Saturday, August 24, 2013

Drawing parallels between animals and human beings

Essentially a keen story teller, Viraj Naik looks to weave his visual narration around a realm of curious make-believe creatures and entities that come to shape from his imagination. He builds his own mythologies, to traverse the world of the credible for the phantasmagoria with deft strokes of his ink pen, a graphite pencil or his color-tipped brush. While stepping into his fabulous painterly realm, one is transferred to a surreal world.

The artist at times turns to nature so as to seek inspiration. He states, “It (nature) is an important aspect of my creations; human beings are a part of it. As I paint, I feel like wandering through a forest and try to depict these feelings on to the canvas—the cautiousness and the animal instinct and the extra senses. I feel that animals share a peculiar relationship with humans. This comes out in my works as hybridization between the two. I feel that every human being has animal instincts and I bring them out through my paintings.” It is his love for and four-legged creatures that prompts him to draw parallels between them and humans.

The legends who have happened to influence him are Leonardo Da Vinci, Dali, FN Souza, Picasso and Laxma Goud whom he counts among the greatest printmakers from India. According to him, all these artists have indulged in hybridization in one form or another. And they all provide him inspiration in the form and technique he employs. The proficient printmaker displays a natural flare for watercolors and acrylics. He greatly relishes the creation of hybrids and chimeras, soaking in their dramatic personae, a composite of bird and animal, human and machine, and so on.

He did his Master of Fine Arts (Printmaking) from University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad. Among his selected solo exhibitions in the last decade are 'Fanatical Beings', India Fine Arts, Mumbai; a show at Visual Arts Centre, Hong Kong; 'Mythical Menagerie', Galleria, New Delhi; a show presented by Gallerie Nvya at Travancore Palace, Delhi; apart from his work having been showcased at Pundole Art Gallery, Mumbai; Lalit Kala Akademi, Delhi; Gallerie Nvya, Delhi; Museum Gallery, Mumbai; and Galeria Cidade de Goa.

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