Saturday, July 28, 2012

‘Alone | Together’ by by Riyas Komu and G. R. Iranna

A joint exhibition of works by Riyas Komu and G. R. Iranna, entitled, ‘Alone | Together’, takes place at Aicon Gallery, New York. It features a selection of paintings and sculptures by the two highly talented contemporary artists from India who have been long at the forefront of Indian art scene.

Both artists, a natural counterpart to one another, resort to representations of the human figure so as to draw upon the sociopolitical implications that are inherent in the country’s post-colonial culture as greatly affected by themes of gender, identity, religion, and media. Here’s a quick glance at their respective practices courtesy the gallery:
  • Riya Komu’s hyper-realist portraiture focuses relentlessly on the individual to establish a unique identity. As a painter, sculptor, installation artist and cultural commentator, he draws inspiration predominantly from manifestations of gender and religion as defining notions of the individual. Komu is predominantly known as a portraitist, having recently completed a series of commissioned large-scale works of prominent South Asian political figures for The New Yorker,
  • G. R. Iranna examines the dynamic tensions between the individual and the societal group, particularly in his sculptural groupings of blindfolded naked figures. This celebrated sculptor and painter creates disquieting canvases and large-scale installations. Like Komu, his predominantly figurative works are concerned with broader sociopolitical subjects. Synthesizing a confluence of varied inspirational strands of thought, Iranna poses interpretations of agrarian life and allusions to Buddhist philosophies alongside imagery evoking captivity and alienation to chart man’s problematic journey through life.
  • His shifting focus evokes a fluidity of spatial and social contexts, often questioning the blindness of faith in both religion and the mass-consciousness of teeming societies. His figures are often superimposed against ethereal landscapes, as if separated from any possible existing environment and isolated from humanity at large. Iranna’s sculptures follow a similar concept, their tactile quality and submissive postures evoking feelings of empathy, isolation and horror in the viewer. Steeped in notions of restrained or passive resistance, the works are abstractedly realistic in their minimalist modality.
  • Creating allegories of the collective experience, as conveyed by individuals captured in attitudes of waiting, foreboding or memorializing, Komu gives prominence to the faces of his subjects, literally giving expression to the wider hardships of which they are a part. The theme of globalization and the movement of power from individuals and communities, into the hands of corporations and governments is a central concern of Komu’s practice.

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