Juxtaposed together, the works of artists Stalin Joseph and Chandra Morkonda make for a very impressive visual experience at the ongoing show titled Passions of Narrative organised by Gallery Space at Park Hyatt. While Stalin is loved for his abstract expressionism, Chandra enthralls viewers with his symbolically charged representational works.
Chandra’s works are very intricate and detailed, containing huge forms of trees surrounded by myriad motifs of vegetation and thick clusters of shrubs. On the other hand, Stalin’s works celebrate the pure and seamless amalgamation of various elements of painting, such as line, form, colour and texture.
Describing his non-representational style of painting, Stalin says, “There is no mention of known or seen forms in my work. While painting, I explore the space without any preconceived mindset. There is an innate energy that directs me to overlap the colours and excavate novel textures and expanses.”
The minimalistic, geometric forms are thus open to interpretation. With a natural and instinctual sense of composition and a deep understanding of line and colour, Stalin creates a marvellous experience for the viewers. An obvious sense of equilibrium and peace emanates from the mature treatment of the picture surface. And while the paintings show no relation with the real world, they are infused with a strong surreal aspect and metaphysical strength.
Interestingly, both Stalin and Chandra completed their fine arts studies from Hyderabad —the former from S.V. College and Central University, and the latter from JNTU. Chandra states that he got inspired to paint trees because of his experience of being surrounded by plenty of trees while pursuing his postgraduate studies in Shantiniketan.
“I was enthralled when I visited the tribal areas and saw how people lovingly decorate the outer and inner walls of their houses with effervescent, decorative forms and lively colour applications. A large part of my work draws inspiration from traditional and folk art practices,” explains Chandra, adding that each work is dedicated to a God or Goddess and that the central form of a tree is embedded with multiple symbols representing that particular deity. One of his works, which is dedicated to Lord Shiva, contains symbolic representations like the Nandi, the Ganga river flowing from the branch of a tree and a moon on the other side of the composition.