A portrait of an artist
Taking a peep inside Murukeson’s world of art, T. SARAVANAN discovers his propensity for abstract portrayals
Photos: G. Moorthy
Different strokes Transcending customary techniques
Works of painter K C Murukeson are best described in clichéd terms, modern yet traditional, contemporary yet classic.
A first look at his oil paintings can leave you puzzled if you are trying to figure out what the artist is trying to portray. But step closer to discover the essence of art wrapped in an amazingly clever use of white space and a brilliant mixture of different hues.
An awardee of the senior fellowship in the field of painting (visual art) for 2008-2009 from the Ministry of Culture, Government of India, this quintessential painter from Kallandhiri,18 kilometres north of Madurai, never fails to capture the images that get registered in his mind. In Wordsworthian style, he too seeks refuge in nature for his subject matter.
Painter of nature
“My tryst with nature started right from my childhood when I used to spend days on virgin greeneries. I tread on many untreaded paths and drew inspiration for my paintings from there. The rural set up provided me with a riot of themes,” says Mr. Murukeson displaying his full repertoire at his 24th one man show organised in the city last weekend.
A class topper in Post Graduate Diploma in Painting from Government Arts College in 1969, 64-year-old Murukeson’s enthusiasm knows no bound when he comes across any natural phenomenon.
Be it the sun breaking through the rain clouds and its mild rays strewn across fields or puff of white clouds comfortably perched atop mountains and reluctant to budge — the impact of his paintings on the spectator is inexplicable.
“Even before I became a professional painter, I used to start my day very early, at 4.30 a.m. A habit which I continue till date as this is the best time to be in communion with nature. Not all my paintings get over in a day. Sometimes it takes a couple of weeks to finish a work of art,” says the artist who gets inspired by the sylvan surroundings.
But don’t look for any realism in his paintings. For, he has come a long way from being a painter of realistic portrayals. He has transcended from realism to cubism and to abstract now.
“I did some realistic paintings early in my career on popular requests. But taking off from it was not that easy for me. Thrilled by cubistic paintings I started experimenting with it. But perfecting it took a long time. I realised that if I had to bring my individual excellence to the fore then I had to thrash all dimensions associated with painting. It was an evolution for me. Now I don’t mind colour or the realism. What I strive to achieve is the feel my painting will create on the spectator. More reliance on the feel has helped me to perfect my art. I call my style as cubistic abstract,” he avers.
Murukeson’s treatment technique and colour combinations are quite different from what one gets to see otherwise.
“My individualism is well reflected in treatment of colours. My paintings titled ‘Sun burst’ and ‘Green woods’ are testimony to my treatment technique. In the ‘Sun burst’, I used Indian yellow as the base and then pasted vermilion red, crimson and chrome orange to boost the bursting out effect. Sun and moon are my pet subjects. I don’t have any definitive goal when I start a painting. I don’t try to achieve any predetermined target either. I go by my instincts. Whatever comes to my mind I put it on the canvas,” he explains.
Having won numerous awards, including those from the Tamil Nadu State Lalit Kala Akademi, Chennai, and the Association of Young Painters and Sculptors, Mr. Murukeson feels that lack of English speaking skills has been a big stumbling block to his elevation into the world of international painters. Still, he is able to make his presence felt through numerous exhibitions.
He is also able to communicate well through the canvas that has stood him in good stead.
“Though I feel a bit let down when it comes to expressing what I feel about my paintings, I find solace in my paintings, through which I try to explain what exactly I wish to put forth,” he says, oozing enthusiasm.
His 40 years of intimacy with the full palette, has helped Mr. Murukeson carve a niche for himself.
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