“I would like to call myself a figurative artist,” says artist R.B Bhaskaran

R B Bhaskaran brings art he has made in the last 50 years that includes paintings on cats, couples and lines from Ilayaraaja’s poems

Artist R B Bhaskaran carefully examines each his paintings after they are unwrapped at the Art Houz gallery. These are 70 selected pieces from 50 years of his works. “Do not ask me for the meanings of my art. I am also searching for them,” he says. Bhaskaran is the former chairman of Lalit Kala Akademi. He was also the principal of the Government College of Art, Chennai and College of Art, Kumbakonam. He is in Coimbatore to show his works at an art exhibition cum sale called 50 Years. The show has been organised by his former student Parudhi Gnanam in association with Art Houz.

Bhaskaran grew up in a family of artists in Chennai. His biggest inspiration as a child was his maternal uncle, Namashivayam Pillai who had a business of painting film banners in the 1930s. “These banners were kept outside the theatres during the show. As a young boy, I observed the artists work on the film posters. I started by cleaning the brushes that they used. With time, I progressed to paint using four-inch and six-inch brushes. My biggest dream when I joined college was to be another Namashivayam Pillai. I wanted to paint movie banners,” he laughs.

Info you can use
  • 50 Years is on till February 25; 10:00 am to 6:00 pm
  • At Art Houz, Jenneys Residency, Avinashi Road
  • Price of Bhaskaran’s works range upward of ₹30000
  • Call 04224335777 for details

“All artists start by replicating the works of others. With time, they carve out a unique style. Now, I would like to call myself a figurative artist,” explains the 76-year-old. Painting is an organic process for him. “The canvas has to sync with me. Once it happens, forms evolve. It need not always happen in one go. In such situations, I leave the painting to itself for a while and go back to it later.”

Bhaskaran’s inspirations are Nature, human beings and cats. “I have a series called Cats. I have a lot of them at home. I do not know how many. I observe their movements and bring it into my canvas.” Another series is called Couple. It is inspired by photographs of couples one sees hanging on the walls of many homes. He points out one of his art work saying, “This is how couples pose in a photography studio.” He shows another drawing of a cat, where the paint is smudged on the paper. “This is a technique. I poured the ink from a cap on to a wet paper. The smudge gives it a dramatic effect,” he explains. He adds that for him posture, balance and composition are important in any art.

“I would like to call myself a figurative artist,” says artist R.B Bhaskaran

He uses acrylic, oil, crayons and mixed media for his works. “Acrylic is my favourite. It is easy to work with and dries easily. In case of mistakes, it can be corrected with a fresh coat of paint.” For Illayaraja fans there is a treat because Bhaskar is also showing the paintings he has done based on Ilayaraaja’s poems. “He asked me to choose the lines from his poems and interpret them in my art. I painted 17 canvasses on his request. I retained the originals and gave him copies.”

The artist has participated in 60 exhibitions in India, The UK and Netherlands.“This is my first exhibition in Coimbatore. I am excited. I dedicate this show to the memory of S Dhanapal, an eminent sculptor and the former principal of College of Arts, Chennai on the occasion of his 100th birthday on March 3.”

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Printable version | May 23, 2020 3:29:49 PM |

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