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Monday, Feb 18, 2002

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Brush with the best


The works of `who's who' in the Indian art scene is on display at the Vinyasa Art Gallery till February 20.

THE THIRD Annual All India Artists Show at the Vinyasa Art Gallery comprises the works of 27 artists, who have been invited from all over India. The artists represent not just the `who's who' in the Indian art scene but also of relatively unfamiliar names to the Chennai audience.

The exhibition seeks to expose Chennai to art that is visually understandable and not entirely abstract. Probably the only abstract work in the exhibition is a print by Raza, with most of the other paintings and sculptures on display being figurative.

Seniority and popularity of the artists have been kept in mind in the choice of invitees. Familiar names such as M. F. Hussain, S. H. Raza, Thotta Tharani, Laxman Pai, Anupam Sud and Manu Parekh are included along with many South Indian artists such as M. Senathipathi, Rm. Palaniappan, K. Muralidharan, Rajasekharan Nair, M. Suriyamoorthy, Alphonso Doss, Vasudeo Kamath, Milind Nayak and Dimpy Menon.

The Chennai-based artist, M. Senathipathi's painting `Tribal Village' is dominated by his characteristic rhythmic line. The tactile quality is achieved by the minute detailing of lines and the geometric patterns within forms. The colours are restrained and subdued in keeping with the rustic aspect of the theme.

A different representation of the rural subject is expressed in Thota Vaikuntam's art, which although dealing with the same ethnic theme varies in manifestation. Where Senathipathi employs earthy brown tones to speak of the folk element, Vaikuntam uses the brightest of reds and yellows.

Vaikuntam's `Telangana women' of Andhra Pradesh draws the viewer's attention with bold and vibrant colours. The simple women become larger than life as they fill the small format of his paintings draped in bright Sircilla saris. The sturdy yet sensuous beauty of the women is implicit in the clean bold lines, vivid colours and decorative designs of their saris, their static features and stylised hand gestures, ever-present vermilion bindis, bright eyes, heavy lips and unreservedly dark complexion.

Sensuousness has been manifested in diverse renditions.

While Vaikuntam deals with it in terms of dusky Telangana women, the modernist Manu Parekh shows a deeply surrealistic influence with a definite erotic intent. There is a nervous energy in the organic forms that is heightened by the myriad lines employed to create a kind of implied illustration of a part of the body. The suggestion of the phallic element is multiplied to connote the eroticism. The cold shades of blue are made volatile by the minimal use of red, orange and yellow, adding to the disturbing aspect of the theme. What is initially readable as a still life with flowers may now be read in a different light with regard to the nature of the inherent sexual element.

The visual feast is a brilliant exposition of a significant fraction of the national art scene as it brings together the works of many renowned artists in one gallery. It allows the viewer a rare opportunity to browse through varied expressions of individuality, affording a glimpse of the current artistic scenario in India.

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