The artist changes medium to suit his assorted intentions.

The artist changes medium to suit his assorted intentions.  

GENERATIONS OVER, artists have been preoccupied with and fascinated by notions of space and time. Space, in particular, has presented them with unique, if complex, openings, even while posing aesthetic-creative challenges. Not only artists, but also architects, theatre persons and designers are today concerned with the concepts of positive, negative and neutral spaces, and the effect they could have inside — and neighbouring — their works.

For the Alwaye-born artist, Hariraam, the thrill is "not only of creating spaces within space, bathed in lights and shades, with or without geometrical forms", but also in the distinct possibility of "my work turning out to be totally abstract!" The artist is currently based in Chennai, but had his art education at the Kalamandir School of Art, Bangalore, after his graduation from the University of Mysore. Holding his solo exhibition SPACES, at the Time and Space for Contemporary Art, Hariraam has put on view a set of forty-odd of his recent paintings.

On first glance, the viewer is drawn to the structural accuracy of the paintings, as seen in the well-defined lines, shapes, and carefully conceived geometry. But gradually, the eye is drawn to the expanding warmth and playfulness in some works, and in others, to the deliberately sullen and introspective. The perception of the mood and its handling are made interesting by the works, coming in different sizes and dimensions. The artist also changes the medium to suit his assorted intentions — it could be dry pastels, acrylic, watercolour or mixed media, on either paper or canvas. There are also a couple of linocuts (STEPS), small, but impressive, for their ruggedness and minimal use of colours.

In JANTAR MANTAR: TIME & SPACE I, Hariraam uses dry pastels on paper to create two distinct halves — one is monochromatic with clear and smudged squares, and the other has pink squares against a pitch background. In JANTAR MANTAR: TIME & SPACE III, the mood is distinctly lighter. The frame here is divided into four rectangles, and inside each of the rectangles are sharp triangles moving in one or the other directions. SPACES IN BLUE (acrylic on canvas) is a dark, yet attractive composition, where the image is dominated by the blue colour and small red squares, with flickering light snatches. PYRAMID (pastel on paper) assumes a somewhat comical and illustrative look with an antenna stuck on the apex of the pyramid.

Hariraam impresses with his smaller works as much as his larger ones. Many of his smaller works are titled SPACES, and present studies both in monochromatic and broader spectrum of colours. Some of them appear to envision close-up impression of naturally-lit gateways, pillars, and arches, while others size up multilayered edifices and sky-scrapers. Hariraam not only plays with "a combination of geometric forms, which go beyond the optical illusions", but also creates a distinctive visual experience by use of simple lines and blending of earthy colour.

The exhibition concludes on December 10.


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