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Artist - Profiles

- S.G. Vasudev
- Yusuf Arakkal
- Sheela Gowda
- Ayisha Abraham
- Amarnath
- Archana Hande
- Surekha
- Shanthamani
- Srinivas Prasad
- Krishna Raj Chonat
- Ravikumar Kashi

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S.G. Vasudev

Vasudev's latest 'Theatre of Life' series - after 'Vriksha', 'She and He', 'Inscapes', 'Humanscapes', 'Earthscapes' - is literally a dramatic reverse spin in his artistic trajectory. The sort of flashing pirouette you would be mesmerised with in a Kirov ballerina. This rare artistic inversion from the abstract to the figurative/narrative invests his current work with a fresh reflexivity. It contributes to a conscious interrogation of his engagement with form. Vasu's canvases are now like windows through which you can peer long into a deeply lit nepathya. The terrain is as much a void as a peopled space pointed between myth and fable. Sometimes, the drum,

S.G. Vasudev

taut, skin-like membrane lets you see through. And sometimes, like a morbid mirror, it only reflects back a flat shadow.

The canvas here doubles as a proscenium arch, inevitably leading to the doubling of the subjective distance of Cartesian perspectivalism. You become 'spectator' twice over - once at the formal vanishing point on the painted surface and, once again, within the inflamed interiors of the framed illusion of reality. Drawing attention to this strange predicament is the array of eyeless heads ranged around, serving as yet another active zone between borders and boundaries. In a trice, the frame can metamorphose into a pond with floating corpses, impassive spectators lining the embankment. Sometimes the frame seems a cross with a burden to carry and sometimes like a symphony of pillars that, Narasimha - like, spew out fables of hidden nemesis. Or it dissolves typically into horizontal agonies - funeral pyres on the shores of life.

In formal terms, the change that strikes one the most is in Vasudev's very ground - the opening out of an infinite breathing space. Despite evoking an inferno or a cauldron or the belly of a combustion engine, the middle ground here can, at any time, part like the oceans to open vertical alleyways of algeaic evolutions, an alchemic aisle that supports and connects past and future, life and death, stillness and movement, void and fullness. These clearing spaces on canvas are propitious as they permit a smooth submersion of all Vasudev's earlier themes into a new celebratory frame of unity. All at once, his 'Vriksha' and 'She and He' and 'Earthscapes' fall into place, to be stitched into the pleats of his narrative along with subliminal turbulence, tenderness, violence. Multiple stories bloom in a memory that recurrently lands at cobalt blue or Davy's grey, framed with the smudges of the night. The Canvases look a bit sponged at the edges. "Oh, I mop and daub and scrub the oil with old socks, jocks, hankies. In fact, the rule in the house is not to throw out any cotton. All of it serves my paintings. It contributes a soft, grainy, blurred feel which is now integrally part of my work. The other gouged out, scoured sort of horizontal or vertical strokes happen because I use big hard brushes. I normally do not wash or clean my brushes. I like the resulting rigidity of the bristles. It also adds on canvas all sorts of residual textures.

You realise these are but actors and actresses in the theatre of life, submerging their identity, erasing their selves - floating characters, 'little men', ghostly and silent witnesses to the spectacle called life, doing little to inscribe themselves in its seams, carrying the self-knowledge of being deeply implicated in the disastrous project of history.

The series titled 'Earthscapes' pulsates with the possibility of technique shifts and social turbulence. While, earlier, no tensions were permitted in the pastoral idyll of romanticised nature; we now see tree - trunks denuded, shorn of vegetation, metamorphosing into sharply angular, spinkey chimneys - grim reminders of human strivings to bend Nature to its will - belching noxious pigments - mouldy mauves, lurid lemons, mossy greens, inky blues, brilliant ochres - blocking out earth and sky, as embryonic creatures waft about in an agitated, life-denying plasma called 'progress'.

Like the mirror from which silver has peeled off, the faces become cartographic evidence of civilisational pain and not all that innocent of wounding processes. Somewhat like the embarrassed acknowledgements when, in A.K. Ramanuja's words, 'an old familiar thing comes home again', the artist's new vision could help us, perhaps, to readjust our own sights.

Sadanand Menon is a writer on critical issues of politics and culture, a photographer and stage light designer. He was, for some years, Arts Editor, Economic Times.

S.G. Vasudev
Date of Birth : 3rd March 1941
Place of birth : Mysore
Education : Diploma in Fine Arts,
Govt. College of Arts & Crafts, Chennai (1968)


Bangalore : 1966, 67, 68, 74, 76, 89, 91, 92, 93, 95, 96, 99
Hyderabad : 1994
Chennai : 1967, 68, 69, 75, 91, 93, 97, 99
Mumbai : 1967, 69, 71, 74, 90, 92, 93, 96, 99
New Delhi : 1968, 69, 72, 76, 78, 98, 99
Dharwar : 1968
Canada : 1977
USA : 1977
Germany : 1983
  • National Exhibitions of Art, Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi
    (1965-68, 72, 74-79).

  • 2nd, 3rd, 4th & 5th Triennale, India International Exhibition of World Art, Lalit Kala Akademi. New Delhi.

