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Connecting thoughts and images

A passion for the visual art is unmissable in the works of Girish Menon and Sridhar Turaga

One of Sridhar Turaga's works

TWO MUMBAI-BASED artists, Girish Menon and Sridhar Turaga, holding an exhibition of photographs and digital art works in the city, demonstrate differing styles and temperament, but bear a common passion for the visual art. While Girish calls his collection Carousel, for Sridhar, it is Evolving Impressions.

Simple theme

"Carousel is the simple theme, which I choose to help connect wondrous thoughts," says Girish, who after majoring in Physics, went on to study photojournalism. This being his first major exhibition, he seems to get a bit over-enthusiastic by packing it with a wide variety of images — which are not only photographs, but digitally brushed pictures. His works, though, are well composed and balanced with the best efforts showing up in simple, uncomplicated, undemanding photographs.

In Goa, his camera sights a young street performer balancing herself on thin bamboo poles. In Kerala, the mood created by a smiling folk dancer with heavy makeup is highlighted using a dark background. In a pleasant black-and-white photograph, the positioning of a lone figure on the edge of a water tank adds the vital human element, while the ripples on the water surface and the dark shadows cast on the water by neighbouring structures add to the quiet drama.

The side-lit profile of a young girl is another pleasant image, although the high angle used dwarfs the perspective to an extent.

"Evolving Impressions helps my works convey a picture of the mental, emotional and physical transition of a creative mind," says Sridhar, who has been in the area of creative design both for web and print media since 1999. "I let the world wash over me, leaving traces of colour, shapes, and sounds. They accumulate in my sub-conscious, a reference library of things, places, people, and junk, waiting for the right time to surface. When I'm least expecting it, the juxtaposition of two things clicks and rewrites my thoughts, completing the magic circuit."

Sridhar's works largely depend on brilliant colours, movement, and manipulations afforded by the digital medium. While one could identify with his talent and ability to use technology as a means to further his visual imagery, the effect becomes a bit overbearing in some images.

In particular, the excessive concentric circles and decorations in Enfold, Kaleidoscopic Vision, Tinsel and Mandala are quite clichéd.

Contrasting moods

When he sobers down, less exuberant but more incisive images emerge as in the portrait of Lisa Gerrard and Gift Of Silence. In Tranquility and Break Free, he interestingly divides the frame to display contrasting moods and tones. In the latter work, a leaping figure captured in action and placed in the middle lends a dramatic touch.

The Wall, marked by simplicity and yet bringing in an intriguing perspective by locating a lonely silhouetted figure against intersection of a wall, and Wilderness, a neatly abstracted image with a splatter of greens and reds, are perhaps his best efforts.

Both Sridhar and Girish are young and enthusiastic artists. They still have a long way to traverse and produce a wider, more incisive set of works. Considering their age, interest to learn, and eagerness to experiment, one could hope that their passion in visual arts finds the right direction with passage of time and their gaining richer experience.

(The exhibition concludes at the Oxford Bookstore today.)


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