22 Oct 2008

Signature style and contemporary art

(Nalini S Malaviya)

Most readers who visit art shows on a regular basis, will be able to identify the artist when they come across works by well known names. For instance, when you look at paintings by SH Raza, FN Souza or even Suhas Roy, chances are you will recognize the artist immediately. Artists often tend to create an identity of their own over the years. In terms of medium, style, genre or even theme the artist’s work can becomes recognizable.
Raza’s geometric abstracts and the ‘bindu’, or the delicate, ethereal beauty of Suhas Roy’s women, particularly from the ‘Radha’ series – these are characteristic of the artist’s style. Most modern painters developed a signature style that they kept refining over the years. And, very often then not the artist is recognized by art created in his signature style.

Then, there are a few artists one comes across locally who become proficient in a particular theme or style, and if they experiment it is only within their comfort zone. Having perfected a particular form of art with a high saleability factor, it is no surprise that these artists are less willing to take chances.

On the other hand, one finds that most contemporary artists are more experimental in nature. They are willing to try out various mediums and also different themes and genres. Subodh Gupta one of the biggest names on the Indian contemporary art scene is a case in point. The medium for his installations vary from cow-dung patties to stainless steel, and he also expresses himself through paintings.
With greater exposure to Western art and culture there is an openness to experiment and try out new things. Indian artists are increasingly finding global acceptance through their international quality works. And are therefore willing to take greater risks.
Incidentally, this is a good time to be a young artist brimming with new ideas supplemented with innovation. Conceptual art or new media are all waiting to be innovated upon.

With all the buzz surrounding Indian art, one finds that the Bangalore art scene is quite nascent at the moment. Serious collectors’ crib that one does not get to see the best on the Indian art horizon, whereas, dealers and galleries feel that Bangaloreans are not ready for it. A chicken and egg situation as a friend, who has been in this business for years put it.
Well, someone has to take the first step. Here’s hoping to see some seriously good art.

(Published in Bangalore Mirror)

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