‘Interactions,’ The three-person art exhibition held recently at the Harold Pieris art gallery, offered an interesting perspective of three very different creative impulses, combining the paintings, drawings, installations and photography of Sidath Perera, Yanthi Lebbe and Eric Suriyasena.
Through his acrylic paintings and pen and ink drawings, Sidath Perera offered a window into a voluptuous world of suppressed fantasy and desire. His works consist of nudes and voyeur male figures, hinting at a subterranean world of creature comforts bent on feasting the senses. However, this sensuality is kept in check by muted colours – the lushness which might have recalled the tropical paradise of Paul Gauguin is not there, as if the artist held himself in check.
Eric Suriyasena offers a world of sensuous colour and harmonious design in keeping with traditional motifs and design configurations. They offer a sense of peace and harmony, with no hint of conflict. They are mostly large designs best viewed from a distance, creating a sense of tranquility through the viewer’s eye and mind.
Yanthi Lebbe’s work differs markedly from the other two artists. Her works include photographs as well. It is mostly monochrome, a condition which, as the artist puts it, came about as the result of personal grief and a deep sense of loss. But there is a sensuous feel about her black and white which overcomes the limitations of these two colours.
Her mixed media installation ‘Human Interaction’ examines the evolution of ideas and matter as they evolve. The artist uses the term ‘metamorphosis’ to describe this process, as ‘evolve’ suggests a more mundane, everyday cycle of renewal and decay.
The idea that broken objects can have a new lease of life, more attractive in form than before, is expressed through the ancient Japanese ceramic technique of ‘Kintsuki/kinsukurai’ whereby broken ceramic is mended bonding them and painting them with gold or silver lacquer. The artist also uses illustrations from Lewis Caroll’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’ -- the well-known ‘Mad Hatter’s Tea Party’ episode – to explore the interaction between emotions, its cause and the chaos created by it.
But her most striking work was a relatively small black and white photograph, taken of her own leg looking down from a seated position. It’s a good example of creating an abstract design from an everyday situation and objects, drawing the eye to a focusing point (the artist’s foot) through several layers consisting of folds, black and white dots and enigmatic shapes.