A dozen artists are showing their works in the city

When an art show is called ‘Symbiotic Punctuation' it does not reveal much. So it arouses curiosity, about the semantics actually. Curiosity leads the way to Vernissage Art Gallery.

It is an exhibition of paintings by 12 Malayali artists. The show, conceptualised by Vijayakumara Menon, is bound to be a treat for those who enjoy group shows. On show are the works of (in alphabetical order) A.P. Sunil, Bahuleyan C.B., C.F. John, Deepti P. Vasu, K.T. Mathai, Martin O.C., Prasad K.P., Radha Gomaty, Remya R.S., Sathoshlal P.M., Sreeja Pallikara and Zakkir Hussain.

The artists seem to explore their space and location (metaphorically) in the wider scheme of the universe. A kind of existential angst meets societal/social concerns – identity (gender and others), globalisation, inequality etc. Techniques vary as do the media.

If one were to ask which of the works stayed in the ‘mind's eye', they are as follows:- Bahuleyan C.B's diptych ‘Transformation', (acrylic on canvas), Martin O.C's still life ‘Metamorphic Grapes' and ‘Metamorphic Apples' (acrylic on canvas), Radha Gomathy's ‘Presence' (acrylic on canvas) and ‘Votive Painting' (acrylic on canvas). That is not to take away anything from the works of others, since this is a purely subjective exercise.

Bahuleyan through his works which are part fantasy and part reality, seems to question the nature of permanence and achievement. Two boats or possibly ships with peeling paint lie on a seashore strewn with debris of the half finished or ruined boats, remains of dead fish, bones etc.

Topical references

Martin O. C's two works seem to tell the story of greed. The two works show two bowls full of fruits. Grape turning to precious stones and apples turning to gold in the other. The apple, symbolically, is associated with sin and grape in some cultures symbolises abundance. There is a grasshopper perched on top of the fruits in each of the paintings. As he touches each of the fruits, they turn to gold or precious baubles. An interpretation of the grasshopper symbol suggests it being an instrument of God's wrath or devastation. A reference to endosulfan?

‘Presence' (acrylic on canvas) by Radha Gomaty is a nude woman, almost ethereal but not in a fairy kind of way. If you want to look for meanings, find them yourself, the work seems to say. In contrast, ‘Votive Painting' is laden with meanings. There are connotations – mythological and personal.

Activist C.F. John's (oil on canvas) paintings, both titled ‘Still. Silent', spell calm and the figures seem to convey a sense of being withdrawn. The colours used seem to suggest an uneasy calm. A.P. Sunil's works, ‘Coming from the Shadows' and ‘River Breaks the Land' (water colour) infuse personal and religious mythology, contemporary with tradition…a personal story.

Deepti P. Vasu, Sreeja Pallikara and Remya R.S. are the show's other women artists. Remya is the youngest of the lot and hence there is a hint of mischief (sting) in ‘I Can Go Without Opening The Door' (dry pastel) which shows bees escaping through the keyhole of a closed door. ‘Collections for Tomorrow' is her other work. Sreeja Pallikara's ‘Reconstruction' (oil on canvas) delves into the notion of beauty, perhaps. A girl lying on a dentist's chair and instruments of surgery float in the air, cosmetic surgery perhaps?

Deepti's ‘Destiny Bound' and ‘Wish You a Happy Journey' (acrylic on canvas) seem to suggest a movement. A relocation for survival, the urban story perhaps?

The other youngster whose works are on show is Prasad K.P. whose untitled works (watercolour on paper) deal with agrarian concerns – the changing face of rural life. K.T. Mathai's works among which are ‘Havoc – Imbalanced' and ‘Havoc – Unmoored 1' (acrylic on canvas) have clowns in very grey scenes. The cheerful clowns provide a paradox to the surroundings. Santhoshlal P.M.'s works address the greed in each of us.

Zakkir Hussain's (serigraph) ‘Style King or Supervisor' and ‘Emerging from the Womb of a Scapegoat' are interesting and rarely seen and therefore there is novelty in these works.

The show concludes on September 18.