Art & Culture

Clustering concepts

Your might have outgrown your interest for animation, but an art exhibition in the city that was held recently, could change your mind. Sunanda Pati tells you why and how.

The rishi who reminds one of an armored fighter, Goddess Kaali with numerous ‘Mr. Pringles’ heads garlanding her and a colorful robot- like figure that’s reminiscent of Lord Ganesha. These are just a few glimpses of ‘Asia’- American artist Toby Barnes’ art. His latest exhibition was held at the Gallery Time and Space on the 19th of December.

Barnes’ art involves a multiplicity that is very rare. Call it a result of the amalgamating concepts of spirituality and technology or the artist’s own take of realism mixed with imagination, the effect is spectacular. But the thing that’s most eye-catching is the ample use of anime. Essentially Japanese, it alludes to concepts revolving around animation. “My work is primarily inspired by Eastern philosophy and contemporary pop/techno-culture iconography”, Barnes says not hiding his admiration for both.

A preoccupation with Oriental spirituality is what sets Barnes’ works apart.  The Buddhist yantras, the baby Lord Krishna or the teenage Shiva (a work the artist prefers to call by the same name), though, have all been captured with a certain amount of light- heartedness by the artist. His explorations are rather imaginary and attain a larger- than- life quality once he applies a cartoon- like aspect to them. “Throughout, my paintings work with the tensions between the sacred and the kitsch, the universal and the particular of culture to explore themes such as impermanence, hybridity, and the politics of cultural representation in digital modernity.  Past thus meets present in a strange and productive synthesis of the technological and the spiritual that taps into the collective unconsciousness of Generation X & Y'ers born and bred on video games and Saturday morning cartoons” the artist points out.

For more details on the artist and his works contact:

Gallery Time and Space,
#55, Lavelle Road,
Bangalore- 560001
Ph: 91 80 3296 9412/ 2212 4117
Tags: Toby Barnes, Anime, Prananime, kitsch art

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