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Personal strokes

The works of the four artists on show at Artworld are insightful, evolved through personal experiences and memories

Exploring Nature: Painting by Jacob Jebraj

ALL THE four artists are explorers. They explore various dimensions of Nature, the human mind and its synchrony with the physical body. The juxtaposition of their works within the confines of the gallery space overwhelms the viewer. The colours are rich, animated, resonant, vibrant and dazzling, the figures distorted, exaggerated and phantasmonic, and the technique overtly inventive, innovative and different. The performance of this quartet is insightful and perceptive, evolved through personal experiences and memories, enabling a peek at their private worlds through their visual language.

The four artists in question are Asma Menon, B. O. Shailesh, Jacob Jebraj and A. Viswam showcasing their works at the Artworld. Asma "journeys into the caravan of dreams and hopes" recreating an ambience that is fairy tale like and an imagery that is folksy in character. Through archetypal symbols such as the fish and the bird, she indexes the mysteries of Nature that remain invisible and unfathomable, which the human mind realises through the medium of dreams and fantasies. In a world like this created by Asma, she juxtaposes the duality confronting every individual. The pragmatic and the imaginative that exist within every individual are manifested as the fundamental concept, establishing vehemently the careening imagination, which enables realisation of a utopian world otherwise denied. The metonymy of her fairy world is through her visual repertoire, in which the pop colours of the mass culture define the contours of her individual world. Painstakingly she details with jazzy colours the flora and fauna binding them tightly in lustrous black outlines. To look at Asma's canvas is to counter a `reel reality'.

Painting by Asma Menon

Existentialist works

Shailesh' works are existentialist in the way he provides an interface of his experiences with the canvas and the ideas that emerge from this confrontation. The energies that intrinsically relate to this method, set a paradigm for his emotions and intuitions to interplay and interact through the iconic form of the `human body'. The versatility of the human form finds expression in the yogic feats, offering balance of spirit and body. Shailesh's works are inscribed with subtle humour and wit, as he plays with the visual culture available to him saying, "there is nothing new, nor anything to invent, so one has to take what is readily available and `quote' it in the works". And this he displays through "I AM" that is a take off on

Ravinder Reddy's works faithfully inscribed with the inventory of his huge sculptures in terms of dimension and material used. This mimicry of another artist's work or sighting of traditional pieces of sculpture like the Bahubali underpins Shailesh's philosophical approach to his creativity. His works in that respect are dense and invite an intimate scrutiny to get to the crux. Then the apparent playfulness dissolves and a seriousness of purpose emerges. His close reading of tradition manifests in his appropriate use of iconography, for instance, "I AM HEARING" in which the flower close to the ear is black, significantly symbolising the absorption of auratic waves since nothing deflects from black. Jacob, in his artistic statements, travels down memory lane, going back to his childhood days spent in close communion with Nature and chasing dragonflies in open fields. The dragonfly becomes a leitmotif in his works. With a mindset that invites constant experimentation and innovations, Jacob in his works indulges in using metal support and exploring its surface through printing, painting, repoussing in which choreographic line becomes a dominant centrality. The line as an element has great valence for Jacob since it is subconsciously nurtured through exposure partially to the works of Ramanujam or Paniker or other Cholamandal artists where he resides. The line dynamically creates a sense of movement, and this can be attributed to the peripatetic path of the dragonfly, internalised by the artist. Jacob in many ways is eager to create individualist trajectories and this is evident in his three dimensional mobile installations that have interesting iconography of fish, man and dragonfly. Scripting such an exercise with archetypal symbols, Jacob subconsciously is pointing towards his intensity and sensitivity to the creative process and desires to signpost it with a difference.

The ubiquity of five elements finds appropriate representation through slashes, dashes and vigorous brushworks in Viswam's canvases. The colours are hot and dynamic or cool and relaxed creating abstractions that are representative of the "dynamic energy of Nature".

The show is on till February 27 at Artworld, Ganeshpuram 3rd Street, ph: 24315371.


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