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Of 'surreal' and real

G. Narasimha's canvases and charcoal drawings mounted at Alankritha Art Gallery have a simple visual vocabulary.

The works have a certain lyrical quality. — Photos: K. Ramesh Babu

ART SEEMS to be picking momentum in the twin cities - the burgeoning (albeit slowly) of the art galleries being an indicator. This does not necessarily mean the presence of an `art culture' - although it signifies slow steps forward in that direction. Alankritha Art Gallery (Plot no. 72 and 73, G2 Amar Co-operative Housing Society, Kavuri Hills, Jubilee Hills. Tel: 23100709, 9885080296) established more than a month ago is the latest gallery in the city which opened with an exhibition of paintings of Sripathi Pannur. At present the Gallery is holding an exhibition of paintings and drawings of G. Narasimha Rao of Guntur till September 24. The gallery is tucked away inside but Prashanti (the owner and curator) feels that since the clientele is mainly from Jubilee Hills and Banjara Hills, the location is ideal.

Narasimha Rao displays a colourful palette. The blues, greens, browns, oranges, yellows and so on are bound by the boundary of canvas. Yet there is an element of free play . The visual vocabulary is simple - swaying silk fabrics which resemble curtains are tangled, intertwined, knotted and ruffled to create the `floating' pattern.

Broadly the 25-odd paintings can be categorised under three main titles - Liberation, Flags of peace and Eternal flower. The silken `sashes' (which look like twisted drapes) painted in slightly varying ways (although there is no major difference), in a riot of colours may arrest the eye. In most cases, the entire canvas is subsumed in colours except for a `cloud' backdrop in the Flags of Peace category. In the `Eternal flower' the artist attempts to create a flower - a lotus, or a flame with some kind of a halo around the `motif' in an otherwise abstract format. Liberation connotes freedom from bondage and the emphasis in the works is still on the knots, coils, intertwining - the actual part of liberation is merged with this.

An idyllic picture of nature.

There is a certain `lyrical' quality imparted to the images. Although the paintings look `laboured' in terms of the colour, texture and form, an effort is made to locate them out of context - let them be as they are - take shapes as they go along - like the musical notes take shape in the course of a delineation of a raga. In that sense a `structure' emerges out of the `unstructured' although it is largely abstract.

The works paint a colourful picture - mostly dark and bright hues are used. The colours may be blinding at close quarters on account of their brightness. The works displayed at Alankritha are what the artist has been doing for some years now. There is not much change in this body of works. The artist may fall into a monotonous routine painting. Perhaps a change of subject or theme may infuse some vitality into his oeuvre.

If there is a kind of `surreal' effect in the oil paintings, the pen and charcoal drawings are `realistic' - more picture postcard types of nature. The artist may have painted his environs in a `copybook' style - in other words an idyllic picture is presented. That kind of serenity is possible in pristine areas untouched by man.

The brain behind the gallery, Prashanti, is a self-taught painter who has grown up in an environment of art - her mother and sister being hobby painters. She is enthusiastic to hold exhibitions to showcase art and in the process encourage young artists as well. Perhaps she should look with a keen eye to gain a perceptive insight into contemporary art and its trends.


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