Land-scape

A walk through the exhibition of Preetha Kannan’s recent works,titled Gaia,gives an uncanny feeling of being in the woods.

Written by Georgina Maddox | Published:December 29, 2010 11:25 pm

Chennai-based artist Preetha Kannan dedicates her first solo to nature

A walk through the exhibition of Preetha Kannan’s recent works,titled Gaia,gives an uncanny feeling of being in the woods. Despite the gallery space and splash of colours,the artist has successfully created the overwhelming presence of trees with her multiple canvases. In fact,they even have a towering presence,as in the case of Dream-weaver. This happens to be Kannan’s largest work ever,with the panoramic view of the forest done in three canvases (42 feet X 6.6 feet) that celebrate in greens and yellows of a forest in autumn.

The Chennai-based artist’s first solo in Mumbai opened at the city’s Jehangir Art Gallery earlier this month before moving to Gallery Beyond,which is hosting the exhibition till January 8.

As is evident from the show,Kannan says she enjoys the flaming reds,blues,greens and ochres that define her palette when she is depicting nature. “Usually my canvases are dominated by one colour done in various shades,” says the artist,who did her Bachelors in Art at Stella Maris and went on to study art at the College of Arts and Crafts,Chennai. In 1982,the artist,received the Bombay Art Society Award. She was also chosen by Lalit Kala Akademi to work in their then newly-inaugurated painting studio at Chennai in 1985-86.

“This latest series of my work celebrates ‘Gaia’,which is a Greek word for the earth goddess,” says Kannan. In science,the Gaia theory proposes that Earth is composed of various components which have been constantly balancing each other in order to have a healthy self-sustaining earth. “With climate change caused by unchecked human industrial activity,will that continue? Can earth and life,as we know it,sustain themselves?” says the artist,who searches for these answers through her work.

The artist looks at Gaia as made up of the five elements — land,air,water,fire and sky. She intends to create five shows over the coming years,one for each element. In the present show,she has concentrated on the element of land,through the symbol of the tree.

Though seemingly simple,each of her paintings is painstakingly detailed. What Kannan really enjoyed is painting in the large format. She also intends to do public art wall painting,though the logistics still need to be worked out.

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