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Fascination for human forms

`Bombay Lite' featuring works of five Mumbai artists, on show at Apparao Galleries till July 5, showcases different sensibilities inherited from individual experiences.

PAINTINGS BY five successful artists from Mumbai are being showcased in an exhibition titled `Bombay Lite' at the Apparao Galleries till July 5. What really creates cohesion within the group is not the fact that they are all artists from Mumbai, as the title of the show would have one believe, but rather their fascination with the human figure.

The artists, Anand Panchal, Dutta Bansode, Sujatha Achrekar, Sunil Padwal and Surendra Jagtap, share common ground in having graduated from the J.J School of Art, a reputed art institution in Mumbai, but bring to their works the different sensibilities they inherit from their individual experiences.

The works are all inspired by the human figure which forms the focus of each artist's oeuvre, yet each rendition is so starkly different it is indeed gratifying to witness such diversity in the manifestation of such a universal theme.

Ochre tones and starkly outlined figures dominate Anand Panchal's paintings. He uses dark tones to an advantage in his depiction of working children, portraying `their daily work, their behaviour, bereft of formal education, a will to do something in life, the environment they live in, and the ethos of the life embodied in them.'

Dutta Bansode's figurative expression finds its mainstay in Buddhist themes that are a direct link to the artist's formative years in the vicinity of the Ajanta-Ellora caves. The works on show dwell on the birth of Buddha including Queen Maya's dream, and seem to focus on the significance of the umbilical cord, which may probably be read as the earthly ties in Buddha's early life.

His choice of palette is restricted to a simple black, white and brown within which he creates the mannerist forms.

The linear, languid and poetic figures are clearly delineated yet almost melt to the viewer's gaze.

The textured richness of warm Indian maroons and browns along with subtle yet sophisticated lighting combine to bring Sujatha Achrekar's portraits to life. The faces and figures speak unequivocally of their sufferings, helplessness and misery. The sensitive handling of the faces and their personal spaces makes the viewer interact with the sitter feeling almost privileged to be allowed such an audience.

In contrast, the faces that Sunil Padwal engenders are almost bereft of emotion.

The bold, graphic, darkened faces remain remote and distanced. They are rendered on such multifarious surfaces as wooden panels from packing crates and on kitsch images of calendar art. His works show the influences of graffiti and Russian icons but his unique rendering is almost a minimalist view of a single facet of brooding mankind in disparate contexts.

Surendra Jagtap's paintings are bright and bold, sensuous and intensely poetic. The female form seems to dominate his repertoire with sumptuous sensuality and stark lighting combining to illustrate the delicacy of the figure.

Simplicity and elegance meld in these acquiescent figures with tilted heads and downcast glances.

Credit is certainly due to this well-curated show where the coming together of these five artists is indeed an occasion to perceive a variety of individualistic expressions on an undisputed fascination, the human form.


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