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Frames of expression

Bhawani Cheerath

ARTThe exhibition put up three artists was a mix of abstracts and figurative works.



sacrifice: No way to banish the blues. Photo: S. Gopakumar

THE GROUP show that was held at the Museum auditorium in Thiruvananthapuram was an assemblage of works by three artists who had distinctive styles of expression. If some frames reflected a dream-like irrationality, others found an enchanting artist in nature and yet others' frames had attained a quality with use of technology.

Self-taught artists

P. Kanakasanan, P. Retnasanan and S. Subhash are self-taught artists who pursued their diverse professions, but persisted in their artistic avocation. The works incorporate individual thoughts and a range of ideas of the changing world and of life itself. Working mostly with acrylic on canvas, Kanakasanan's works are a combination of abstracts and the figurative. He draws ideas from the traditional and the immediate world around him.

A medical photographer who was attached to the Medical College in Thiruvananthapuram, the artist says that the early lessons in art were from family members who were artists.

Contrary to preconceived notions of an Onam, in the frame by the same name, the artist uses unconventional colours and shapes to create the effect. Worked in dark shades of green and blue, the crowded canvas acquires a totally new look when viewed from a distance, the intermittent geometrical shapes resemble human forms and greenery that is typical of a Kerala landscape, creating the mood for Onam.

`Ganapathy Vishramam' (oil on canvas) restores to the god his elephant status, which the artist explains thus, "We have assigned this half-elephant half-human form, to a god. Here I visualise the god returning to his original status once the worshippers have all vacated the space." `Pookari,' `The Union,' `Mother and Child,' and `Vishukani' featured here also catch the attention of viewers. Each work retains an aesthetic quality and nature is often the source of ideas.

Figurative art

Figurative art takes up many of P. Retnasanan's frames. `Dusk' is a piece where the strokes create a feel of flow.

It is also an experience of the unreal. In frames dominated by human figures, it is the rural scenes of people on a ferry in `Ferry,' or seeking the protective embrace of a mother in `Abhayam' or the mood created in `Raghasyam,' which draw visitors to it. The artist uses the medium to convey his impressions on universal issues such as peace. Called `Peace', the work captures his impression in dull tones. While violent forms are depicted, huddling in the foreground are the lovers of peace, who, he says, "work for peace after violence has taken its toll, whereas their role is in preventing violence from erupting."

Digital art dominated the works of Subhash. Moving from the semi-abstract to the subtle forms, the frames were a celebration of colour.

The complex constructions of the pictorial space in magnificently rich and complex shapes make the digital frames appealing. The collection of 78 frames provided a range in moods, subject and use of colour by the three artists, who had employed the skills to create a visual impact.

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