Thursday, March 28, 2013

A mixture of hyper-realism and fantasy, photo and painting

With media culture becoming universal, reflecting and representing post modern forms, photorealist art has acquired a contemporary hue with artists logically and instinctively turning to it for inspiration. Several Indian artists carefully sift through the barrage of visual content with an idea of recreating and relocating these references on canvas. For them, the process is not a mere reproduction or a dispassionate reportage. They rediscover the visual references to add a new dimension through their intellectual inputs, to fill the images with alternative meanings.

Photorealist art, if one closely inspects, is a kind of hyper-formalism; more about surface, form, and technique. The genre is essentially about the skill and vision to build a precise representation of reality with a touch of imagination. Photo-realism, often known as super-realism, is an art movement, which began in the US in the 1960s.

As the term suggests, photo-realist painters took photography as base and inspiration to create highly illusionistic images. Artists like Ralph Goings, Richard Estes, Robert Bechtle, Chuck Close, and Audrey Flack tried to reproduce with paintbrush what the camera lens could record. Sculptors such as the Americans John De Andrea and Duane Hanson were associated with the movement, too. Though the mediums were different, the binding thread was to achieve a simulated reality.

Among the contemporary Indian artists, celebrated painter Atul Dodiya has gradually switched to an allegorical dramatization of his painterly dilemmas in the epoch of intriguing installation through a combination of self- portraits and witty tableaux. Subodh Gupta imparts surrealist touches to a pop/photorealist style. His ‘Vilas’ is an example of stark self-representation through a potent photo installation

Painters like Baiju Parthan, TV Santosh, Bose Krishnamachari and Shibu Natesan too have been experimenting with digital images in their works of art. The latter combines familiar images with bold, colorful palettes to enhance his unique, collage-like compilations. The image is a metaphor that he internalizes. The result is a mixture of hyper-realism and fantasy.

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