‘Perceptions,' former Chief Secretary Lizzie Jacob's latest collection of 38 paintings, all oils, is an exploration of the abstract.

Displayed at the Suryakanti Art Gallery at Vazhuthacaud here, the collection depicts the evolution of the artist who seems to have moved away from figurative and realistic expressions and imagery of nature and people to discover a new style of her own.

Bold, broad strokes and interesting combinations of shades of one-, two-, or three-colour palettes are distinctive characteristics of this collection. But for ‘Frames,' an intriguing work in reds and blacks that depicts a melancholic woman peering through what looks like a window, there are no people or even figures that bear a semblance to human beings in any of the works.

“I had stopped paintings for a short while, and when I took up the palette and brush again, this is how I found myself painting,” she explains.

Five of the works in the collection were displayed at the Jehangir Art Gallery in Mumbai during a group show in March 2010.

Many of the paintings in the collection took shape during the last three months after she diffidently showed three of her works in her new style to her art mentor B.D. Dethan.

“It was a pleasant surprise to see her move of out of her comfort zone of realistic paintings and explore a new style. I encouraged her to paint more and this is the result,” he says.

Some of her works belong to a series of paintings that portray the same theme. For instance, ‘Rhythm' is a series of four paintings that aesthetically balances a variety of abstract forms that have been carefully painted on a colourful background. On the other hand, ‘Relationships,' comprising three works in shades of grey, black and red, depict “the strained familial ties in society,” says the artist. A beautiful visual essay in green and black is titled ‘A bird's eyeview,' while an eye-catching study in flowing blue and black forms is called ‘Passion.' A forlorn scene of a riverbank showing broken boats and pots is ‘Dreams Unfulfilled.'

“Although this collection has tried to picturise emotions in an abstract way, sometimes, realistic images do creep in here and there. ‘Dreams Unfulfilled' is one of those,” Ms. Jacob says.

The exhibition will be inaugurated by Speaker G. Karthikeyan at 6 p.m. on Monday. It concludes on March 20.