K. G. Subramanyan Biography

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K. G. Subramanyan | Biography  | Life | Artworks

K. G. Subramanyan
K. G. Subramanyan
K.G. Subramanyan, a prolific contemporary artist, was a painter, a muralist, designer, printmaker, toymaker, weaver and also an art educationist and writer. As a painter, he has a remarkable versatility, and through his ability to handle a large variety of media he had produced many pictorial innovations.

Beginning with a careful, almost realistic, approach, Subramanyan moved from the 1960s towards a formal simplicity. In his still life such as “Studio-Tables” executed with brilliance and facility, one can detect an affinity with the Post-Cubist still life of Baroque. In some others, he emphasizes geometric structures to keep the design intact. The pictures of this period are bolder and firmer than anything attempted earlier. 
Subramanyan, perhaps, strengthened the idea of multiple images during his visit to the USA in 1966-67. His diptych the late 1960s “Studio Sense”, “Windows and Interiors”, culminated in some of his polyptychs. He depicted interiors and exteriors for highly imaginative pictorial effects. The devices used for showing interior and exterior simultaneously differ from those commonly used in Indian miniature and are marked for their pictorial structures.

In his disciplined approach to composition, his main interest has been the search for simplification for form, reflected impressively in his later painting on acrylic sheets. Apparently simpler these works are the result of his quest for different visual formulation. Which for him has been a personal journey of discovery?

His paintings on acrylic sheets are characterized by flattened volume, brightly colored areas-some of the patterned and some plane but all of them resolutely flat, in a collage of shifting planes. Though his compositions remaining polyptych, in essence, the use of sharp angular stirpes and planes seems to have completely disappeared and his world set free to match Matisse’s simplicity such as in “Still Life with turning women” or “Pots of Flowers and Dongs”. 
Some of the more complex once are records of events, studies of characters gossip stories-a peculiar fusion of humor and pathos. These highly interesting portraits of society. Infused with metaphor sensuousness and glitter. In these acrylic Subrahmanyan has created a world inhabited mainly by women, simple, suave and “true to life”.
He exhilarates in expression unrepressed color, color for color’s sake as Derain would have put it. Subramanyan’s  “Poorvapalli series”, “Birds Over Benares”, “wardrobe Drama” and “Bangladesh” series painted in the mid-1980s are still some of his most fascinating works. And, off course, his terracotta reliefs of the early 1960s rendered in an expressionist style, are memorable.


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