Spectrums of art 

Bringing together the works of two diverse artists, Chitra Ganesh and Manjunath Kamath, Gallery Espace is hosting a unique online exhibition on Art In Touch 

Two artists with very different visual vocabularies are comparable in the way both use pastiche and fantasy to interrogate reality and open new ways of considering the world

Gallery Espace presents ‘Overwrought Fancies’ a digital prints exhibition by Chitra Ganesh and B Manjunath Kamath. Ganesh, a second-generation Indian American, grew up familiar with Tamil (which she spoke at home), Indian classical music and dance, and Bollywood, as with the New York City subway map, graffiti, anime and Euro-American art. It led her to wonder “Why certain stories easily proliferated and accrued power, while others remained absent, or even actively suppressed”.

“Ganesh’s practice, interpolating Indian and Western cultural tropes-Amar Chitra Katha imagery, psychedelic concert posters, automatic writing addresses this imbalance by suggesting ignored, silenced or alternative narratives of female–especially brown female-subjectivity and power,” reads the curatorial note.

“I love the way Chitra’s works, which draw from comics and animation, graffiti, Indian mythology and sci-fi, set women at the centre of whimsical new feminist narratives. Chitra is also one of those rare artists who can work on various scales – from miniatures to large murals,” says Renu Modi, founder-director, Gallery Espace.

Manjunath Kamath’s work titled Night Poem

On the other hand, Kamath’s works present a montage of unlikely visual elements–winged angels from Renaissance paintings kneeling down to a man with a horse head clad in shirt and trouser, giraffes eating at a table, monkeys poring over books and baby elephants frolicking in plastic tubs in drawing rooms.

These improbable elements are integrated into a natural, seemingly ordinary setting as if to emphasise the unreality of the ‘real’ or the reality inherent in the unreal. Viewed in conjunction, they coalesce into a narrative whose contours are slippery and ever open to imagination.

“What draws me to the works of Chitra Ganesh and Manjunath Kamath is their complex imagery based on South Asian aesthetics. Both are multidisciplinary artists and work across several mediums – painting, video and sculpture besides digital prints. Kamath’s digital prints are a first of a kind in India. Their humour and rich visual drama draw viewers into a world of the imagination. There’s so much happening in his prints as if the innumerable frames of a still animation video are being enacted across them,” says Renu Modi.  

The exhibition can be viewed on the website of Art In Touch till 9 November 

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