Tuesday, July 31, 2012

‘Landscapes’ by Ramakrishna Behera

Ramakrishna Behera’s peculiar paintings have often been called as ‘hallucinatory visions’ and psychological maps’ or, as one critic has rightly said, “a state of flickering consciousness when the world’s myriad bits & pieces struggle to cohere in your senses.”

In a way, what perhaps strikes a viewer the most at first sight is the dizzying content of his works, the gallery appears to have sprung cosmic leaks. Black holes seem to emerge on the walls as if threatening to suck everything into their darker, murkier depths. It indeed takes a few moments for figure out what they try and portray, to make sense of the multiple layers at which each painting functions, and to piece together everything so as to fine tune your sense of perspective.

All these facets of Ramakrishna Behera’s paintings are well amplified in a new show of his works currently on view at The Nature Morte Gallery in Gurgaon. Revealing the most significant aspects of his works on view in terms of on the artist’s process and imagery, an essay by Janice Pariat elaborates: “His paintings are most certainly landscapes. They are inspired by real places: Ladakh’s mountains and monasteries, the countryside of the state of Orissa, the streets of Italy, and also the interior of the artist’s own home. Yet they employ distorted perspectives and subtly fold in images of outer space to become something far more complex than pure landscapes.”

Ramakrishna Behera has a very interesting background. The self-taught painter is trained as a Chemical Engineer, holding a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering from IIT Roorkee. He brings a scientist’s or researcher’s mind to the process of picture-making, leading to philosophical puzzles that denote Quantum Physics, Phenomenology, Psychedelia, Surrealism, and Cosmology.

Born in Orissa in 1977, Ramakrishna Behera lives and works in Faridabad, a suburb of Delhi. His work has been featured in several significant group exhibitions at the major art venues of India. A comprehensive catalog documenting his paintings from 2004 until today has been released to coincide with the solo exhibition.

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