Blind Poet & the Butterflies I
mixed media on paper mounted on canvas
36 x 60 inches
C. Douglas was born in Kerala in 1951. At twenty he joined the Government college of Arts and Crafts, Madras. His colored drawings from the niid-70's with the foetus motif show an influence of K. Ramanujam's line and K.C.S. Panikar's moods. Before obtaining his diploma in painting (1976) he settled down at Cholarnandal style, like that of Visvanathan, but cooler and more complex. From 1981 to 1988 he lived in West Germany, his paintings gradually softer and less structured, imbibed stains, scribbles, tears and dirty tones. Later he drew there enigmatic and tangled layers of bodily felt emotions - gentle and painfully attuned. in which an experience of Wols is present. His acquaintance with the New Expressionists, Clemente and Anselm Kiefer stimulate only his fully mature work- after the return to Cholamandal. using mud, charcoal and water colors on crinkling, frayer paper, he arrived at a universalized figure which approximates both subliminal depths and analysis, while with the medium. Stronger eventually, but always restrained to matter, textured blacks nuances by lines, to earth and corroded, metallic greys his works have harsh mild, angular human figures, often with masks or only foetus set man unclear, permeable space which in a tactile as well as symbolic and lyrical way blends signs and evocations of a civilization palimpsest. In it indistinct but wide suggestions of personal and general narratives, situations, values and art-historical quotations add to a sense of an entire life journey. There blind violence, sexual drive and passive progression, building, reflecting, suffering, enduring and loving, decomposition and rebirth, chaos and creativity coexist in a suspended fluidity and simultaneity, all leaving traces on the torn, pierces, collaged and crumpled paper, smoothed by charcoal.lead, crayons and chalk.
Douglas has had several solo exhibitions: Muniau 1982, Munich 1986, Amsterdam 1994, Bombay, Madras and Bangalore, Sakshi 1992-1996. His participation includes shows in Germany 1981-90, Amsterdam 1991, 95, Help age India, Bombay 1991, 93, V-11 Triennale, New Delhi 1992, Art for Cry, Biennale Bhopal, Contemporary Indian painters, Jehangir Art Gallery, Bombay, Urban signals, Birla Art Academy, Bombay l995, during the past two years at Sakshi, Bangalore, