Altered Realities

Three new generation artists, Shibu Natesan, Chittrovanu Mazumdar and Baiju Parthan showcased a set of images as part of a joint show at Arts India, New York, that are a remarkable testament to present media-saturated times, that we find the most amazing alteration of reality ' visual, aural and even physically tangible ' to be completely unremarkable.

As an accompanying note to the exhibition states: 'We live in a world of digital imagery where alterations are uber-realistic, where seductive powers of the visual experience can be multiplied millions of times, across thousands of miles and in all time zones, simultaneously. There is a certain poetic justice then that contemporary artists, working with centuries old media of oil and acrylic paint on canvas, have turned their focus on interpreting, regurgitating and eventually altering, these altered realities.'

Shibu Natesan's compositions describe environments in hyper realistic representations. The viewer is given a clandestine perspective of a spatial horizon, which envelops and draws the viewer into the composition. It is almost as we are given a forbidden peak into a surreal 'real world'. The artist chooses to work as a realist using two strategies ' directness and detachment. His details tie his subjects to a concrete reality but this perfection adds a certain detachment or emotional distancing.

His first significant body of work was vastly different from his present works - a series of paintings entitled 'The Futility of Device' derived from a feudal history - the relics displayed in the grim chambers of memory, symbols of aggression which repeat themselves with oppressive regularity. In his works, there is a simulation which resembles the original to a startling degree, but which in fact prompts a set of readings which are contrary to what was intended, thus displacing the meaning without significantly altering it's appearance.

On other hand, Chittrovanu Mazumdar juxtaposes expressionistic imagery with text and blocks of color to create unique canvases. The work has a geometric balance but doesn't attempt to recreate space. Rather it layers the space where color and fragmented imagery play equal roles as protagonists in his compositions.

Composed of bold brushstrokes, elements of collage, abstract spaces and layered figurative imagery, Mazumdar's raw, almost expressionistic, canvases create a powerful emotional response. He studied at the Government College of Arts and Crafts, Kolkata in 1981, and has had solo exhibitions at the Academy of Fine Arts, Kolkata, the Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai and the Lalit Kala Akademi, Delhi.

His work is characterized by an inimitable sense of quest and is steeped in an intense sensuality, which has an endearing appeal that is hard to ignore. Mazumdar's paintings are expressions of the pulsating world. He is an artist who refuses to offer any clarifications, thus probing into the deepest abyss of the human heart and urging it to feel his art.

Baiju Parthan initially explored the spiritual imagery. These traditional subjects were balanced by his reading on post-modern theorists. His works explore the influence of technology on religious beliefs, the implication of genetic engineering and the possibilities of the development of symbiotic relations between men and machines.

He has created a unique vocabulary based on the intriguing use of symbols and archaic imagery. A scholar of Comparative Mythology and Philosophy, his works express the numinous world of the primitive man, where the artist is the shaman, who through his 'ceremonial art' communes with the world of magic - perhaps black magic. He creates compelling mythic imagery in black, with some blues and greens.

The three contemporary artists together turn their focus on interpreting, regurgitating and eventually altering, the altered realities of new world.

Previewed works of artist Chittrovanu Mazumdar in Saffronart events

View Shibu Natesan's works in Saffronart catalogue

Previewed works of artist Baiju Parthan in Saffronart events

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