This November, a memorable solo exhibition is coming to Agora Gallery, featuring the work of George Oommen, an artist who pours the passion and beauty of his memories and the delight and intelligence of his inner life into his lively, energetic creations. The result is a show which honestly reflects the painterâ€™s integrity and experiences, yet also reaches out to an audience of diverse backgrounds and knowledge, tapping into the best that is universal to humanity.
Oommen is continually inspired by Kerala, the place he was born and raised at the southern tip of India, and which he describes movingly as â€˜an earthly paradise.â€™ He returns there every year for an annual visit of a few weeks, and he always returns to Boston, where he now lives, reinvigorated and ready to infuse the images and sensations of Kerala into the paintings he creates at home. The contrast between the tropical climate and vivid colors that he loves so much in his birthplace, and the austere ambiance he values in Boston, is something that never ceases to interest and intrigue him, and has resulted in a rich treasure trove of artwork.
This Indian heritage comes into play in another way as well, as Oommen is fascinated by the stylistic influence of Indian miniatures, to which he was exposed from a young age. The compact forms he often favors in his artwork owe a direct debt to this formative influence, and the artist enjoys experimenting with variations of the concept of a square within a square â€“ so that the work is contained and structured, yet full of potential. Paradoxically, this geometric arrangement seems to evoke a sense of limitless space.
With his background as an architect and a city planner, Oommen is no stranger to the need for rationality and considered planning. Yet he combines these traits, and the intellectual rigor that lies behind them, with a passionate, energetic lushness of color and atmosphere that balances and even enhances the emphasis on the strength of line which also has a role to play in the works.
The artist manages to convey an element of magic with his works, partly through the bright, vivacious colors he prefers to employ. He is particular about the paint he uses, requiring a medium which is pliant, allowing him to achieve both areas of dense color and particularly runny washes.
Sensual yet spiritual, and rooted in the everyday while reaching towards the most transcendent aspects of life, the works both demand and reward attention and an open-minded, receptive attitude.
You can see more of George Oommenâ€™s emotive works on ARTmine, and learn more about him on his artist page on the Agora Gallery website.
Exhibition dates: November 1, 2012 â€“ November 21, 2012
Reception: Thursday, November 8, 2012 6-8 p.m.
Gallery Location: 530 West 25th St, New York City
Gallery Hours: Tues â€“ Sat, 11 a.m. â€“ 6 p.m.