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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Painting a Series

By Savitha Hira



It was engaging... to watch Shantkumar Hattarki transform four 15 x 11 inch canvases into a series of ‘Faces’ that donned the mantle of the artist, ready to hold their individual communiqué with the viewers. Underlining the process...


There is no division of canvas or individual composition. The small canvases are placed together, treated as a large surface and readied for their backdrop. Playing with acrylic and using the wash technique, two to three colours are sponge rolled onto the canvases to give a compositional reference to the series. 


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Beginning with the most widely used colour, the artist confidently strokes his canvases with a bold sweep of his hand, stopping to survey his handiwork only after finishing his initial composition of the set. 

Then comes the next much-in-use colour, followed by daubs of the highlight hues – setting the tone of his dialogue with the viewer.

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Speculative and timid, each canvas sports a beige backdrop with a touch of grey-black, smeared with hues of bright red and golden yellow.


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The artist now sets into motion the soft strokes of his brush and the contours of the face begin to appear.


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A shaven head-oblong face-faraway eyes, the artist’s muse is a carefully chiselled male member of his imagination, whose facial expressions are putty in his strokes.


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Quietude envelopes Hattarki while at work; as if in silent discourse with his muse, as the face emerges in full-bodied charm with a glimpse of the bust depicting a hint of elongated fingers and a bloated body. Characteristic fish-shaped eyes hold a distant look that invites the viewer to contemplate in companionship. Re-adopting the sponge, Hattarki sits back, surveying his work, a touch here, a pat there, shifting angles, turning the canvas...

He then picks up the last colour – to execute his master stroke to completion. 

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