Exhibition traces C. Douglas' artistic journey in past 2 decades

New Delhi : A solo show of paintings in mixed media on canvas and paper by one of the most celebrated artists of Madras Art Movement, C. Douglas, traces the artists journey from the 1990s until recent years.

Titled "In Search of Fragments", the exhibition is currently open for public viewing at the Akar Prakar Gallery in Defence Colony.

The works from the 1990s mark the time when he had begun working on his characteristic grey works, influenced by German Expressionists. To him, this neutral colour represented a liminal state that embraced vulnerability over heroism and uncertainty over finality.

Crumpled and coated with sand and grey pigment, these paintings have an inherent "slowness" as the images, of lighthouses, fetal forms and nebulous figures, slowly emerge into view due to the way they catch light. Unhurried and muffled, his paintings have the quality of an echo where there is both a presence and an absence.

He stains the paper with tea, crumples the paper to create texture, stitches it and applies sand. In a process that evokes the regenerative metaphor of the earth and rain, he uses water-based pigments that penetrate deeply, soaking the paper and becoming one with it.

In Douglas' works in the last decade, there is a clearer delineation of the figure. Within the Madras Art Movement, where identities were being forged on the basis of collective identities of language, culture, or region, Douglas addresses the human being on a one-to-one basis in the paintings on display.

Born in Kerala in 1951, C. Douglas is one of the most collected artists of the Madras Art Movement. He retains the essence of Kerala in the form of theories and words read during his boyhood and the story of an early encounter with existential literature.

The artist lives and works in Chennai. Akar Prakar has shown his work in 2008 at Kolkata and Chennai and is showcasing his works, from late 1990's till recently, now in New Delhi. "In Search of Fragments" is open till July 28.