The master's strokes

A week-long retrospective begins tomorrow on the works of the late G.S. Shenoy, one of the finest artists of the State


RADIANT LINES G.S. Shenoy; his work titled 'pride of the Purple Frock'

RADIANT LINES G.S. Shenoy; his work titled 'pride of the Purple Frock'  

Whether it was the rich landscapes, portraits, rock formations or the elephant-headed god, G.S. Shenoy's sensitive brush strokes outlined them with a unique freshness and radiance. Born in 1937 to a thriving business family in Dakshina Kannada, Shenoy chose to follow an inner creative call by joining the J.J. School of Art, Mumbai, from which he graduated in 1963. Thereafter, he dabbled successfully in several mediums and held solo and group exhibitions in different parts of the country. Alongside, he did his best to revitalise the art scene in Karnataka by becoming the moving force of Karnataka Kala Mela, South Kanara Art Council and such other forums.

"Although he was well-known for his landscapes, I will always remember him as one of the most competent and enthusiastic portraitists of his time," says Chandranath Acharya. "In this, he carried the special palette of J.J. School as it were. We were privileged to watch his demonstrations at institutions such as Ken School and Max Mueller Bhavan, where he executed portraits with amazing skill and speed. The maturity of his rendering and the vitality he brought to academic portraits made Shenoy an adventurous portraitist, one of the finest we ever had."

"Besides being a fine painter, Shenoy brought a new awareness and fostered art appreciation in Bangalore in the 1960s and 1970s," recalls S.G. Vasudev. "He was a very dynamic and committed person with immense organisational ability. The Kala Melas in which he was actively involved provided the much-needed platform not only for artists to meet with each other, but also for the artist community to reach out to common people. Shenoy was a great motivator and always loved challenges."

The master's strokes

One particular act of Shenoy has become part of the folk legend and is remembered to this day. "In 1970, in order to highlight the need for an appropriate public space for exhibiting works of art, Shenoy organised a group show on the footpath near the Bible Society on M.G. Road," remembers Bhaskar Rao, who was part of the group, others being Ramesh Rao and Sripathy Acharya.

"The response from both the general public and media was so spontaneous and wholehearted that this exhibition hastened completion of the Venkatappa Art Gallery... Shenoy had a rare charisma and attracted fellow-artists of different age and style to him. He had a drive to achieve anything that would support art and artists. As an artist, he was easily one of the finest watercolour painters of this country. The ease with which he could execute landscapes in watercolour has rarely been matched," he adds.

As a tribute to the artist who passed away in 1994 at 57, a week-long retrospective of Shenoy's paintings is being organised by Samyojitha Trust and G.S. Shenoy Art Foundation at the Venkatappa Art Gallery from August 21 to 27. The occasion would also mark the presentation of G.S. Shenoy Memorial Awards to artists S. Krishnappa and P.R. Arya Acharya on August 21. For details call 9845041552.

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