Self-taught artist and activist for a number of issues related to mental health, disability, sexuality and human rights, Reshma Valliappan aka Val Resh is having her solo show Black, White and the Unseen at India International Centre.
The exhibition comprises 30 charcoal sketches made by Resh inspired by the Impressionist artists in late 19th century France as also some of her original works. By capturing movement in life and fleeting conditions of light, each of her works reflects the world in which they lived, rejecting classical subject matter.
“French Impressionism is characterised by concentration on the immediate visual impression produced by a scene and by the use of unmixed primary colours and small strokes to simulate actual reflected light,” says Resh.
“Interpreting an image as you see it is the philosophy initiated by Oscar Claude Monet, the pioneer of the Impressionist movement. My art aims to push this philosophy further yet not far-fetched in it’s reflection,” she adds.
Resh has reproduced Impressionist artists’ works in her own style. “These works are not exact copies of the original paintings; I have interpreted them as I see them to be. My version has darker skies and landscapes with added elements depicting my visual hallucinations. Some do not have all the elements that the originals have,” says Resh, who often explores the connections between the human mind and it’s mystical nature present through varied psycho-spiritual experiences through her art.
Also, while French Impressionism uses colour with light to present a subject matter, Resh chose to work with black as the absence (or lack of) light while white is the combination of all wavelengths of visible light. “By utilizing black and white to produce grey tones my attempt is to evoke the unseen (or the grey) to the viewer. This greyness of subject matter is reflective of the varied conditions of the human consciousness and experiences of multiple realities,” she remarks.
A strong advocate of mental health and a proponent of the healing power of creativity, Resh first showcased her paintings in an award-winning documentary by Public Service Broadcastng Trust, A Drop of Sunshine, by filmmaker Aparna Sanyal on her triumph over schizophrenia.
The exhibition is on at IIC Annexe Building till December 28, 11am to 7pm