Raptures of joy: Mystical worlds at the show, Enchanted Realms

Aptly named, Enchanted Realms, the group show explores the works of eight artists, each with their concealed metaphors.

author_img Ujjvala K Published :  22nd August 2017 06:43 PM   |   Published :   |  22nd August 2017 06:43 PM

Behold animated bottles with contorted necks, a miniature of the Hindu deity Krishna painted inside a dolphin, and a flying turtle with the earth on its back among the many surreal conceptions on display at Gallery Veda. Aptly named, Enchanted Realms, the group show explores the works of eight artists, each with their concealed metaphors.

With around 50 paintings and a number of assorted pieces on show, the artists are at hand too, to walk visitors through the exhibition, while explaining their own ideas about their worlds of imagination. “The works are curated to appeal to the masses who have a very basic understanding of figurative art, and not so much for connoisseurs who appreciate the modern contemporary art of the kind that might not hold any significance to the latter,” explains Saira Biju, the gallery’s design specialist.

Long trunk running

“What if still life had life?” is a question that has been plaguing the artist Anand Shinde lately. Breaking free from the monotony of a regular arts practice, the professor of fine arts at the University of Chandigarh breathes news life into commonly drawn still life subjects such as fruits, bottles, flowers and leaves. Such elements are drawn with outlines and overlap each other in shades of blue and green.

Over these, three bottles are superimposed in popping colours. “Personally, I feel that these paintings symbolise overcoming the blues of depression, leading to jubilant colours that represent happiness”, offers Shinde. Sculptor-artist Karthikeyan Pitchimallian speaks of his privilege of spending two years with tuskers in the wild, which then influenced his brass sculptures that are a part of the show. Crafted in age-old techniques of wax casting from Tamil Nadu, the collection titled Caress is centred around the element of an elephant’s trunk. 

“The trunk is the body part of the beast that I incessantly interacted with during my venture into the woods,” reveals the Chennai-based artist. The beauty lies in the details, as the metal is smelted to depict the hair on the animal and carved to show the folds and crevices in the skin of a mammoth’s trunk. Another of his eye-catching works is titled, Rest on water, in which Karthikeyan depicts the ripple effect of water with objects immersed in it — all cast in brass.

Quill a mocking bird

Sunil Kumar, 26, presents his take on Indian mythology and paints the Lord Vishnu in the Kurmavatara, or turtle incarnation, as his interpretation of the exalted deity. In his canvas, he paints a turtle lifting a hill amidst a sea painted pristine white. The Varanasi-based artist offers, “This is a direct portrayal of ‘Ksheerasagara Madhanam’, a popular scene in the ancient texts.” In other paintings of the series, the turtle is seen carrying other distinctive representations of a cosmic existence. 

Pune-based Umakant Kanade is one of a few artists who still uses the crow quill to work on his canvases. Employing this technique, he develops 15 shades of black painted into leaves, boulders and birds surrounding a lake. The technique works well to reveal depth and shadows in the paintings. This monochromatic work offers a commentary on nature’s resilience and speaks of finding patience in times of trouble.

Patna-based Anu Priya promises to bring a taste of Himachal to Chennai with her Kangra style of art. Predominantly featuring Krishna and Radha, the 27-year-old’s painting combine ancient and contemporary elements, for instance, the deity in a dolphin’s body. Also on show is Ashok Parate’s mixed media series Cows, Rajesh Kumar’s Untold Nature collection and SK Srinivasan’s installations on traditional (“sombu”) copper pitchers.