The contemporary world has a nasty tendency of trapping us in all kinds of unnecessary anxieties and fears. We live in constant worry, fearing dangers, tangible and imaginary, only to forego the simple, yet deep understanding of what we truly are. This intangible domain is the realm of Anu Rency A. Francis, for whom “painting was a process that purified all the evils in the mind.” An alumnus of College for Fine Arts, Thiruvananthapuram, this young artist has done extensive work that has been inspired by nature and its nuances.

Patterns of life

The ongoing exhibition of Anu's paintings at Alliance Française de Trivandrum is titled ‘Mind's Eye.' His paintings in watercolour, oils and dry pastels draw peculiar themes and shades from the natural world. Where else could you get the ever-changing patterns of life in its myriad tones than from the natural world? ‘Monkey with Red Card'is one such painting where purple-coloured monkeys hide amid enormous green and yellow stems carrying equally bizarre leaves that fill the canvas.

‘Back to Mother Bed'depicts a cow's mammary glands around which all forms of life including pale-green sprouts, emerge. ‘Pink out of Red'has a huge pink mushroom sprouting budding greenery.

Anu says that his way of soul searching is to find “the mind occupied in the truth through a loving approach and deep sensibility” towards the nature around him. And that alone “leads to think, feel and see.” Thus ‘The Blue Series'in pen and watercolour fully utilises the lucid unpredictability of the medium in muted shades. Whereas the oil on canvas, named ‘Divine self-sacrificing spirit to feed a hungry guest,'has a definite message of man-animal relationship.

There are a number of large works on the urbanised soul.

‘City landscape'has a blemished yet throbbing heart-like figure in the middle of jet black strokes. A human figure is nailed on the hands and feet in ‘Crucification,' but the head alone is not distinctly human.

‘Midnight Eagles'has an air of conspiracy around it, much as the scheming minds of tortured mortals.

These paintings often blur the borders of life forms, reminding how tiny a speck each of us is in this vast space of vibrating energy.

Multitude of colours

One is also persuaded to acknowledge a multitude of colours around us, beyond the quintessential black, white and grey areas – easier to manage in our day-to-day existence. And Anu puts it this way: “With paintings or drawings, I am trying to produce instinct energy or force that manifests in the life process.”

A brave attempt indeed, contemporary art balancing out an increasingly maddening world. The exhibition is on till May 29.