Vidya Sundar’s surreal canvases present the human form through motifs of nature
Visual artist Vidya Sundar grew up in Kannur in Kerala and the scenic beauty of the place made a lasting impression on her. It can still be seen in the artist’s canvases. “The places I went to and the time I spent in Kannur, have always stayed with me,” Vidya reveals. This weekend, the Vismaya Gallery hosts an exhibition of the Chennai-based artist’s selected works from the past decade. The show, titled Tones of Seasons, was inaugurated by eminent painter JMS Mani.
Vidya recalls her first experience with painting, “I was in Class 8 and we were studying the poem Chandalabhikshuki by the renowned Malayalam poet Kumaran Asan. The teacher told us to draw something based on that and I took it very seriously and made my first painting.” After getting married and relocating to Chennai in 1994, Vidya took up painting full time. She was initially inspired by the European masters, such as Rembrandt and the Impressionists, but slowly found her own distinct style.
Vidya paints landscapes, usually acrylic on large canvases. All her works are based on themes of nature and are heavy on motifs such as flowers, leaves or the moon. “When I say nature, I don’t just mean plants or animals. Humans and our emotions are as much part of nature as everything that surrounds us,” she adds.
A unique thing about her paintings is that they never tangibly feature any humans, but the lines create an illusion of a human figure. For instance, take her painting Jyotir Gamaya. It features two fish rising from the water with a lotus in front. The fish echo the body of a woman, and the flower gives the illusion of a face. Vidya takes inspiration from her readings and music. For example, her painting the Hyacinth Girl, is named after a line from TS Eliot’s The Waste Land. The 27 canvases featured in the exhibition are from the various series that she has worked on over the years, such as Ragas, Silent Songs, Memories Dreams and Desires, and Ritusamhara.
Till October 28.
At Rangoli Metro Station, MG Road