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Thursday, Apr 08, 2004

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Art ADventure

Memories interpreted in contemporary language, daring line and intense colour make ad-man Alexander Zachariah's paintings fascinating

WITH A firm footing in the domain of commercial art, ad-man Alexander Zachariah, the face of Rubecon Communications, has chosen to reveal another facet of his artistic expression with an exhibition of his paintings. Coming after a break of about two decades, the works embody the experiences he has imbibed, not merely in terms of thematic approach but also in the forms they assume. The years of creatively engaging with design and page layouts are evident in the presence of variations in the rectilinear format, which is layered with essentially illegible text that metaphorically adds substance to graphic linearity and bold colouration.

Exploring that often forgotten realm of the past and stirring up memories of childhood, he uses line and colour to visualise what has in every sense gone forever, living feebly within the weighty leaves of a fading photo album.

These retakes from photographs unveil the identity of the artist, speaking of small-town roots, travel associated with having a parent in the Armed Services and followed by life within the matrix of the conventional joint family, a democratic acceptance of religion and the mixed experiences that spell childhood.

As a contrast to the portrayal of memories, Alexander indulges in recording momentary impressions from our daily milieu — images of crows indulging in juicy watermelon slices in the intolerable heat of summer, children heedlessly playing in the street, a dog howling into the night oblivious to the calm that surrounds him and vendors enduring all types of weather while peddling their wares, be it fish or fruits, accompanied by the dogs and crows so integral to our streets.

The eternal past and the ephemeral present coexist within his themes almost as though the artist is trying to appreciate every passing moment, for fear of it being lost in time. Traditional memories are interpreted in contemporary language with the daring line that defines forms being coupled with captivatingly intense colour. In his most recent paintings however, he uses the suggestion of softening line and merging planes of colour while considering the textural possibilities of the sgrafitto technique.

With the recognition of similar elements that comprise our past and by connecting with the identifiable images that Alexander Zachariah chooses to draw from the present, revelling in the familiarity that he creates is a gratifying process.

The exhibition of paintings opens tomorrow at Amethyst, Sundar Mahal, Jeypore Colony, Gopalapuram and will be on till April 12.


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