The appeal of Blodsow's abstract paintings lies in their concept

Artist Blodsow would be the first to admit that his two collections of paintings currently on display at The Park hotel lobby are rather abstract, and hard for the average art lover to relate to.

“These works do have a lot of limitations,” he says. “People need to know about Sigmar Polke, Jonathan Monk and Yayoi Kusama to be able to understand them.”

Luckily, these quirky conceptual paintings are so appealing in colour and form that people are likely to find themselves drawn to them anyway, and be left wanting to know more about the artist's inspirations.

‘Her Obsession is not my Obsession' is probably the more straightforward of the two series, a tribute to the fabulously avant-garde Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, and her obsession with polka dots scattered over every surface you can imagine. Blodsow's oils are all spare grey and white, with arresting bright red polka dots over chairs and floors and never-ending staircases alike. The paintings are more restrained than Kusama's famously flamboyant works, yet manage to channel some of their offbeat charm.

“I deeply respect the works of Kusama and others such as Kiki Smith,” says the Chennai-based artist. “I often find that women artists create the most powerful works.”

The idea for the second series, ‘Nothing to do with Sigmar Polke and Jonathan Monk' came when Blodsow, a self-taught artist who's spent the last decade educating himself on world art history and underground art movements, was introduced to the works of British artist Monk. “He's a conceptual artist, and his works are a kind of resistance, filled with satire — I was fascinated by them,” he says.

Exploring ideas

Finding Monk's 2007 subversive take on German artist Polke's seminal 1969 work inspired Blodsow to explore his own ideas on the subject. The result is a series of seven eye-catching yet enigmatic paintings, each with one corner painted a colour of the rainbow (a subversion of Polke's work, the text of which reads partially “paint right top corner black!”). Each also features a stylised portrait — of men staring ahead defiantly, smiling openly or captured in thoughtful profile — with the top right part of their faces removed.

“If the portraits were complete, they wouldn't have the same impact,” Blodsow says, adding that each portrait comes from a photograph of someone he knows personally. “This way there's no full-stop on any of the works or any of their stories.”

Both series of paintings were painted two or three years ago, but are being exhibited only now. “It's all part of the process,” Blodsow says philosophically.

And, it's all probably for the best. After all, their current home — The Park's sleekly modern and eclectically furnished lobby — couldn't fit the style and feel of these paintings more perfectly. The exhibition, organised by The Madras Terrace House, is on until July 15.

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