Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Checking out the Souza retrospective

Volte-Face’ at Lalit Kala Akademi (LKA), Rabindra Bhavan, New Delhi displays legendary artist F.N. Souza's ‘Iconoclastic Vision’.

Among the most controversial and revolting members of the Progressive Art Group (PAG), his starkly strong and brash oeuvre encompassed landscapes, still life, nudes, faces and heads. The show courtesy Dhoomimal Art Gallery brings out how the master artist's practice is fraught with a visible edgy tension that makes his febrile figures extremely virile and taut. Cardinals, popes, houses, ubiquitous men and women in his paintings are right on the edge of an abyss that almost tears them asunder, albeit their tensile forms are well encapsulated by an apparent whiplash boundary.

This exhibit consists of nearly two hundred works - pen & ink drawings, oils, chemical paintings as well as watercolors. They together represent different phases and milestones of his illustrious career. A curatorial note elaborates:

“We get to see the master's works at his demonic best. His belief that in dredging up the dragon from deep within rather than suppressing it, one can confront and ultimately vanquish it lies at the core of his creativity. The presence of evil in his work jolts complacency. It brings an acute awareness of its lurking influence of human beings. A special focus is on the fractured faces which created his masterly language of art.”
The works from Dhoomimal Gallery Collection let us catch a glimpse of his frankly sexual women capable of epic heights, ghoulish heads, apart from chaotic landscapes and stormy houses constructed in forceful, frenzied brushstrokes. There is also a showcase of his female figures painted with his frankly candid vision.

Art expert Yashodhara Dalmia has curated the exhibition with an essay written by her. Gallery walks, panel discussions, film screenings and works of art by established contemporary artists in synergy with the late master complete this special show.

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