Painting is alive and well and kicking butt!
Watch these kids go. Four young artists eschew “new media art” for the conventions of painting on canvas and paper, yet the results are thrilling.
Nidhi Agarwal is making works that might be deemed “Hello Kitty Expressionism.” She starts with children’s plastic cartoon stickers and layers them into dense, pulsating fields on canvas, woven together with skeins of neurotic line work. The surfaces sparkle and dance like schools of tropical fish, from a distance they appear to be a synthetic terrazzo or even putrefying organs.
Basist Kumar’s paintings are shockingly simple yet full of a menacing portent. Isolated figures, anonymous and without civilization, hover in containers of weather and light. There is something epic going on, as if from ancient myth, yet it can’t really be articulated, even though the painterly technique hits a level of verisimilitude that is buoyant, crystalline and bracing.
Josh P.S. continues his brooding meditations on history and its discontents. In small and medium scale paintings, images sourced from photographs are both frozen in amber and reanimated. Josh thinks in suites of pictures, building up a context through juxtapositions, pitting images against each other to examine residual narratives. His subject is Kerala and, hence, his own identity, the excavated chronicles of its composite culture. This is painting as psychological archaeology.
Haraprasad Tripathy paints book-size watercolors of different characters, some fictional, others historical. Everyone is doing something but it is never quite apparent what that is, the ambiguity further amplified by cryptic captions at the base of each painting. Elliptical conundrums rendered precisely but not easy to digest.