Musings from Chennai
May – June 2011
by Vaishnavi Ramanathan
Focus Gallery presented Every Day Life, a solo show by Laxma Goud. The works in the exhibition consisted of etchings, pencil on paper works, sculptures as well as reverse painting on acrylic. But in the hands of the artist each of these mediums acquired a certain fullness that was also mirrored in the lush environments that these mediums created within the picture space. The abundance manifested in Laxma Goud's works was evident not just in terms of the fertile nature of the environment but also in the people who inhabit it. Earthy men and women meet each other, with the fertile nature of the environment in which they meet and the presence of a virile goat accompanying the couple creating a mood of sensuality and intimacy, thereby implying the creation of many other beings. Also in a more literal sense, many of his works present groups of people. However interestingly, even here, the artist maintains the intimacy of the encounter, by making one or at the most two figures make eye contact with the viewer. Therefore in the confined spaces of a crowd, Laxma Goud creates a different dimension of space; a complementary feature that is evident in many other areas of his works, such as in the way the bodily contours are revealed despite being clothed and in the way the artist seemingly reverts to monotone as if to atone for the use of vibrant colours in other areas. Furthermore, some areas in his works, such as the clothes, consist of fine decorative motifs defined by thin precise lines while on the other hand, the background consists of small, undefined patches of colour that are almost abstraction. Thus one could perhaps theorize Laxma Goud's works in a broader light by seeing them not just in terms of an encounter between the opposite sexes or between the people within and without the picture space but ultimately as an encounter between two different artistic languages and attitudes- abstraction and design.
Dakshina Chitra's art gallery presented E. Gopinath's exhibition of ceramics. The dominant feature of his works was the way they referred to materials other than those that were used to make them. E. Gopinath's ceramics predominantly consisted of human form with bodies shaped in pliant sheet like forms. The textured body of the figures evoked the feel of rough cloth while the fragility of the ceramic medium echoed the changeable nature of a form fashioned out of cloth where one form gives way to another. Just as his free standing sculptures enfolded the surrounding pace, the heads that he created had cut out areas thereby playing with the idea of space and the analogy of internalising ideas from the surrounding environment.
Other shows that took place in Chennai over the last month included a solo show of A.P. Paneerselvam's works at Art World which featured mostly abstract works done by the artist using broad strokes of colour. Art and Soul gallery presented an exhibition of works by K.G. Narendra Babu, Bhavani Shankar, Hariram Bhagwan Shankar Chavan, S Bhavani Shankar, Ravi Dhanapal, V Hariraam, N Karoonamoorthy and K Balasubramanian.