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Pravin Kannanur’s ‘Core’ series of paintings at Lokame Tharavadu turn heads

Pravin Kannanur’s paintings on display at ongoing Lokame Tharavadu contemporary art show in Alappuzha manifest the micro and macro aspects of nature

Pravin Kannanur was trained as a zoologist. His nimble fingers that once painstakingly explored the structures of cells, vertebra and vascular network now create paintings, murals and installations.

A nautilus shell, the spiralling arm of a galaxy, the eye of a cyclone, growth rings and heartwood of the cross-section of a tree — the entire gamut of whorl patterns that nature has in store is being revealed through the Core, a series of nine abstract works by Mr. Kannanur. It is on display at the ongoing Lokame Tharavadu contemporary art show in Alappuzha.

His works manifest the micro and macro aspects of nature. “It is an abstraction of several sculptural characteristics I see in nature, like the arrangement of tree rings and tree canopies. It’s the same pattern you can see in the spiral whorls of galaxies and hurricanes,” says Mr. Kannanur who uses the Fibonacci series as an underlay in his works.

Combining disciplines

The Core combines maths, art and nature. “Core is how I reconstruct the universe on canvas. I look at the world topologically. I like to see how structures map onto each other. Physical structures occurring in nature and the physical forces that dictate their form hold parallels with social constructs as well,” says Kannanur who cites artists Bhagwan Chavan, Vijay Shinde and Prabhakar Kolte among his influences.

Mr. Kannanur, a multidisciplinary artist based in Chennai, has his roots in Palakkad and works predominantly in the visual arts, theatre and contemporary dance. A founding member of the theatre group Magic Lantern and the contemporary art collective Basement 21, his paintings have been exhibited in solo shows at the Alliance Française de Madras, InKo Centre, The Amethyst in Chennai, Chitrakala Parishath in Bengaluru, The India Habitat Centre, New Delhi and Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai.

He has directed several plays for the experimental theatre group Koothu-P-Pattarai and for Magic Lantern. Kalki’s Ponniyin Selvan is his landmark production.

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