From dark depths to radiant heights
- Padma Jayaraj
August 26, 2013
‘Innervision’ is a solo exhibition of the recent works by F.V. Chikkamath at Jehangir Art Gallery Mumbai (13th to19th August 2013). Hailing from Karnataka the artist did his Masters in Fine Arts from Gulbarga University. Participation in group shows, workshops and camps in the metros of India has enabled him to follow the path of a freelance artist. For the past decade he has been showcasing solo shows.
What attracts a viewer to his shows is its intellectual dimension. A ruthless honesty marks his creations. Sex, like hunger, is one of the most potent urges in living beings. His recent series are the images captured by the vision of the artist turned towards this enigma in humans. But the motif is that of an animal, the stalking stealthy cat. And voyeurism is the angle of perception. When the male is the actor, the female peeps through. Surrealistic in mode of expression, sex is analyzed from every angle: narcissistic, homosexual and bisexual, both in men and women.
‘A chase in vain’ shows the male in the form of a stealthy cat in its incessant search, thereby underscoring the powerful animal urge in humans. The ‘Pull’ is a huge painting symbolizing the sexual drive of a woman chasing her male counterpart. The workings of the physiological lurking within the human psyche down the evolutionary repressions is the theme of his show. ‘Self - arrest’ is the image of a cat entangled in its own tail, a pathetic picture of a man’s plight trapped in his own desires.
Self indulgence is another aspect that is brought to light. ‘Protest’ shows a female in a narcissistic mood, and a male on the sidelines antagonized by it. Similarly, ‘Savage’ shows a woman watching two dog-like men behaving in animal fashion. Both the works are oblique comments critiquing cultural notions. Unheard of in the annals of man’s story, the artist reverts to take a look at the way in which a female can hold the male in her palm, make him dance to her tune as in ‘Scheme’. In ‘Bell’, we face the question of who will bell the cat. And the answer lies in ‘Growth’, an understatement of the reality as the cat is let out of the bag.
On finely textured canvas in vibrant or in muted shades the chosen figure of an animal carves the intensity of its passions in small forms all over its body, as if they were tattoos. Acrylic on canvas the huge size of the paintings points a finger to introspect. The underpinnings of human cravings resonate like the song of the waves in a seashell. The show is an understanding of the cat’s tale as the process of growth inherent in nature. Perhaps the solo show chronicles the untold tragedy of our failures hindered by the sexual urge in our march towards progress and achievements.
From the darker shades of the libido we come out into the open space of visual joys in the group show of ‘Three Painters from Manipur.’ It is as if we entered a Garden of Eden. You simply enter the beautiful land of Manipur.
‘On the hill’ series by H. Kepenndra Singh is abstract paintings that make you stand and stare. An orchestration of many hues that captures the variegated moods of nature in different time zones, you feel the stirrings of joy well up within. Pleasing to the eyes, thrilling to the senses, the soul rises to transcendental heights.
From the paeans to Nature we turn to the simple annals of the hill tribes wrought by Y. Gunindro Singh. A cross section of the woman’s-scape in transparent softness is a tribute to the glories of human innocence and beauty. They pan across from the tribal woman to the lady. That the aesthetic angle is such a rich reward is highlighted in the contrasting approach of the artists.
But here too, man’s life is drawn in its starkness. Koolchandra M Them in his ‘Journey’ series, semi abstract as well as drawings, indicate the milestones on the road we take. A faceless female in traditional attire represents the traditional woman whose persona has been destroyed by dead customs. The drawing of a family shows the strong bond that has weathered the travails of life. At times the wrong track that we may choose will reach the tragic hole as in the ‘Portrait of a Lie.’
All the three artists hail from Manipur. A commerce graduate from Imphal Arts Collage, Koolchandra M Them has Diploma in Painting and Drawing. He has his studio in Imphal and has showcased his works in important national exhibitions across India. His portraits and paintings are treasured in private and public establishments. Gunindro Singh graduated from College of Arts and Crafts, Kolkata, and is an accomplished artist with many an award to his credit. He is a recipient of Senior Fellowship from the Department of Culture, Govt of India. He has been exhibiting solo shows since 1981. H. Kepenndra Singh, also from College of Arts and Crafts, Kolkata, is a receiver of Senior Fellowship from Department of Culture, Government of India and has participated in camps, workshops, group and solo exhibitions across India.
Here is the gateway that leads you to a hilly terrain in the North-eastern parts of India. What joy it gives to meet the peoples of different nations whose home is bound by geographical features yet part of this subcontinent, the rich diversity that marks the glory that is India.
Padma Jayaraj is a freelance writer on the Arts and travel and is a regular contributor to www.narthaki.com