactors, machines. Sebastian Varghese' ‘Manicured' shows man made greenery and T. Rathidevi's ‘Equilibrium' has text and colours in abundance and a bold stance. N.N. Mohandas' work in oil is in stark contrast with the others. Soft pastel coloured doves make you feel all at peace.

Alex Mathew's work is in soft pastels while N. N. Rimzon's two works are in charcoal. N. V. Santhan's works are in pencil. Sosa Joseph's ‘Pachaviral', in oil has a womanly presence. K. Sudheesh's oil work is Daliesque while K.G. Anto's two works are in dark shades. Sanam C.N. has perhaps got inspiration for his work from the man made Palm Islands of Dubai. P. K. Sreenivasan's ‘Travelogue' has the remnants of modern day living, in lovely colours. Sreedevi T.R has put up two oils in light colours, of European women.

Of K. Reghunadhan's two sculptures in fibre glass, the one in blue charms.

There is contemporariness in most works which is sometimes aimed at a shock-and-awe effect in the viewer. But you can relate to most works.

There is a quiet and ambience to enjoy the works at David Hall, put together by Bijoy Velekkatt. The show is on till April 15.