Limited prints help art lovers during economic meltdown (Rainbow Palette - Weekly Art Column, With Images)

May 8th, 2009 - 3:34 pm ICT by IANS  

By Madhusree Chatterjee
New Delhi, May 8 (IANS) For those with stretched resources in times of recession but with a passion for art, the market is bending backward to match the fragile strength of their purse.

Till a few years ago, serigraphs or affordable screen printed versions of paintings allowed buyers to take their favourite artists home. It was followed by Giclee or ink jet prints of art works, which stormed the imagination of buyers after Fuschia Tree, a Hong Kong-based online gallery, brought it to India.

Now, buyers can show off their limited edition ink prints on canvas touched up and signed by the artists.

The Art Element Gallery in the capital is leading the way. A recent exhibition, “Timeless Treasures”, is offering signed prints of works by artists A. Ramachandran and Ram Kumar for as little as one-tenth of the original price with a life of 100 years.

A. Ramachandran’s “Squirrels in an Amaltash Tree”, whose original price runs into millions is on sale for Rs.90,000. The colourful 60 X 36 inch canvas print is heightened by brush-strokes - mostly in bright yellow and orange - by the artist and has a signature at the bottom to certify its authenticity and value.

Two 20 X 28 inch prints of Ram Kumar’s “Benaras” series cost Rs.25,000 each.

“The original works cost between Rs.1-2 million,” Rupali Gupta of Art Elements told IANS.

Gupta says the limited prints score over serigraphs and giclee in intensity, texture and overall concept. Most of 100 prints that she commissioned have been sold.

The exhibition also features two more striking works - “Paola”, a 1956 oil portrait by M.F. Husain and a small-format still life by F.N. Souza. The exhibition ends May 25.

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Flower power

Veteran artist Manu Parekh is working on a new still life series for an exhibition in Mumbai in October.

“The theme of the show will be chants of faith. It will combine flowers, chants and faith,” Parekh told IANS in the capital.

The new body of canvases is a continuation of a still life series that he painted in the 80s. Colours and flowers influence him the most.

“I use flowers as a motif for life. After visiting Benaras, I realised the presence of flowers everywhere. It has a dramatic journey. The flower blooms in a garden and decks up the gods. It accompanies the dead on the last journey and the next day, the flower is in the dustbin. There are some interesting similarities between flowers and human beings,” Parekh said.

Parekh has been influenced by Mexican painters and classical European post-impressionist artists like Matisse, whose vases and flower compositions in oil talk of contemporary issues of the era and life at large.

Flowers de-construct themselves to become new metaphors in Parekh’s canvas - in flowing petal-shaped realities with bright colours and green foliage.

The artist, who was born in Gujarat, studied at the J.J. School of Art in Mumbai. He is known for his “Benaras” series - mostly of shrines in deep dark shadows - to highlight the light within.

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Self Discovery

Artist Seema Kohli is exploring a new visual language with a multi-media exhibition, “Swayam Siddha”, which combines installations, sculptures and films. Curated by Alka Pande, the show treads a path of self-discovery.

Kohli has worked in different mediums in the past two decades, but the subject has always been the same - the quest for truth, creation and dissolution. She started with pen and ink drawings on paper and moved on to photo colours, oil paints on canvas and mixed media.

Works from her series “Hiranyagarbha” (golden womb) - some of which feature in the show - evolved from a mantra of the Yajur Veda. It involves many layers of colours and attention to detail.

Kohli’s figures are rather passive and have a meditative quality. She uses a rich colour palette, the tones striking in their brilliance. She works in both small and large formats with minutely laid out borders.

Presented by Gallery Nvya, the show will end June 4.

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