Visual Rhythms At Alliance

Updated: Aug 31 2003, 05:30am hrs
THE Galerie Romain Roland at Alliance Francaise, which has been the venue of many significant exhibition in the past, has opened the present season with one of the works of Komala Varadan. A dancer, writer, photographer and painter, Ms Varadan is a many sided personality, so her work draws inspiration from many sources.

Her present series of paintings concentrates on dance. She has portrayed a number of different dance styles, ranging from Bharatanatyam, Kathak and Odissi, which she has learnt under various gurus, to Manipuri, Kathakali, Koodiyattam, Yakshagana and Bhangra.

Beyond India, her exhibition features the Indonesian fan dance, European ballet, Russian folk dances and images in ritual performances. Her repertoire is rich in nuances as is to be expected of one who knows the refinements of her art.

What is interesting, however, is her visual treatment of her subject. While she begins her work with a linear image, she breaks it down by obscuring it with a myriad rhythmic brushstrokes that reflect the essential feature of a particular dance style or a movement of it.

The result is a presentation of colour and motion, in which the colours are like a musical score and the brushtrokes the scale. In certain works, like Durga Mahishasurmardini, Kathakali and works inspired by certain swift and swirling movements of Bharatanatyam, she has achieved a fine balance of motion, colour and texture that represents not only the dance at a moment in time, but its essence. This only a dancer can do.

The exhibition, as a result, allows one to appreciate the nuances of motion and sound purely visually as rhythms and breaks that are seen, directing one to the unseen and unheard.

Komala Varadans exhibition is a good beginning, to be followed up by one of the French artist, GAP, the grand-daughter of a noted impressionist painter of the 19th century. So one can expect an interesting season at the Gallery in Delhis South Extension this year.