Thursday, August 15, 2013

A veteran artist’s enriching life journey

K Laxma Goud remains one of India’s finest, most accomplished and versatile artists. He has worked effusively and effortlessly in a wide array of mediums, such as painting, etching, pastels, gouache, sculpture (bronze, terracotta etc) and glass painting.

He is known for his graceful, albeit highly powerful line drawings, watercolor works and etchings. His journey has indeed been fascinating as his art itself, marked by distinct phases. By the mid 1960s, he had developed his own style displaying finely chiseled, albeit pliant lines plus delicate washes of color that depicted man's interaction with nature. This was when he also engaged with the theme of erotic.

The artist’s stark etchings essentially investigated impulses and aggressive passions embedded within sexuality - male and female - as well as pan-natural contexts. Here hierarchies were totally blurred as man turned beast and trees carried vaginal openings– the surreal and the libidinal treaded alongside the poetic and fantastical. Notably, the artist worked with a greater frequency in aquatint by the late 70s.

This subtler medium sought gentle stylizations and distortions – the razor-sharp accessories of his figures, or their weathered, worn-out faces that ironically, resembled their more realistic, closer-to-life selves. The representations deftly tapped into their complex psychological makeup. The dramatic gesturing and harsh expressionism were effectively quelled; amidst the softer, gentler shadows, leaving a greater scope for contemplation. What ultimately evolved was a dynamic and throbbing Indian ethos that exuded but was not restricted to the sexual undertones alone. The fine, linear details and palpable textures remained though, omnipresent!

Indeed, K Laxma Goud's illustrious career that spans close to five decades has been marked with an all-encompassing diversity, tremendous versatility, and high degree of craftsmanship both in medium and style. What has made the prolific artist stand apart from his contemporaries is his writhing, bleeding line he developed as his inimitable idiom of choice.

As he fleshes out the myriad possibilities of sketching, he seamlessly connects the core rustic and raw virtues of his practice to his protagonists in both their dominating physicality and fragile psyche. He thereby manages to strike a rather intimate relationship with his deft creations. His phallic-centered universe, as one would notice, has constantly stretched and broadened, over time.

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