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Advaita through art

A painting from the Advaita series, by Krishna Ashok  

An artist’s engagement with a theme cannot always be pre-determined, believes Krishna Ashok. His new series ‘Advaita’ is up for viewing at Iconart gallery, curated by Avani Rao Gandra. “My previous series dealt with the theme ‘Antaryami’ and I felt ‘Advaita’ will help me express myself further, focusing on the oneness that binds us all together. I don’t know how long this theme will continue,” he says, taking in the line up of paintings at the gallery.

The series features many of his recent paintings, done in the last one year. The artist who hails from Mangalagiri, Guntur, has carved a name for himself with his arresting figurative works marked by sharp features. “I have seen a gradual transformation in my figurative paintings. I used to like painting a subject, complete, in its surroundings. As I moved from series to series, I felt the need to draw more attention to the emotions depicted on the face and began to sort of zoom in,” he explains.

An earlier series that depicts women as mermaids, he points out, had him paint a human-mermaid form in its entirety. A series on windows, which followed, revealed all that it could as seen through a window. In Advaita, the artist lets the faces do all the talking. Krishna Ashok points to an arresting work that depicts the bond between a couple and feels that the greyish black tone he has used in the canvas is significant to the work. “I finished this painting a day before we opened the show. Through this series, I noticed how the colour tones I chose got darker with each painting. It wasn’t a pre-meditated choice. Now that I look back, I think over the years I’ve begun reaching out to darker tones,” he says. In the Advaita series, a hint of vermillion or turmeric often offsets the otherwise deeper, sombre hues. A swan-like ‘soul bird’ is a recurrent motif. “The soul bird, I felt, would be symbolic of the bond between any two individuals, not just a couple in love.”

He plans to exhibit Advaita in Delhi soon and is toying with a new series, E=MC “I started off wanting to express my thoughts on human relations. I drew from childhood memories, remembered people who helped me through my journey and recalled those whom I have lost and tried to express my musings. When I think of E=MC, I look at it beyond the context of Theory of Relativity. I look at it through the prism of human emotions,” he signs off.


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Printable version | Nov 26, 2021 12:08:40 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/Advaita-through-art/article14395203.ece

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