Trivandrum-based artist Pradeep Puthoor’s paintings are plump with vibrant colours and organic creatures. His dream-like fantasy world has protagonists who look familiar yet appear bizarre, with exaggerated bone structures and internal organs that are almost alien-like. His painting Temple of Yellow Bones, on display at Nature Morte gallery, Neeti Bagh, stands testimony to this, as he depicts bones in varying shapes, sizes and colours amid an overshadowing tinge of yellow.
“The work is a symbol for temples and big corporates, where the wealth is not rolling but is stagnant,” says the 48-year-old on email. At the exhibition “Pradeep Puthoor: New Paintings”, there are 11 works created over the last two years. According to Puthoor, the trigger and inspiration for his paintings are the changes he has seen in his surroundings over the last 25 years, most of which look like chemical reactors made up of skeletal bones, fluids oozing of tubes and human tissues.
“In Kerala, many people go abroad and a lot of foreign money comes in. Also, since people like meat here, a number of animals are slaughtered and exhibited for sale on road sides. It is a horrible scene and is not a good sign of a progressing society,” says Puthoor. The meat becomes a specimen in his paintings and the creatures Puthoor paints symbolise money, greed, death, decay and resurrection. “There is lost interest in looking after old parents who are dumped in old age homes. I have focused on the disappearance of love from society,” he says.
The painting titles are a gateway to Puthoor’s thoughts. In Animal on the Ramp, there is neither a ramp nor animals visible on the canvas. Instead, five serpentine creatures with coloured heads and eyes popping from different corners stare at the viewer as if they were abruptly photographed underwater. He says, “These are the fake and inefficient people, who are in top positions, whereas intellectual and capable people are outside. The creatures are animal symbols of corporates, politicians and communal leaders. The ramp here means the top level of the social platform”.
Viewers need to stand and look at the mural-sized paintings for a minute or two before understanding the puzzle of Puthoor’s painted creatures. “The titles are the key to my paintings, for viewers to open a new world,” he says.
The exhibition is on at Nature Morte, A-1 Neeti Bagh, till August 2. Contact: 41740215