Glow show

JEKYLL AND HIDE EFFECT One of Murugesh's works (above) during the day and (below) by night PHOTO: T.SINGARAVELOU

JEKYLL AND HIDE EFFECT One of Murugesh's works (above) during the day and (below) by night PHOTO: T.SINGARAVELOU   | Photo Credit: 619

T.Murugesh's dual glow paintings appears different at night

Can the dark reveal something that light cannot? During the day, we witness the blistering sun in an azure expanse. At night, the same expanse darkens to reveal the mellow moon and the stars. If it is possible in the great canvas above, to show different images by light and by dark, is it possible to achieve that on an artist's canvas?

T. Murugesh, a 28-year old artist from Puducherry and a product of Bharathiyar Palkalai Koodam, has made it possible. His latest set of paintings, now on display at the Maison Colombani, presents dual glow images on the same canvas.

The idea, Murugesh reveals, came from the glow-in-the dark stars stuck on the ceiling at his sister's house. “Why not use the same technique for serious art, I thought. But I was a little apprehensive about the it being dismissed as decorative art, and not taken seriously” he candidly admits.

But he persevered nevertheless, for nine months, with acrylic and radium; the acrylic image visible during the day, and the radium image visible only at night. What resulted was a series of dual image paintings that perfectly depict Murugesh's learning curve, as he experimented - and became more adept - with this technique over the months.

Some of these, particularly the initial attempts on paper, have no ‘concept' behind them , as Murugesh was simply ‘having fun' and experimenting with the technique. ‘Thavam,' the image of a sage in the light, and a psychedelic version of the same sage at night, is an example. Later on, Murugesh started imbibing the theme of love and harmony in his works, as one image revealed something related to the other. ‘Shishu' depicts the face of an infant in the light, and the same painting at night, labeled ‘Innocence' shows an infant in the foetal position, plummeting through space for his arrival on earth.

The technique, however, wasn't easy to execute, let alone perfect. Murugesh first created the acrylic image, and then used radium solution to paint over the acrylic image. Transparent radium made it impossible for him to make out exactly what he was painting. “I actually worked at night, blocked out all sources of light to make out what I had painted, and then turned on a table lamp, to continue painting,” he says. This transparency, however, helped him see what lies beneath the radium layer. But again, it was impossible for him to make any corrections, as radium solution dries very quickly. “It was a difficult learning process,” the artist confesses. “Often, the radium would mix with ink to produce some very undesirable effects, as it did in some paintings, were I had used ink apart from paint. Those aren't on display here,” he laughs. Murugesh's early works reveal a part of the dark image during the day itself, resulting in the images not being completely exclusive. But as he got better at it, he was not only able to effectively hide the dark image completely, but also experiment a lot with textures, producing emboss and matt effects.

The result is dazzling: fluorescent reds, greens and blues contribute a lot to the artist's fantastic visions of animals and humans in conversation, fluid forms floating in water and unity of diverse physical forms. Although sunlight has been blocked with the help of dark curtains, the exhibition is best viewed after dark.

“At the exhibition, I am learning a lot,” gushes Murugesh. “When I sit down to work on my next set of dual image paintings, I will use radium for block images, instead of small ones, and experiment with space and colours,” he says.

The exhibition is open from 8.30 a.m. to 7 p.m. till December 3 at Maison Colombani.


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