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Krishna Reddy Art Basel OVR-Pioneers

MARCH 24-27,2021: Art Basel is foregrounding trailblazing artistic practices with ‘OVR: Pioneers’. The  sixth edition of Online Viewing Rooms is  dedicated to artists who have broken new aesthetic, conceptual, or socio-political ground. ‘OVR: Pioneers’  features up to 100 exhibitors the edition running from March 24–27, 2021.

Experimenter Gallery from Kolkata, India presents the printmaker guru and pioneer Krishna Reddy. 8 magnificent prints present a narrative of brilliance and deep density of technique and compositional clarity. Celebrated artist, wandering scholar, innovator and experimenter, Krishna Reddy was a pivotal figure in India’s artistic path through Modernism.

Impeccable genesis

Reddy’s evolution is a study in art history. After completing his studies under Nandalal Bose at Kala Bhavan, Santiniketan in 1947, Reddy taught art at Kalakshetra in Madras for three years. Going abroad in 1951, he attended Slade School of Fine Arts, London, with Henry Moore, for two years.

After Slade he moved to the continent where he furthered his contact with European Modernism, studying sculpture with Ossip Zadkine in Paris (1952–1955) and with Mario Marini in Milan (1956–1957). Also in Paris, he studied engraving (1953–1955) with S.W.Hayter at Atelier 17, which he later joined, becoming a professor and associate director in 1965.

In 1977 Reddy moved to New York to teach at New York University where he established the print department and was Professor Emeritus in Art.

Rainbow of shifting colours

As a master printmaker, Reddy has been credited with the viscosity technique- a process allowing for simultaneous colour printing. The artist’s prints presented in this epic curation of world famous pioneers, testify to Reddy’s explosive, exuberant approach to colour as we remain fascinated with the seemingly endless variation of one image from one plate, which the artist constantly sculpted and altered, printed in a rainbow of shifting colours.Between  the Many and the One  1971 and Life Movement 1972 are two seminal works that echo the mystical moorings he wove into the multiple plates to signify earthy tenors within the rhythms of intaglios.

Reddy had an inchoate insignia, a cerebral brilliance in the way he handled the residue of colour tones in the fusion of  a hyper-reductive figuration, with  transcendental echoes, karmic end notes, and a poetic  philosophy of a  beauteous unity in an anxiety driven  deeply fractured world-Pastorale 1958 is a telling example.

In the OVR-Pioneers showcase we can glimpse his radiating lines that convey a sense of movement. In the mid-1960s, he used lines with panache and combined sophisticated, tonal and  textural effects. The deep moody print of Patorale created in a grey/blue mood reflects  the vortex of an atmospherics along with  cresting and crater like  pools of water drawn into its orbit at the bottom. Printmaking for him was about amplifying the sense of dynamism and energy to create  dramatic works that captured nature in its majestic aura-tic intensity.

Reddy achieved an incredibly rare alchemy of feeling as a master printmaker. Simultaneously he also depicted the diabolic , wilful impermanence of nature – he created a powerful artistic language to express the personal and collective experience  of man and life’s experiences. He achieved wide acclaim over seven  decades for a profound and energetic practice that explored  environments and what an artist can do with finer feelings of observation and cerebra-aesthetic advantages.

Image credit: Experimenter Gallery Kolkata, Art Basel

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Views expressed above are the author’s own.



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