J.M. S. Mani’s latest works have a rich narrative
The small-format works of Karnataka-based J.M.S. Mani, showcased at Apparao Galleries, is a dramatic departure from his well-developed signatorial style of the Badami series. There are no associations with dark-bodied villagers, bustling markets, and the sartorial attires of men and women.
Nevertheless, these acrylic works of Mani are interesting from the standpoint of technique and subject. As one scrutinises his works, strange creatures begin to take form and it is left to the viewers’ imagination to give them a name. This allows Mani to indulge his technique as well his forms.
For instance, the fish is an enigmatic symbol employed by the artist. Fish symbolises creative impulses, foresight, fortune and knowledge. Through it, he attempts to represent fluidity of sensation, feelings, thoughts and imagination. The bright flashes of oranges and magentas represent the searching mind.
He works with easy facility, yet his works have a rich narrative that requires decoding. The style can be categorised as quasi-abstract as the interplay of forms maintains the credence of semblance-dissemblance.
And, dark colours as deep earth browns are relieved by deep sea blues, strident magentas, glowing oranges and pristine whites.
The style is marked by primitive simplicity, aggressive brushstrokes and strident yet brilliant chromatic contrasts. His works are on at Apparao Galleries, II Floor, until March 21.
ASHRAFI S. BHAGAT