Satish Gujral, Untitled, acrylic on canvas, 60'' x 60'', 2016

Various Artist
November 2023

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Art Musings presents a group show ‘MELT’ featuring acclaimed artists SH Raza, KG Subramanyan, Satish Gujral, Ganesh Haloi, GR Iranna, Laxma Goud, Gopikrishna, Suneel Mamadapur, Raghava KK, Shilo Shiv Suleman, Jayasri Burman, Smriti Dixit, which opens on November 23.

Art is defined in many ways, but essentially it captures the essence of a subject that the artist chooses to deliberate upon. MELT, which features cross-generational artists, draws our attention to how artists have used nature as an inspiration or as a motif. Beyond capturing its tangible beauty, observation of the natural world has lent itself to examining a broad spectrum of subjects that concern metaphysics, spirituality, the personal, the behavioural, or the societal.

The iconography the artists hone is indicative of what aspects of nature have inspired their thought processes. SH Raza’s Bindu paintings are contemplations on the beginnings of life, the cycle of life and death and the concept of time and space. Ganesh Haloi paints abstract landscapes that articulate the experiences of the human mind. The physical terrain is a trope to depict a psychological space. The melodies in nature, in poetry and manmade music inform Satish Gujral’s works. His art answers the question of what it is like to hear with your eyes.

The motif that recurs in KG Subramanyan’s art is still life with a flower vase inside a lived space. This contrasts with a work from an earlier period, which depicts a cluster of windswept trees under the open sky in a forest. Could they represent opposite psychological states of the mind – perhaps calm and troubled, safe and insecure? Laxma Goud also uses trees as motifs alongside animal and human figures. His etchings bristle with raw sexuality, a natural condition of living beings. GR Iranna uses the motif of trees in full bloom to address issues that are social and political, moral and spiritual.

The depiction of flora is recurrently used to tackle the ideas of germination and femininity, as can be seen in the stylised visual languages of Jayasri Burman and Shilo Shiv Suleman. Smriti Dixit tackles these concepts in an abstract language with artworks that are made of woven fabric and emphasise tactile textures.

We see a dissimilarity in the visuals and the idioms used by contemporary artists such as Gopikrishna and Suneel Mamadapur, even though the references to nature are visible. Their zoo-anthropomorphic iconography is fabulist and absurd, which addresses the issues of the human condition. Treading on the sci-fi genre, Raghava KK’s other-worldly, futuristic portrayals are an examination of the conflicts between the natural world, science, technology and human nature.