Rhapsody in Abstraction
Padma Jayaraj, Thrissur
September 26, 2009
(Published in www.narthaki.com)
The ongoing exhibition, Rhapsody in Abstraction, of Fine Art Photography at Chaitanya Art Gallery, Kochi is a unique show. The artist, Unnikrishnan Pulikkal embarks on a rare quest through a not very familiar terrain. An artist capturing an exceptional moment from the space-time continuum and framing it in a special context to highlight an insight, is what Fine Art Photography is all about. But one needs to be an alchemist to turn base metal into gold. Here the artist is a chosen one with a God given talent and the result… holy communion that makes Rhapsody in Abstraction, an epiphany.
The sacred, is an eternal value pursued by artists since the dawn of civilization. Nature has been the source of inspiration, the source of mystery bordering on the divine. Rhapsody in Abstraction is a similar pursuit. The camera vision projects the familiar from an unfamiliar angle to reveal an unknown entity.
The Universe: the photograph of a water-drop. At one level it tells the story of a droplet, or any tiny creation with its innumerable parallels. In the process it acquires a symbolic dimension. It is the reflection captured in a split second that creates the magic giving a divine facet. Its transparence reflects a mystery! The realistic acquires shades of the poetic and philosophic truths. The dark backdrop enhances its mystery while the colorfully designed edges make it a beautiful composition.
Zen Leaf and Fern Abstract reveal how beauty, like truth, lies in the heart of contradictions. Solitude against multitude is the body and its soul alive in its hidden heart of contrasts. Color contrasts give rhythm to the pieces. In a meditative mood that the pictures evoke in the viewer, a philosophy is born, which is highly subjective echoing down memory lane.
The sound of universe is a sequence that juxtaposes heard and unheard melodies, nature and art. The rhythm of falling water drops and the chiming of the bell resonate in your mindscape with music known and unknown.
Ripple Abstract rivals an abstract-painting. Here the fleeting movement is captured to make an everlasting still. You have watched ripples ever since you were a child. Watching ripples brings back the childhood in you. But here it gives a twist to your sensibilities. The composition is an awe inspiring piece of work that gives a peep unto the unknown. It carries the depth of sea, its whirlpools, storms, and all its mysteries.
Evening Rhapsody is a sequence of four shots arranged to create a symphony. The play of receding evening light on the grass in a splash of red and gold, the sprinkling of green and gold as the light dances on a field, are notes that set vibrations in solitude.
The Bird Sequence is a different piece juxtaposing the bird and its relation to humans. Birds bring solace and beauty. Artists have honored the bird. But cruelty knows no bounds. Humans have caged her. The piece voices environmental concerns. The show is a marvel. Artistic substance, painterly execution, philosophic suggestions, and technical progress fall in line to create a cumulative effect that enriches aesthetic experience. Done in pigment ink on archival cotton rag paper, the pictures have a singular appearance. Somewhere you want more of them. You can view the exhibition online at www.caithanya-artgallery.com all through September.
“Individual photographs are meticulously combined to make them a composite visual text having meaningful montages of ‘Seeing vision’,” commented Vijayakumar Menon, the noted art-critic of Kerala.
As a person, Unnikrishnan Pulikkal is a happy combination of both science and art. He is a practicing pediatrician and a nature photographer, who has travelled all the way from pencil drawing, oil painting to fine art photography. He has won recognition for his tireless pursuit of excellence. He is a Member and Associate of The Royal Photographic Society UK, Member of National Geographic Society USA, and the founder director of The Butterfly Art Foundation India. His award winning works have been exhibited around the nation. No doubt the artist is helping to establish the relatively unknown genre, fine art photography in India.