Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Review - In an Amazonian Reverie, Amma Umma, The Journey Continues and more..


In An Amazonian Reverie

A sharp streak of sun cuts the quiet dark pond into two, illuminating just about one portion of an open white lotus and the sensual curve of a lotus leaf, which shies away as if hiding a quiet erotic secret. Everything else in the overpowering visual is suspended in a dark latent silence of an awakening.  Amidst the calm, a streak of reality which shears the notion of assumed harmony and rose tinted pacifiers of pretty pictures, such is the power of artist Senaka Senanayake’s works, observes Sushma Sabnis

(Cycle of Life by Senaka Senanayake)
Yale educated Sri Lankan artist, Senaka Senanayake is known for his liberal use of colour. A Buddhist by choice, Senaka tries to bring nuances of balance and happiness into his work, even while most of his canvases, on deeper observation, address larger issues related to the environment and nature. In his solo ‘In an Iridescent Land’ on display at the Tao Art gallery, Mumbai, the artist brings forth his concern for the Sri Lankan rainforests and the rapid deforestation and decimation of entire ecosystems, geographically exclusive and rare. Senaka’s work highlights the beauty of the slowly diminishing species of plants, animals and birds which have been adversely affected by man made destructive devices and greed.

Most of his works on display in this collection focus on a profusion of richly coloured flora and fauna, plants animals and birds indigenous to the rainforests like parrots, macaws, cockatoos, various weaver birds, hornbills, underwater fishes, tropical plants, heliconia, pitcher plants etc. The lotus predominantly surfaces in his works. Perhaps the artist tries to affirm the strength of this beautiful bloom even though its roots are in murky ponds, the affirmation of nature’s triumphs yet again.

(Lotus Bloom by Senaka Senanayake)
Senaka anoints his canvases with repetitive motifs, yet there is a uniqueness in the rendition of each of these works. He illuminates and gives depth to an otherwise flat painted canvas surface, by layering the skin of the canvas with a multitude of ‘orb’ shaped roundels. The entire painting at times appears as if seen under numerous torch lights, with specific areas highlighted. The intensity of each of these orbs varies and hence the depth, foreground, middle ground and background is established ever so subtly, it almost feels like a movement on the stationary painted surface. In some canvases, he alternates these orbs with rays of sunlight. These are glazes of thinned paint, applied close to the painted image so as to give it three dimensional effects. As a result, the painting breathes, moves and comes ‘alive’. 

(Bright Flight by Senaka Senanayake)
For Senaka, the ‘orb’ by itself is a shape of significance. The circle of life which everything passes through, and hence his usage of it in most of his works. Also interesting is the composition of the elements of the paintings, where the artist uses one dominating bird or animal or flower as a centre of focus, and then builds the rest of the composition with elements which may or may not have any connection to it, but work together as an over all balance of the visual aesthetic. The viewer's eye does not rest only on one part of the painting.

After the initial awe of the obvious beauty of these works, Senaka pushes the viewer closer to the actual problem at hand. An African parrot, with its wings open, displays its underside which is browned and on the verge of decay, the polyps of a coral no longer form the multiple pronged life sustaining coral reefs, the Octopus garden underwater shows butterfly fish and lost clownfish, the curling leaves of the banana plantation speak of contaminated soil. Such subtle and some direct implications are the artist’s concern for the environment. He believes there is a lot to be saved and prevented from being lost, and instead of painting the ugliness of it, he prefers to paint its beauty, in all its multifarious splendour.
(Plantain Paradise by Senaka Senanayake)
 The other feature that one would be completely drawn to in Senaka’s works are the hues of colours one encounters. Moving from simply pinks, reds, greens and yellows, Senaka the master blender of colour generates a palette that can only be comparable to nature herself. The musical golds and yellows, the array of luminous whites in a white lotus bloom never seemed so exquisite. The greens are vibrant and fluorescent and the images transport the viewer into a landscape reminiscent of the Henri Rousseau's paintings, ‘The Dream’ or ‘The Equatorial Forest’. While Rousseau’s paintings had a more panoramic view of the scene, Senaka hones in on the subject, each brush stroke enhances the texture and colour making a petal more ‘real’, a coral reef more ‘touchable’, a fruit more ‘juicy’. This usage of colour and blends or hues to enhance an object to make it three dimensional, induces in the viewer a cohesive sensorial experience. One could hear the sounds of rainforest, smell the flowers, be vary of the notorious pitcher plants, tread carefully across the bog of lotuses, look up at the sky as the bunch of parrots fly past, and one would be a part of this artist’s unique iridescent  reverie, rich in colours, happy and fragile.

The show, ‘In an Iridescent Land’ is on view till 10th November 2013.

Amma, Umma!

India International Centre, New Delhi presents an art exhibition with the theme of Mother’s love. Titled ‘Amma, Umma!’, the two words are synonyms and implies mother as a metaphor for essence, basic, and beginning in Tamil and Korean. Displayed by a number of Korean and Indian artists, the art exhibition includes a variety of contemporary art works.

The exhibition includes the works by artists from Korea - Shin Sun Mi, Lee Lee Nam, Lee Kwang Ho, Oh Su Fan, Ha Taeim, Lee Hosin, Hong Jiyoon, Lee Jesam, Byen Ungpil and Kang Kwan Wook. The works of Indian artists like Amitava Das, Dileep Sharma, Farhad Hussain, Gigi Scaria, Harsha Vardhana Swaminathan, Jin Sook Shinde, Sham Pahapalkar, Tanmoy Samanta, Vanita Gupta and Zakkir Hussain will also be on display. 

The show is on view till 7th November 2013.

Citizen Artist: Forms of Address
(Work by Rashid Rana at the show)
Chemould Prescott Art Gallery, Mumbai presents a show, ‘Citizen Artist: Forms of Address’. 
The exhibition is organised as part of celebrating 50 Years of the gallery and is curated by Geeta Kapur. On the display will be the works of various artists like Jitish Kallat, Rashid Rana, Shilpa Gupta, Pushpamala N, Gigi Scaria and Tushar Joag. 

Also, included in the show are Raqs Media Collective, Arun Kumar and Inder Salim.
The artists displaying their work have a political approach and their work represents revolutionary ideas, anarchist, anti-fascist, anti-colonial and issues related with feminism.
The show is on view till 15th November 2013.

Own An Original
( Work at the show)
Art and Aesthetic Gallery, New Delhi, presents, ‘Own An Original’ is a unique concept that aims at making contemporary art more available to all art enthusiasts. It aims to promote art collectorship among new and young collectors as well as emerging art lovers.

The exhibits are available in a postcard format, redefining the boundaries of conventional painting formats. These exhibits are available in water colours, drawings and mix media paintings by a diverse group of artists ranging in style, form and expression.

The participating artists include Amitava Das, Anjum Khan, Hans Shinde, Jai Zharotia, Kanchan Chander, Manjunath Kamath, Mantu Das, Mitali Shah and several others.

The show is on view till 4th November 2013.

The Journey Continues

( Work by Vinita Karim at the show)
Gallery Art & Soul, Mumbai presents a solo show of exquisite works by artist Vinita Karim. The immensely talented artist is all set to capture the hearts of all the art lovers through her range of artworks titled 'The Journey Continues'. The artist has presented her journey of self discovery and her thoughts on the canvas. 

The artist holds a degree in Masters of Fine Arts from University of Philippines. She loves traveling and applies her observations in her paintings. She has presented various solo exhibitions and has also been a part of several group exhibitions. 

The show is on view till 17th November 2013.

( News reports by Sushma Sabnis)

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