  • 25 Years of Indian Art, Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi (1972)

  • All India Exhibition of Art, Academy of Fine Arts, Calcutta (1965, 72)

  • State Art Exhibition, Karnataka Lalit Kala Akademi, Bangalore (1964, 65, 79)

  • State Art Exhibition, Tamil Nadu Lalit Kala Akademi, Chennai (1965-67, 77, 79, 80)

  • 18 Indian Painters, Max Mueller Bhavan, Calcutta (1969)

  • Contemporary Miniatures, Progressive Painters' Association, Chennai & Mumbai (1972)

  • Exhibition of Cholamandal Artists' Works, Goethe Institute, Pune (1973)

  • 40 Artists of Chennai, British Council, Chennai (1978)

  • 10 Chennai Artists, Max Mueller Bhavan, Chennai (1988)

  • Spirit of Freedom, Contemporary Indian Art Exposition, Hyderabad (1989)

  • Wounds, CIMA, Calcutta (1993)

  • Harmony, Nehru Centre, Mumbai (1996)

  • Exhibition-Auction, Helpage India, Mumbai (1987,91)

  • Exhibition-Auction, Save the Children, Mumbai (1995)

  • Anniversary Exhibition, Gallery 88, Calcutta (1995)

  • Anniversary Exhibition, Gallery Ganesh, New Delhi (1993)

  • Anniversary Exhibition, Cymroza Art Gallery, Mumbai (1996)

  • Anniversary Exhibition, Surya Gallery, Hyderabad (1996)

  • Other major group exhibitions in Mumbai, New Delhi, Calcutta, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Goa (1970-98)


  • Contemporary Indian Art : Norway, Denmark, Belgium (1967)

  • National Gallery of Modern art, USA (1977)

  • Festival of India, Japan (1988)

  • Paris Biennale, France (1986)

  • II Biennale, Cuba (1986)

  • International Exhibition of Drawings, Yugoslavia
    (1972, 74, 76, 86, 88)

  • The New South - Contemporary Painting & Sculpture
    From South India, UK (1996)


? Govt. of India Cultural Scholarship for Painting (1964-66)
? National Award, Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi (1967)
? State Award, Karnataka Lalit Kala Akademi, Bangalore (1988)
? Karnataka Lalit Kala Akademi (1965, 79)
? Tamil Nadu Lalit kala Akademi (1965, 77, 79)
? Karnataka Rajyotsava Award (1994)

? Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath, Bangalore (1972, 96)
? Max Mueller Bhavan, Chennai (1993)
? Sanghi Industries, Hyderabad (1993)
? Karnataka Kala Mela, Bangalore (1981, 93)
? Alliance Francaise, Calcutta (1992)
? India Tobacco Company Ltd., Mangalore (1990)
? Kerala LalitKala Akademi, Thiruvananthapuram (1990)
? VST Industries Ltd and Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology,
   Hyderabad (1989)
? Visvesvaraya Industrial &Technological Museum, Bangalore (1982)
? Karnataka Lalit Kala Akademi, Bangalore (1979)
? Kashmir Cultural Academy, Srinagar (1978)
? Nomads, Shoranur, Kerala (1998)

? National Gallary of Modern Art, New Delhi
? Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi
? Chanakya Art Gallery, New Delhi
? Vadehra Gallery, New Delhi
? Pundole Art Gallery, Mumbai
? Gallery Chemould, Mumbai
? Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai & Bangalore
? Karnataka Lalit Kala Academi, Bangalore
? Venkatappa Art Gallery, Bangalore
? H.K.Kejriwal collection, Bangalore
? Crimson Art Gallery, Bangalore
? Tamil Nadu Lalit Kala Akademi, Chennai
? National Art Gallery, Chennai
? Chandigarh Museum, Chandigarh
? Salar Jung Museum, Hyderabad
? Cultural Academy, Kashmir


? Government of Karnataka
? Bharat Electronics Ltd., Bangalore
? Bharat Earth Movers Ltd., Bangalore
? Deutsche Bank, Bangalore
? Times Bank, Bangalore
? The Arvind Mills Ltd., Bangalore
? Biocon India Pvt. Ltd., Bangalore
? Infosys, Bangalore
? Draper International, Bangalore
? Oracle Software India Pvt. Ltd., Bangalore
? Peacock Restaurant, Bangalore
? Hotal Ashok, Bangalore
? Harsha Hotel, Bangalore
? Butter Sponge Bakery, Bangalore
? Grindlays Bank, Chennai
? Standard Chartered Bank, Chennai
? Shaw Wallace, Chennai
? Parry & Co., Chennai
? Ashok Leyland, Chennai
? Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Mumbai
? Air India, Mumbai
? Wipro, Mumbai
? Copper Chimney Restaurant, Mumbai
? Citibank, New Delhi; and other corporate and private collections in
  India and abroad


? Santosh Theatre Complex, Bangalore - Powdered glass (1973)
? Satyam Theatre Complex, Chennai - Enamel (1973)
? Tandoor Restaurant, New York - Copper (1974)
? Visvesvaraya Industrial Steel Ltd., Bangalore - Enamel (1976)
? Ashok Leyland, Chennai - Copper (1981)
? Canara Bank, Chennai - Copper (1991)
? Aeronautical Society of India, Bangalore - Copper (1995)
? Angels' place Apartments, Bangalore - Copper (1995)
? Geneva House, Bangalore - Copper (1998)

? USA - State Department Invitee (1977, 90)
? UK - British Council Visitor (1977, 83, 90)
? France - French Government Invitee (1980)
? China - Indian Council for Cultural Relations
? Delegate (1985)
? Canada - (1977)
? Germany - (1980, 83, 90)

For national award winning Kannada films: "Samskara" and
"Vamsha Vriksha".

71 Shinivagulu Tank Bed, Koramangala, BANGALORE 560 034, INDIA.
Fax \ Phone: (080) 552 1831 / 552 1825 / 553 5840.
Cholamandal Artists' Village, Injambakkam, CHENNAI 600 041, INDIA.
Phone: (044) 492 5024.

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