Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Bhatman Forever

Above: the painter Venu Bhat, as seen by a bespectacled person exiting a sauna

If Joseph Albers did children's book illustration, he'd paint like Venu Bhat. In each of his works, a single figure, in or out of a car, is caught mid-flight, sometimes literally - in one, a police car sails calmly across the sky like a UFO - from a huddled-up cityscape that could be anywhere in the world. On the outskirts of a city built at the fringe of a desert landscape, a figure runs from a parked ambulance. Each painting is a carefully contrived setting for a miniature drama of escape. Each has its own little spiky moment that throws its apparent simplicity off-balance. They hold you.

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