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Modern & Contemporary Indian Art II Modern & Contemporary Indian Art II M. KRISHNAN (1912 - 1996)
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Born in 1912, M Krishnan was the youngest son of celebrated novelist and social reformer A. Madhaviah. Besides being a painter, M. Krishnan was an eminent writer, environmentalist and a pioneering wildlife photographer. His photographs have been represented in a 1985 collection titled 'Nights and Days'.
Having worked mostly in oil on canvas, M. Krishan's paintings are widely recognized for their empathy with rural folk presented before serene landscapes. The subtle tonality comes to life in this 1989 painting by him through his sensitive application of colour and may be interpreted as an evocation of the exultation of nature in harmony with rural life in an effective state of quietude and anticipation.
Like the amassing of clouds that will soon dissipate before our very eyes, the diurnal luminosity of this relatively small canvas seems in the process of looming what is (going to be) some representation. Denying any solid organizational structure, this untitled painting is compelling for any viewer to examine it for the slightest vague traces of any mark that may be indicative of anything beyond the bullock cart and the high horizon. This is where M. Krishnan's poetic imaginary brings into play a dialogue of the passivity of the canvas with the delicate and elusive earthy hues that shape and un-shape volume.
Distantly similar to the aesthetic sensibilities of Chinese Landscape painting, a romantic view of the bucolic explored through this language is suggestive of the National-Natural 'Indian' subtext much talked about by scholars and taken up as part of the nationalist project of Indian art and art history in several different ways during the time of pre-independence as well as post-independence India.
M. Krishnan passed away in 1996.