Noble Sage, the first gallery in the UK to specialise
in Indian contemporary art, opens its new exhibition
'In The Fore', that runs from 17 January until
14 April 2007, highlighting four leading lights
in South India's thriving art scene: A P Santhanaraj,
Alphonso Doss, C F John and Rekha Rao.
main focus will be the stunning work of 74 year-old semi-figurative
painter, A.P. Santhanaraj. A former principal of the Madras College
of Arts & Crafts, Professor Santhanaraj is considered by many
in South India to be the most influential artist of the second wave
that followed K.C.S. Panniker and S. Dhanapal from the Madras School.
Santhanaraj forged an exceptional artistic style dedicated to discovering
the complexities of his canvas through abstract engagement with
to Santhanaraj is his love of spontaneous line. This inspires his
tempered colour and also certain characters to emerge - particularly
his buxom female heroine. She appears from his subconscious through
his jagged lines and the spatial areas displaced along the way.
Interestingly, the shapes and lines combined with the fragmented
colour create a flatness similar to an Indian wall painting where
the irregular rock face has an effect on the painting upon it. Though
he has moved far from the art of his ancestors, he has created imagery
fascinatingly akin to the idyllic world depicted by Indian artists
thousands of years ago.
Doss is referred to by many of his artist friends as 'The Reverend
Doss'. This is because of his general spirituality and great interest
in world religions, their overlapping themes and motifs. His canvases
show vibrant images of Shiva Nataraja (the classical Hindu depiction
of the Lord of the Dance), the Buddha seated in meditation and Christ
healing the sick. Doss sees his art as an extension of a long history
of religious painting. His influences are Grunewald and Rubens as
much as the anonymous sculptors of the ancient temples in Tamil
Nadu. Doss brings a new personality and eastern vision to old religious
subjects through his highly distinctive style of painting and private
Rao is a painter burning a bright path in Bangalore. Daughter of
celebrated artist K.K. Hebbar, Rao displays exuberant colour and
inventive, semi-narrative mark-making in her paintings. Descriptive
and sparingly dispersed brushstrokes subtly outline and draw in
the colour into the categories of meaning and symbolism for the
viewer whilst also disappearing to allow enjoyment of the very pigment
itself on the canvas. Her canvases combine a sense of fun and tongue-in-cheek
humour which, in turn, creates a distinctive enjoyment for the viewer.
John's interests have moved relatively recently to the field of
canvas painting. Today he aims to capture the grey area between
that that you can see is believably real for a human form, that
that is actually possible of a body under force and, lastly, that
that is possible of a human subject when his or her three-dimensional
action is transformed into a two-dimensional image. For the series,
'Four Corners of a Line' (2006), John worked with an American performance
artist, suspending her from his balcony roof by trapeze-like constructions.
The results are astonishing - moments of unusual physical calm and
motion arrested on the canvas.
Manuelpillai, Director of The Noble Sage: "This exhibition
is rather special. The variety of styles and content create a veritable
feast for the eye! The four painters are deft masters of their art
and this is visible as soon as you enter the gallery. To put it
succinctly, they are 'in the fore' and you can see why."
Manuelpillai is the man behind The Noble Sage Art Gallery. A British-born
Sri Lankan with Indian lineage, he leads a new breed of home-grown
talent forging fresh and exciting links with the subcontinent. Jana
(28yrs) has a wealth of experience behind him.
interest in art at a young age led him to a degree in Art History
and English Literature from Birmingham University. This was followed
by a First Class Masters degree in Museum Studies at Leicester University,
thus cementing his career in art museums and galleries. His career
has spanned from Dulwich Picture Gallery and South London Gallery,
to The Barber Institute of Fine Arts in Birmingham and the Massachusetts
Museum of Contemporary Art in the USA. Most recently, Jana worked
as Head of Education at the Mall Galleries off Trafalgar Square.