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Artists united in ‘seamless cavort’
NIDHI GUPTA  12th Feb 2012

An artwork by Binoy Verghese

ango, the South American dance form, is a seductive rendition of bodies completely in sync with each other. This two-person swing shows off a studied, practiced degree of harmony. This is why Polka Art Gallery's new exhibition is titled 3 to Tango: it weaves the works of three contemporary artists — Binoy Verghese, George Martin and Farhad Husain — into a seamless cavort, based in an explosion of colour.

"I looked at their works and saw an uncanny synchronisation, without any collaboration whatsoever, in terms of spirit and attitude," says Aarti Singh, curator of this exhibition. It is the density of colourful depiction in each artist's works that struck Singh as unique. Bringing them together made for an interesting exercise in seeking affinity, she says.

The exhibition consists of 12 paintings, all done with acrylic on canvas. With the city as another common trope in all three artists' works, they explore, albeit indirectly, the obvious, the overt as well as the hidden aspects of living in a metropolis.

Husain's paintings depict moods in a range of cerulean blues and pinks, with rounded human figures flattened onto significantly two-dimensional frames. He focuses on life, families and the humour behind our social interactions, and brings out a degree of candour, a sense of well-being and affluence. His images, which reflect elements of Cubism, portray a rather modern, city-bred life. "I'm hugely inspired by any traditional, folk forms of painting – including Kalighat and Madhubani," says Husain. This perhaps explains his choice of colour and technique.

Verghese's works, on the other hand, depict tales of displacement and migration, both physical and mental. "I'm constantly hit by the notions of movement, turbulence and the state of the in-betweens in society," he says. So he paints visions of transition and all that is associated, adapting photographs he has taken from travels around the world. Again, colour is crucial to his work. A painting that depicts a field of blossoms in bright pink and green is, to him, a possible harbinger of what homeland must look like, slotted in memory.

Martin paints urban chaos in a speedy palette dominated by pink. To him, the ambience of the city is striking, full of contrasts, surprising symmetries and constantly evolving building blocks. "I look at the organised windows of retail shops in malls and, right outside, the pandemonium of commerce on the roads. I look at new architectural spaces and the new material being used to build them and these speak to me of migration, of drastic changes," he says. The blurriness, the "neutral" pink and the fragments of light, sight and colour, all go into creating a masterfully layered narration.

In all their works, the subtle hints of distinction only enhance their colourful coincidence. For Singh, the delight lies in both, juxtaposition of stories told and the common strains to be unearthed thereafter.



Venue: Polka Art Gallery

Date: Until 10 March

Timing: 11 am - 7 pm

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