Initialled in Malayalam (lower centre left)
Signed, titled, dated and inscribed 'K.G. Subramanyan / 'Ragini Vibhas' / 2003 / Reverse painting in plastic sheet in gouache and oils / 'Keep this paper in place; it protects the painting surface.' (on the reverse)
The Guild Art Gallery, Mumbai
K.G. Subramanyan: Recent Works, The Guild Art Gallery, Mumbai, 2003
An extremely versatile artist, respected teacher and an avid writer, Subramanyan developed his repertoire with inspiration from Indian traditional arts and crafts. His experiments with reverse paintings began around the late 1970’s, thereby exposing him to many possibilities. These works stressed on elaborate visual narratives and are charged with humour, surprise and the inexplicable.
“I doodle constantly, based on the images I see and their transformations. Their mental extensions and changes of identity. I want my painting to be as quick and direct as my doodles, and the final stages of most paintings try to have their spontaneity. They often alter, even reverse, the original logic. In the way I do reverse paintings, all changes and improvisations pertain to the early stages where I use water colours. Here I can change, even wipe out images, introduce new details. In the later stage, where I back or lock the water-colour image with oil colours, my improvisations are confined to the use of colour. While painting with gouache colours or oils, I can improvise at every stage […] I try to give my reverse paintings an iconic character. I have used informal sketchiness only in a few of them. (K.G. Subramanyan in conversation with R. Siva Kumar, New Works: K.G. Subramanyan 2014, Seagull Foundation for the Arts, exhibition catalogue, Calcutta, 2014, p. 7 & 8)