CHENNAI: Transparent layers of both warm and cool colours, evoking a myriad of moods, captures the imagery of village life in artist NS Manohar’s works which are on display at the Soul Spice Art Gallery, Mylapore. “I am from a small yet beautiful village and from a very early age, I began to observe the architecture and ways of life of people, particularly the Brahmin families,” shares the artist.
His watercolour works showcase thatched houses, the life inside a house through its threshold, a group of women selling fish wearing malipoo, and a ‘Poo Idayar’. “I love detailing my art works according to the characteristics of a place. If someone is familiar with a particular city, they will be able to immediately identify that through my painting.
For instance, the doors in Thanjavur have a specific characteristic; the way women wear flowers in their head in Madurai is different from those in Salem; the sound from a bullock cart differs from city to city! And the best part? All of these can be seen in my paintings,” he shares.
The artist is fascinated with goats and Thulasi plant, and they play an eternal position in his compositions. “I grew up watching herds of goats. Even during college, while stepping out for outdoor sketches, the landscape and the behaviour of goats used to fascinate me.
They are extremely intelligent!” he claims.
Art came naturally to Manohar and he credits artists Balraj and Arulraj as his inspiration. “I feel humbled to have been inspired by some great artists. While art wasn’t a mainstream career back then, now it has become one. We have to thank such older artists for pioneering the movement,” he opines.
Manohar likes to challenge viewers with different compositions and re-contextualising familiar objects.
“Sometimes we tend to ignore the things around us. So, when the known objects are thrown around in a new composition, it immediately attracts the viewer’s attention and makes them think. It also makes many nostalgic,” he says.
His paintings are elaborate and he says that it’s necessary to bring out the real nature of a city. “I have a lot of objects in my compositions. But, it’s always neat and needs to be presented in a beautiful way. That’s why I space my motifs carefully,” he adds.
Soul Spice Art Gallery, Mylaopore, is hosting NS Manohar’s art works until November 18. For details, call: 9840478886