Bright bold colours on glass, paper and canvas - T. Kaladharan's latest works are about all these

Bright colours take different avatars at Nanappa Art Gallery, Orthic Creative Centre. It's T.Kaladharan's solo show and art happens on glass, paper and canvas, abstract at times. Sometimes, there are forms that betray emotions: Faces and languid moods, luscious lips et al.

You can pinpoint the stages, where, in the birth pangs of evolution, one style breaks free from another, yet retains traits of the former, like life itself. Of the 28 works on show, there are a few series and some stand-alone ones.

The Mandakini series number 11, on glass, in his trade mark ‘orthic' mode, as he calls it, whereby, he paints on glass and the first layer becomes the top layer, when it is turned around. Bright saffron, yellow, browns, green, red and black to offset these, surround the faces of Mandakini, which is young in one, old in another, pretty in one and not-so-pretty in another. With this female form are bearded faces (self portrait?) big and small. The clustered group is set in a single colour background, be it red, orange or black.

Imagined presence

Who is Mandakini? “She is yet to have life in text form. Maybe you can write about her and give her an entity. Namboodiri and Devan Master illustrated so many novels and stories. In those the text was born first and later came the pictorial representation of these characters. Here, the pictorial characters are ready and they wait for the texts…”

And Mandakini waits patiently while viewers picture the lovers she has had, the children she has borne, the chequered life she had led and the bindi on some of the faces that portray her as a conventional woman as well as some which picture her, young and sassy.

Kaladharan has had solo shows in the eighties, titled ‘Mollinte', ‘Shobhente' etc, where the ladies in question were purely imaginary, as he testifies! Here, in this untitled show, he introduces Mandakini, the mystic woman who is waiting for stories to be written about her.

The wheel series, his latest, are on canvas boards, totally different from his style on glass, his staple in the last many years. The accent is on lines rather than curves and the abstract forms are layered, as also the two titled Red and Black. In these two series, which are his latest, he moves away to geometric shapes and bigger canvases. The colours are deep and the brush strokes brash.

The ‘blue' series resulted after a trip to Lakshadweep. It's blue as deep as eye can see, with a few brush strokes to unsettle the placid surface. “Visitors stood the longest before these paintings at my show recently at Jehangir Art Gallery in Mumbai,” Kaladharan says.

‘Monsoon' has huge brush strokes, vertical and horizontal, in pastel shades of water colours. ‘Mayyazhi Ormakal' is a stand alone one, inspired by his various visits there. The older works which hang alongside have drawings and white lines that separate the canvas into sections, a style that he no longer follows. For Red and Black, also his recent works, have both these colours prominently but hiding beneath them, lie other mellow colours.

It was inaugurated by film maker Siddique on Friday last, with veterans M. V. Devan and art lovers at the function. The show is on till December 23.

Keywords: art exhibition