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A theoretician and art historian, Subramanyan has written extensively on Indian art. His writings have formed a foundation for the study of contemporary Indian art. He has also written some delightful fables for children and illustrated them.A man of multifaceted talents, Subramanyan demolished banners between artist and artisan. He experimented with weaving and toy making. He also reinvested several mediums earlier used in Indian art. For example, the terracotta mural and glass painting found a new lease of life with his experiments.The artist gave the human figure a new dimension. Drawing upon the rich resources of myth, memory and tradition, Subramanyan tempers romanticism with wit and eroticism. He has received the Kalidas Samman in 198 1, the Padma Shree in 1975, a D. Litt. (Honoris Causa) from the Rabindra Bharati University, Calcutta in 1992 and became a Fellow of Kerala Lalit Kala Akademi in 1993.
Subramanyan is a major presence on the Indian art scene. His flexibility of
expression and richness of visual language evolve from the diverse materials
he works with as painter, muralist, printmaker, relief-sculptor and
designer. In his recent work Subramanyan uses many registers of language to
slide from high seriousness to irony, celebration to subversion, descriptive
rendering to lyrical evocation, fact to metaphor, and from real to surreal
with the ingenuity of a consummate craftsman and the alertness of a nimble
book “The Painted platters” by Professor R. Siva Kumar, published by The
Guild, takes us on a special journey into K.G. Subramanyan’s series of
work called saras (a genre of ritualistic art within Bengal’s folk art),
documenting and celebrating them.
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