I am passionate about the process of creating a work of art, says artist V Ramankutty

Dr. V Ramankutty with the works presented during his exhibition at the Amuseum | Photo credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

“I think I’m better,” Dr. V Ramankutty says with a chuckle, looking at one of his acrylic on canvas works. “Painting on canvas has always been a challenge compared to paper. I love experimenting and it usually works better on paper than it does on canvas,” says the veteran healthcare professional artist-researcher, speaking on the sidelines of his ongoing exhibition, Promises to Keep, at the Amuseum Art Gallery. .

Research Director at Amala Cancer Research Centre, Thrissur, Ramankutty has presented over 35 abstract paintings, both on paper and canvas, to the gallery. On a panel in the gallery, he writes: “Abstract art is the music of the soul. Music should free you, invite you to dance to the rhythm of the universe. Along the same lines, abstract art is a visual celebration, a dance to the beat of the eternal within you that finds expression in the pulse of the universe…’

'Tree of Life', a work by Dr. V Ramankutty

‘Tree of Life’, a work by Dr V Ramankutty | Photo credit: special arrangement

“The process of creating a work of art excites me. It is an unplanned exercise. As it progresses, I add layers at different stages until I arrive at a shape or meaning,” Ramankutty explains. “There is no message in any of the works. I only try to arrange shapes, colors and shapes.

Abundance of colors

We are attracted by his use of colors in beautiful combinations. The paintings leave an impact on you, with the consistent use of hues, even as you try to decipher the meaning. “It’s like an outpouring. I don’t know how it happens.

While we wonder if he incorporated images of cells – micro and macro – and organs and human forms in some of his works, he says, “It could have happened because of my medical training. But it’s not voluntary. There are also abstract references to nature and landscape.

He has been painting since childhood. “My father (former Kerala Chief Minister C Achutha Menon) claimed that he used to paint although I never saw him do it! There were a few artists on his side of the family , like his brother, Gopu Menon. When I also started painting, it was not a surprise. However, my artistic activities were not encouraged much because studies were a priority.

The books opened her up to the world of art, thanks to her teacher and mentor, the late Dr. CR Soman, a renowned nutritionist and public health activist. “A great connoisseur of the arts, he kept an enormous collection of books on art. One of them was a 20-volume series, 20th century masters. I learned on my own with this collection, especially about the abstract style. I fell in love with the works of big names such as Paul Klee and Wassily Kandersky. I was wondering how anyone could draw like that!

There was a phase where he decided to liquidate everything. “Once I got into my profession (he was a pediatrician and later focused on public health and social medicine), I wondered why I should continue to paint. That changed when I read a book on oil painting. The author, a woman, had written why a non-professional artist should continue to paint. His observation was that if you keep doing this, there will come a time when your work will be appreciated. It was a motivation. Thus, over the years, art has become for him the way to be “with myself”. It does what meditation or prayer does for others.

'Life Forms', a work by Dr V Ramankutty

‘Life Forms’, a work by Dr V Ramankutty | Photo credit: special arrangement

Most of his paintings are in acrylic. “It has a different syntax compared to watercolor or oil. When I decided to use acrylic, many fellow artists and art lovers discouraged me. I wanted to see why they used it. had done and that’s when I came across some awesome acrylic works by masters like David Hockney.

In addition to ink works and reprints of his old works, a set of digital illustrations made on iPad were presented.

Digital drawings by Dr. V Ramankutty

Digital Drawings by Dr. V Ramankutty | Photo credit: special arrangement

Having conducted solo and group exhibitions, Ramankutty says the one at Jehangir Art Gallery in 2013 was special. “My work has been exhibited alongside that of stalwarts such as NKP Muthukoya, K Damodaran, Prem Singh, Sasikumar…As a viewer, I am fascinated by modern art. There is a charm in what they create .

The exhibit is on at the Amuseum near Althara Junction until November 28. Time: 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.

I am passionate about the process of creating a work of art, says artist V Ramankutty

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