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Wednesday, Feb 19, 2003

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Vibrant strokes

Two artists from the Cholamandal Artists Village are showcasing their skills at an exhibition on at Vinyasa Art Gallery till February 20. A review.

STIMULATED BY the vibrant artistic ambience yet reclusive stillness of Cholamandal Artists' Village, two of its young residents, Uma Shankar and Jacob Jebaraj, are exhibiting their paintings and sculpture in closer reach, within the city.

Uma Shankar's works on show comprise a series of paintings titled `Solitude' that use acrylics, pastels and collage. Architectural interiors and the human figure are the protagonists in this series, possibly connoting the journey within the inner recesses of the mind.

Representations of architecture in print form are appended on to the picture plane and blended into the background. Motifs from these prints themselves recur, achieving a different spatial reference. These works may be interpreted as self-representation, one's journey, or as a pictorial document of man's frustrations expressed in restrained blues and ochres.

The colours receive a translucent treatment with the acrylic medium handled in the technique of watercolours. Fragmented parts are predominant with the depiction of man and object vying for attention, possibly symbolising the varied facets of man, society and the world at large.

Experiments with materials and colours have resulted in Jacob Jebaraj's paintings on corrugated paper, canvas pasted into shapes and mixed media works. Painting moves away from the traditionally flat format and the canvas is moulded on to variously shaped supports. Recognising that dimensions and the materials used are insignificant when weighed against to the conceptual expression of a work of art, he attempts to recreate experiences from his early life within his compositions.

Jacob's childhood fascination for dragonflies, compounded with stimuli gained from living beside the sea at Cholamandal, have resulted in paintings that mimic the flowery coral reefs in the depths of the sea, with dragonflies and butterflies seeming to spread their wings underwater. Fish, shells, manta rays and coral populate his paintings. Moving forms allure him and are rendered in the pretext of wings, fins and waves. This movement is reinforced in his paintings where the three-dimensional format necessitates that viewers move around the painting to take in the whole. Our vision only captures a fraction of the world at a time and this idea is transmitted through the paintings, which are not comprehensive studies or birds-eye views of his subjects but rather a representation of a part of the cumulative, which could then realistically be expanded on all sides to depict entirety. The cut edges in his paintings suggest such expanding experiences.

The exhibition is on at the Vinyasa Art Gallery, the Music Academy premises, TTK Road, till February 20.


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