Contemplating colours

V Ramankutty’s abstract artworks are a colourful take on his inner thoughts. The exhibition ‘Promises to Keep’ focuses more on composition and texture

author_img Arya U R Published :  24th November 2022 05:59 PM   |   Published :   |  24th November 2022 05:59 PM

The company of drawing sheets and acrylic colours during the pandemic days enriched the creative thoughts of researcher and epidemiologist, Dr V Ramankutty. He found his rhythm of life and enjoyed deep conversations with his soul during the lockdown days using abstract art. 

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The veteran who is the youngest son of former Chief Minister C Achutha Menon has exhibited his artworks at the AMUSEUM Gallery of Modern Art in Vellayambalam. The walls of the art gallery are adorned with 40 or more abstract paintings of Ramankutty at the show titled Promises To Keep.

For Ramankutty, abstract art is one of a kind experience where he finds his rhythm of life and the wonder of the universe. “The title Promises to Keep comes from the influential poem, ‘Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening’, by Robert Frost,” says the artist.

The paintings take spectators on a journey of colours and textures. “Using colours, I have interpreted my inner thoughts. That’s what is special about abstract, it gives room for interpretation,” he adds. The artist has focused more on composition and texture within the paintings. “More than the meaning, what matters to me in art is the process of using colours. These were outcomes of my everyday engagements with paper and hues during the Covid lockdown.” 

He draws the basic shape first, then develops them like layers. Later, he masks them in various shades. It takes days to complete the final abstract painting, heinforms. “I am still trying to develop my skill on canvas. However, I feel more comfortable drawing on paper sheets,” says Ramankutty. 

The paintings Rock Music and Full Fathom Five, along with untitled ones, explore the many shades of brown. Ramankutty smiles and confesses. “Yes, I have explored the earthen tones more instead of the vibrant primary colours. Maybe it is due to my outlook on the world. I don’t find it colourful as I am ageing,” he says.The influence of grey shades is also notable in many of the works. But the paintings, Thought Machine, Heaven and Earth, and Tree of Life are a blend of bright shades that is sure to freshen up a stressed mind.

The beginning

The self-taught artist found his niche in painting from a small age. Though his focus shifted to academics, Ramankutty kept the artist in him alive through books. “Abstracts are more visually appealing and it is also a challenging art form. The tonal balance of colours in the abstract is very important and perfecting the skill is a real art. The texture of abstract paintings is mostly explored through wax painting as it is a very meditative process. Painting abstract is very easy but giving them titles for exhibitions is tiresome”, quips Ramankutty.      

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Apart from acrylic, the artist also uses ink and pen. Around 10 such paintings are showcased which he calls ‘Doodling in Abstract’. The veteran is also an expert in cartoons, especially on science-related topics.  “I have drawn science-related cartoons titled Black Hole for LUCA, an online Malayalam science portal. I have plans to release those cartoons as a book too”.

The artist also propounds on the need for healthy art courses and art appreciation engagements for school children. “I have witnessed that in foreign countries, children are taken to art gallery visits, either by parents or the school,” he says. According to him, this helps develop creativity and influences their outlook on life.  “You don’t need to be an expert artist to play with colours. Painting is a self-communication of your mind through colours on paper,” concludes Ramankutty.