Swayambhu - A solo show of Drawings and Sculptures by Bolla Srinivasa Reddy
Bolla Srinivas Reddy's present exhibition titled, 'Swayambhu', embodies artworks with their independent existence of creative force and a genesis of emotive expressions. For him, the title does not stand for a mere self-existence but refers to a womb or an egg (a recurring motif in his works) as the cause of all objects or creations. The existence, in the beautiful creations, is conceived as a self-manifestation of the omnipresent 'Brahman' at His free will.
The title refers to the Sanskrit phrase 'svayam bhavati asti iti svayambhuh' which confirms the 'self-birth' from a golden egg (hiranya garbha) or a universal germ. Rigveda elucidates the aspect of the self-manifestation, where the creator of the universe manifested 'Himself, before actually initiating the creation of the whole world and infusing life into all sorts of things under the Sun. Also, according to Matsyapurana the swayambhu, as a form beyond senses, entered into the egg when everything else was static.
Since this exhibition comprises drawings, sculptures and paintings created over a period of time, it does not hold any curatorial ambition as such but falls into a perspective of individual thought process and metamorphosis of mediums and the nuances of artistic impulses at a given condition. Most of the artworks show a kind of spontaneity, just as swayambhu, exploring the very possibilities in a flux of art practice while prying for an innovative visual dialect. In the very flux, Reddy at the same time, acknowledges and overlooks the significance of metamorphosis of forms, which inevitably results into a greater manifestation not only in terms of sheer ideological aspect but also in terms of 'making' of art.
His earlier works, which were produced after his return from M.S. University of Baroda as a Post Graduate, carry forward narrative figurative and quasi-fantastic visual idioms. The versatile artist also tries his hand at making highly rendered pen & ink drawings as well as paintings on canvas. Drawing is an essential, predominant element in Reddy's art. The intricately rendered drawings rtarrate complex pictorial fictions, unusual paradoxes and tender satires. As a source and resource for his creative energy, Reddy constantly relies on his own experiences. Thus, his elongated figures with codified pictorial language epitomize a tormented yet enduring human being who claims viewer's attention for a dialogue.
The canvases are also textured with multiple layers of tinted color, where the figures appear in the most basic structure of human form, akin to primitive cave drawings. The figures engage in various activities and serve as chronicles of human life in all its glory. The large sculptures, intricate pen & ink drawings and rigid pictorial compositions suggest a sort of enigma as the figures in pensive moods are often caught up in a world far beyond the mundane and the heads of human-like creatures sprout out of mounds similar to mushrooms.
Apparently, the 'head' has appeared consistently in his work as a recurrent motif perhaps signifying the importance of the mind for knowledge and the face for an identity. The identity further is extended in his recent artworks inquiring the very existence. In this context, 'Swayambhu' can also be seen as an independent entity, who, as a creator, deals with his existence, on his own accord and identity. Thus, Reddy's visual idiom can be seen as a Darwinian evolution or continuation of his previous series based on mushrooms and fully grown, elongated corporeal bodies, which are now simplified into 'Heads' and seem to emerge out of their shells, experiencing mundane life and questioning their own existence.
Reddy's realization of law of nature and his inclination to Indian thought is evident in his artworks. The hefty egg shaped heads, often facing upward, by and large represent the initiation of the core of the world and contemplating to submerge into the very world itself. Whereas his intricate drawings narrate his everyday experiences. At times, both drawing and sculpture come together negotiating the real and the spiritual aspects of life. One of his series of 'Heads' featured in a two person show, a few years back are a release from his earlier mythical forms to much more real world. He handles this transformation with an effortless panache. A set of bronze heads placed beside each other stand tall, conversing and conspiring with the spectator. Each one having a unique expression also has metaphoric imagery incised and textured onto their surfaces. For instance, one of the head wears a politician's cap, one is blindfolded, another has a third eye etc evoking multiple meanings that engage the onlooker in deciphering these symbols. In some sculptures and drawings an unusual elongation is attained to articulate the vertically which might refer to the growth and spirituality. To substantiate the idea of self manifestation, the 'swayambhu', basic cosmic elements are metaphorically conceived, whereby both physical and metaphysical imagery is employed to accomplish the meaning.