Thursday, December 13, 2012

Images soaked in rich Indian aesthetics

'Dhyanachitra', a series of works by A Ramachandran is on view at New Delhi's Vadehra Art. Different key elements of Indian classical art have found a natural progression and integration in his practice, as evident, including several compound motifs and imagery, an array of decorative elements apart from the exuberance of intricate forms and a wide mélange of colors.

His dazzling visual descriptions, as the show aptly displays, precisely encapsulate the varied hues of the multi-faceted universe distilled carefully from the very essence of nature that he recreates. In a way, his paintings become a feast not only for the eyes but also for the mind. Influenced to a great extent by Nandalal Bose, A Ramachandran is known to build a strong case for rich Indian aesthetics and for abundant usage of classical Indian images for articulating a unique ideological position.

The veteran artist feels one of his monumental paintings, 'Yayati', could be treated as a landmark in his development as an artist since it allowed him to infuse aspects of classical proportions as well as postures in his body of work. Executed largely as a narrative, it prompted him to make use of mythological imagery laced with a contemporary touch and form.

An interesting development in the artist’s oeuvre is a series of peculiar portrait heads of tribal men and women, especially since 2005. The small paintings, done in oil, carry iridescent colors that shimmer. Contained by sinuous lines that define the form, they radiate a mystifying energy. The head is generally shown up to the bust. The detailing of their ornaments, drapery and expression has a completeness and intimacy about them with a intriguing element of iconicity in the overall stylization.

Among the important honors and awards won by him are Padma Bhushan, Government of India (2005); Raja Ravi Verma Puraskar, Government of Kerala (2003); Manaviyam Award, Manaviyam Cultural Mission, Government of Kerala (2001); Gagan – Abani Puraskar, Visva Bharati University (2000); Parishad Sanman, Sahitya Kala Parishad, New Delhi (1991); Noma Award for Children’s Picture Book Illustration (1980, 1978): and National Award for Painting, New Delhi (1973,69).

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