Frames of Existence: By Nalini S.Malaviya
Rekha Rao’s recent series of paintings ‘Melancholy State of Happiness’ gravitates towards abstraction – fields of colour delineated by bold lines, discrete pigments and dense textures. Conceptually, her works are anchored around her response to her immediate environment, adopting an observational approach, yet an active witness to the rapidly changing times. In this body of works, her ecological concerns predominate and represent urban issues and challenges, such as those afflicting local water bodies and other prevailing calamitous outcomes. A minimal palette paints an evocative landscape that is at times subdued and subtle, and at other moments, bold and dramatic.
Rekha’s art has always been an intuitive process, a response to her environment and surroundings – she found inspiration in the world around her – markets, villages, cities, films and literature. From her early works, exhibited in the United States, which were primarily abstract, Rekha found herself drawn to a semi abstract vocabulary that was anchored in the primacy of colours. A deeply entrenched Indian sensibility and connect to her roots, is reflected in splashes of colours and motifs that are characteristically part of the Indian heritage. These are markers derived from cultural, religious and social associations. A modicum of figural elements completes the narrative.
In 2003, she moved to Bangalore and has lived here since. She continues to work actively for issues close to her heart and runs a non-governmental organization Mali for underprivileged women. She is also a Trustee of the K K Hebbar Art Foundation, which supports deserving artists and art projects.
Rekha Rao Hebbar
Rekha Rao Hebbar studied painting under her eminent artist father K K Hebbar and holds a post graduate in History, from Bombay University. Her paintings are an inter-play of visual experiences gleaned from her surroundings. They are a conflation of association. The search is for a grammar of colors which will effectively illuminate her response towards events and happenings that serve as a trigger. She works on paper and canvas.
Rekha’s works are in the collection of National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), Mumbai, Lalit Kala Akademi , New Delhi. Singapore National Museum, Fukuoka Gallery Japan and Venkatappa Gallery Bengaluru besides several private collectors.