Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Skillful usage of painterly mechanisms of ‘recording’

Galerie Mirchandani+Steinruecke presents Siji R. Krishnan's first solo exhibition in Mumbai. We take a quick look at the artist’s oeuvre:
Siji R. Krishnan’s work stands at this juncture in time when photography and other instant image making technologies have inundated the visual imagination with near infinite options of making the visual image. In this situation, it is imperative to ask the role of the painter during such times, especially when chronicling the ‘self’. Does technique play any role in the act of shaping the ‘imagination’? Krishnan’s technique, as a painter, is a remarkable rejoinder to answer and understand this.

She uses the painterly mechanisms of ‘recording’ through the subtle sleight of hand and brush, which she has acquired through a prolonged and personal engagement with the medium. All recording, the travails of memories of past and present, the weathered, somewhat exhausted ‘self’, or the loss of people, is performed through and with painting. 

Her paintings are rich with the texture of the surface that she meticulously prepares with smooth over layering of fine rice paper on canvas. The paper lends an organic quality to the painting that is reminiscent of the brittle quality of dry leaves, and the tautness of stretched hide on amrudangam. The surface lends a sensation of sound that seems to emanate unknowingly from dark empty rooms or from still water bodies, notes an essay by Rakhi Peswani.

This surface, the critic explains, is then layered with gentle tones of pale watercolors. Slowly, as the image assumes intensity, darker layers are added and sometimes scrubbed in, to create undulations on paper, almost like wrinkled skin. It arrests the dark interiority of incubatory spaces.

This process of modeling with paint is so frail, that it blends and seals into one single surface of cloth paper, as a membrane reverberating with a lot that has been firmly secured in it. This near sculptural surface is juxtaposed with another flimsy layer, that of approximate projections.
The new solo exhibition of her work continues until September 29 at Galerie Mirchandani+Steinruecke, Mumbai.

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