Visiting V.Ramesh at his studio in Vishakhapatnam in late Sept. 2011, I was able to get a fair idea of his forthcoming show “Why Cross the Boundary”, a month or so before it was due to open in Delhi. “Fair”, in the best sense of the word, because most of the paintings, all large oils on canvas, had reached their final resolution, while only a very few continued to be works in progress. Just “Lal Ded”, awash in preparatory pinks and yellows, remained a still nascent image, waiting to be conceived.
Curiously, or perhaps not so curiously, the experience of visiting the artist’s studio was a bit like entering an old South Indian temple. Raised to a plinth level of one floor in height, a flight of worn steps flanked by a mango tree, had to be climbed before one looked up and saw a cavernous interior, effulgent with color— radiating from his paintings of course, that were stacked against the high walls everywhere.
A gracious host, Ramesh handed me a cup of coffee inviting me to sit on a sprawling planter’s chair even as he pulled up a straight-backed one for himself and positioned it next to an easel placed to catch the light. We began our conversation, and I noticed he would pick up a loaded brush every now and then and add a stroke to his canvas or fill in a new area of color and then turn back to speak with me– sometimes at length– before resuming his work. None of this disturbed the contemplative calm he may have been trying to instill in the painting, or for that matter the intensity of compressed emotional time that was perhaps being expressed.
The artist’s development through the years, as an artist, seems to have been as open and fluid as his paintings. Large in scale, their vaporous ethereality suggests a deeply introspective mood. Perhaps best described as metaphysical allegories for his own rite of passage through art and life, Ramesh’s paintings appear to be a flux of his particular consciousness. His concerns have remained steadfast throughout this journey. Images, whose multiple associations have been drawn from cultural and personal memory continue to reverberate with a sense of other-worldliness, even as they lurk within washes of abstract painterliness. Rarely does one feel the disruptive breath of the contemporary world. References to sages, mystics and poets communicate ideas which infuse the artist’s introspections even as they inform his oeuvre.
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Threshold Art Gallery
C221, Sarvodaya Enclave, New Delhi, 11017