An exhibition of paintings, sculptures and drawings by 29 artists at the Cholamandal Artists’ Village

How does art, restricted by size, reflect its purpose? Does it still call out, its colours ablaze or its conscious lines leading the viewer from start to finish? Contemporary Miniatures, an exhibition of paintings, sculptures and drawings, which is on display at the Labernum and Indigo Art Galleries in Cholamandal Artists’ Village is an interesting case in point. Miniatures by 29 artists spread across the country, across a variety of genres, mediums and states of mind. There is no dearth of stories here. The exhibition, which is part of the celebrations of the 70th year of Progressive Painters Association, pays tribute to the first Miniature Format Show that happened in Pune in 1971. The aim of the show is to promote art in such a way that it is no longer a luxury but a ‘dire necessity for large numbers of people’ (an extract from K.C.S. Paniker’s article during the 1971 exhibition).

Inside, D. Venkatapathy’s signature totem art mixes Aztec and Indian styles into three-part creatures that spring to life. One has a scary brown mask on top, a naked woman in between and a furry four-legged creature at the bottom while the other has a skull without a face, a woman lying down sideways and the face of a lion. It uses Indian sculpture-like art on the women while the rest have other styles.

Anila Jacob’s bronze sculptures are interesting to decipher. One seems to be the story of the cat on the moon, with its bronze whiskers shooting out. In another, a bronze woodpecker is busy at work on a piece of wood. Hemalatha S. also displays her bronze sculptures, highlighted with colour. There is a dancing Ganesha, Hanuman carrying the sanjeevi hill and a woman carrying a pot on her head.

On another side is Priya G.’s minimalist art. The paintings, which portray the fluidity and the gradient spectrum of colours, bring to mind, pictures of Nature. One is reminiscent of a deep sunset while another is as clear as a sunny blue sky. Manisha Raju’s women, are, as always, in a dreamy state of bliss. Here, though, the canvases seem to talk about one woman and the lucidity of her dreams. Her moods are like coloured halos at the back, glowing green, yellow, purple, blue and red.

C. Douglas talks in metaphors about a man’s relationship with words. Each painting has two frames, one with books on one side and a man submerged in words on another. In another, a caterpillar crawls over a green page while on the other side, a man lies on a desk, with his hand inside an empty open drawer. There are caterpillars, loose, over and around him. Nandagopal S.’s work is mystical, and transcends time and space. Mythical creatures painted in pink emerge in a dystopian world. A leopard-like creature is ready to pounce, nearby the sun is scorching and the fish in the sea are watching.

The women in Selvaraj A.’s art have the most expressive eyes. There is a woman in green looking out of the painting, with a lotus in hand. In another, as a chariot pulled by a horse moves around the town in the darkness of the night, a maiden in a blue sari, holding a plateful of food walks by it. Latha G.’s women are, on the hand, women you meet everyday. The paintings capture their smiles, some of them with their heads slightly bent, or standing behind a pillar or before it.

Contemporary Miniatures is on display at the Labernum and Indigo Art Galleries till May 4, 9.30 a.m. to 6.30 p.m., at the Cholamandal Artists’ Village, ECR.