About Pradeep Puthoor
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Few know that Puthoor used to be an illustrator and graphic designer in Bombay who painted at night as his own private passion. Illustration is certainly no surprise when one looks at his art today. Many works demonstrate the distinctive look of this skilled artform: precise linear draughtsmanship and flat, bright, highly choreographed colour. In this recent set of paper works acquired by The Noble Sage one can see the most minute of lines kept consistent in density and clarity. The exactitude is quite breath-taking. Like the work of Ravi Shankar, a fellow Keralan artist, Puthoor shows us just what is capable with a pen and paper. Even more striking however is the sense of vitality he can bring to the image; each line seems animated leaving us unsure if we are the animators or if it is the gift of the artist. This idea of viewer participation is significant to his work. Puthoor says that his paintings lie in the middle of a reality and imagination. All the elements are woven together in a tapestry that reveals to us a composition of art that touches an onlooker psychologically and causes him to evolve, that in itself is as real as any experience. And that gives the paintings life. So the viewer in turn becomes as much a creator as the artist. In this manner the artist relies on the viewer to react to each work so that it may come alive and take on a larger meaning.
The magical mechanics of achieving a Utopian civilisation appears to be a common factor of much of Puthoors work. In Pink Soul Island (2009), Puthoor uses a wide palette and a subtly symmetrical composition to depict an alternate version of a city skyline like that of Manhattan or Mumbai. Structures have bird heads at their peak, reminiscent of totem poles and other tribal imagery (a common motif in his work) though have a futuristic character too. This alternate urban universe has an immediate madcap appearance, however, because of the seas peaceful horizon in the background and the harmonious composition, the bizarreness of the scene soon relaxes into normality before the eye. The pink soul city appears mesmerising, inviting us to forget its unreality. Puthoor waves a wand over us leaving us spellbound by the possibility of an idyllic urban existence. In other works such as Ways of Impressing (2009), Erotic Landing (2009) and Survival Tips (2009), Pradeep investigates the pervading eroticism of all natures objects. In some phallic imagery is rather lucid, in others the sexual message comes through motifs such as thorns, venus flytraps and strange erogenous-looking forms.