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Beauty in Disguise

Nayanaa Kanodia’s series,Beyond the Scenes,has a display of colours,designs and doll-like subjects

Written by Sankhayan Ghosh |
September 13, 2012 2:18:29 am

Nayanaa Kanodia’s series,Beyond the Scenes,has a display of colours,designs and doll-like subjects

For beginners,Nayanaa Kanodia’s paintings could invoke an awkwardness that they can’t quite put their fingers on. Yet,her luscious colour palette is hard to ignore. Kanodia,an economist-turned-painter,is an avid practitioner of a school of art that is less known in the country. Hence,the awkwardness. This school of painting,called naïve art,is a non-academic,definition-less painting whose most striking features are its doll-like figures,bright colours and focus on decorative detail.

Kanodia clarifies,“It’s not that simple.” A more careful observation of the paintings,22 of which are being displayed at the Gallery Art and Soul,Worli,validates her statement. Like most practitioners of naïve art,Kanodia’s forte is colour and patterns. The colour-tones,especially the bright ones,are so masterfully in control that they are comforting to senses. The trick,Kanodia says,lies is years of practice that has taught her how to paint bright colours subtly. “I’ve put four layers of colour that makes it pleasing; despite being bright,I can’t make it loud or gaudy,” says the Mumbai-based painter who was the first Indian artist of non-British origin to be featured in UK’s Museum Paintings in Hospitals.

The theme of Kanodia’s new series is an observation of the unnoticed ironies that exist in our drawing rooms,largely brought by the bizarre coexistence of eastern values and Western culture. In Honey Moon Journey,the irony is in the traditionally attired couple’s ride to their honeymoon,a concept borrowed from the West.

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Perhaps because of its theme,the subjects mostly belong to the bourgeoisie,where the ironies are more evident. In View by the Sea,a Matisse-nude painting peeps from over a traditionally-dressed and seated Indian couple.

The paintings that go by the grammar of naïve art tend towards fantasy and focus on subjects such as domestic animals. They also defy the conventional geometric sense of perspective in a painting,where depth of field almost disappears,and the picture space appears flat. This is more evident in perhaps the woman lying on the sofa in My Comfort Zone.

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