On nights spent in the endless fields with his grandfather, Sreedhar would try to seek out shapes in the lurking shadows. Some would grow heads and limbs and begin to lumber towards him and yet others would turn out to be characters from the stories his grand parents told him. Years later, the figures have come to reside on his canvas, as angles, winged horses and other fantastic creatures.
K Sreedhar’s paintings are like vivid recollections of dreams. As abstract as they are in concept, the blues and violets impart a dramatic eloquence to them. Rooted in the myths and agrarian lifestyle of Villupuram village in Tamil Nadu, his works are also inspired by the landscape, local deities and festivities.
“The angles are my grand parents and forefathers. They watch out for us and are always present amidst us,” he says. Then why do the faces of the angles betray fear? “They are as alive as us and communicate with each other. They must be sharing their anxieties for the living,” he says and points to a painting where two angels are reaching out to hold hands as if offering the solace of companionship to each other.
‘Human beings are gods hidden from themselves,’ says the abiku child (spirit child) in ‘The famished Road’ by Ben Okri. Many of Sreedhar’s paintings espouse this thought. “We are what we feed our mind with. If they are good thoughts, deeds and sights, our spirit reaches an elevated plain. It keeps growing,” he says and gestures to show a growing head as an interpretation.
The existence of grey areas appears to be a subject that intrigues the artists. One is taken by surpise when the image of a crow pos out from a spot between the clear sky and the dark corners of a paintings. “those could be the fears latent in the minds of people,” he muses.
The paintings depicting the landscape are vivid with details, the muddy water bodies so real that you want to dip your feet in them. The sunny mornings, the balmy afternoons and the pleasant evenings are told apart by the play of light and shade. Sreedhar says the thought that he found most inspiring in recnttimes was when his two-and-a-half-year-old son scribbled with a pencil and asked him to make out images from their surroundings. “He was asking to think backwards. Find meanings after you finished a painting. Isn’t that a very original thought,” he quips.
The exhibition is on till December 7.