Paintings that portray life ‘in the middle of a stanza’

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Paintings that portray life ‘in the middle of a stanza’

Group exhibition of art, ‘Yet here we are, in the middle of a stanza’, curated by Sudheesh Kottembram at Durbar Hall Art Gallery in the city on Thursday.
| Photo Credit: THULASI KAKKAT

Artist Sanam Narayanan is at a loss to explain the source of inspiration for his 6×4-foot untitled work on show at the Durbar Hall Art Gallery in Kochi.  

The detailed painting, which appears to have a textured surface, is of a landscape with a green dwelling at its heart. Amidst a vast expanse of brown stands a building surrounded by lush foliage. A combination of watercolour, soft pastel, and gouache on rice paper, the work, the artist says, “must be a memory of a field” he once saw in Kolkata. 

“It is often not possible to pinpoint the origin of an idea. The complete work takes shape from the sketches that precede it,” says Sanam, who also has on show a collection of his sketches.  

‘Yet here we are, in the middle of a stanza’, which opened at the gallery on November 15, features the works of five contemporary artists from Kerala. The show is a collection of diverse, thought-provoking paintings and drawings curated by Sudheesh Kottembram. 

Artist Santhan N.V.’s untitled monochromatic works in 12×12 sized canvases show off his signature sculptural style. The works in ink and charcoal are on graphite paper. In contrast, Leon K.L.’s richly-coloured oil paintings from his ‘Bhojanam’ series explore food beyond its utilitarian aspect. Leon sees it as a cultural idiom. “It is a way to retrace history, it revives memories associated with food,” says Leon, who has about 30 paintings in this series, five of which are on show. 

Another painting from his ‘Father’s Table’ series is also on show. 

Sebastian C. Varghese’s extremely intricate drawings in pen and ink combine elements of the fantastical and the mundane. Mythical creatures and dream-like sequences share space with a fetal ultrasound scan, an aerial view of a cityscape and a human skull. 

K. Sudheesh’s vivid frames that play freely with light and shadow reflect his surroundings, people and local environment. Some blend elements of fantasy as well. One work depicts a boy gazing at an open refrigerator, which on defrost mode melts into an entire Ice Age landscape.   

The show is on till November 24.  

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