Sunday, October 9, 2016

‘Human, Humanoid and Poetry in Wonderland’ 7th Solo Exhibition of Paintings by Albert Ashok

Recent Paintings of Albert Ashok
7th Solo Exhibition of Paintings  by Albert Ashok

Recent Paintings of Albert Ashok

The title of the exhibition of the present series of paintings by Albert Ashok, which happens to be his 7th solo is ‘Human, Humanoid and Poetry in Wonderland’. He has some preference for the world of grotesque and fantasy, which he calls ‘Wonderland’. He titled his last exposition as ‘Chaos in Wonderland’. This wonderland is not far off from his existence, from the environment he lives in, that is from the contemporary times. But in the process of fantasizing, the known world and the present time gets transformed. Elements of past and future, elements of myth and imaginary world creep in. But the aim of the artist is to unmask the various layers of reality that darkens the present state of existence. Albert is basically a romantic rebellion. The absurdity of contemporary existence haunts him. He tries to find a way out, some times in the form of anguish, often in the form of apparent sobriety and lyrical transcendence. In this exhibition there are works of both these trends,
Fantasy is an essential mode of expression in visual arts. Literally or lexically the word means an imagined state of situation usually pleasant and often to some extent caustic or sarcastic. In Greek aesthetics the entire field of expression used to be classified in two streams: mimesis and fantasia. Mimesis reflected the natural. When the image deviated from the natural, it used to be categorized as fantasia. In Indian classical aesthetics the term ‘chamatkara’ was devised by the aesthetician Visvanatha to indicate the essence of fantasy. Abhinabagupta, another aesthetician assimilated ‘chamatkara’ with ‘rasa’ to give the term greater validity. However in Indian classicism ‘chamatkara’ was elevated to the state of the transcendental. But the situation of primitivist and modernist art is different. In both these trends fantasy is a general and very significant trend of expression that tends to enter deeper both to mystify and demystify the reality, to dissect it. Fantasy is often used as a form of rebellion, as has been done in expressionism, cubism and surrealism.
The forms of Albert Ashok are based on naturalism. He transforms the voluminous illusionist three dimensional rendering into a state of comic ridiculous situation to mimic the pseudo-valor and expanded egoistic ambition of human being, often to find a pleasant situation to indicate peace and tranquility. The way he transforms the natural is akin to the ridiculous situation of fantasy. When he tries for tranquility his expressions reflect some elements of ‘chamatkara’.
Albert Ashok is a self made man and self taught artist. From a blank situation he has struggled hard to come to his present position of an established artist. The struggle has given him an insight to look into and realize the human situation and the state of affairs through which the contemporary civilization is soaring high with a deep void within it. To him the entire situation is ridiculous, a sort of wonderland and pulsating with a possibility of annihilation. His fantasy grows out of this void.
In the present exhibition we see his large format canvases painted in acrylic showing various forms of fantasy, vibrant and tranquil. In the painting titled ‘Humanoid’ he paints a couple on horse back. Out of the dynamism he extracts a sense of void. In ‘Happy Moments’ a couple sits on a sofa, the man with a guitar in hand, the woman with a book. In some of the other works like ‘Sohag’, where a woman takes a bath in a pond, ‘The Blue Musician’ playing guitar, ‘Yellow Bird and a Cowherd’, a pleasant pastoral scene, the artist creates different faces of ‘Wonderland’. The myth is far from existing reality. ‘Wonderland’ is a tragic void.

4 Feb 2016

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