LIFE

A good art show

The Eleventh Annual Exhibition at the Chitram Art Gallery in Kochi, which began on October 20, gives ample indication about the situation in which artists find themselves these days.

Featuring works by 40 eminent artists, the exhibition, organised by the gallery to mark its anniversary, is representative of the current trends in the art scene. From realism to illustrative art to abstraction.

However, the crowds are missing. So far, only three of the works featured at this exhibition have been sold. "The situation is bad for art market,'' said one of those at the gallery. The fall in foreign tourist traffic has affected the sale of art works too.

Still, the gallery has managed to put up a good show. The most impressive among the lot being five works by K.N. Ramachandran. He has captured different moments in village life — in dark, realistic shades. His experience is visible in the way he directs the gaze of the viewer to the desired spot — by keeping the details in soft focus.

Even though there are many works based on the theme of man's connection with Nature, all of them break the boundaries of realism at some point or other to enter the realm of stylisation. As does Sunil Vallarpadom in his untitled work. The rather big canvas of size 100 x 115 cm, is mostly empty, except for the central figure of a boy selling flutes.

But this figure is hazy and improvised.

Also, there is this tendency to return to the detailed illustration style of murals. As could be seen in works by Saju Thuruthil, Prakash Odakkali and Venkitaraman V. Those at the gallery have done good preparation for the show, as the invitations are sent to artists well ahead.

Those who look forward to a boom in the art market could only wish that by the time this show ends on November 5, the Chitram Art Gallery does sell more works.

By Anand Haridas

Photo: Vipinchandran

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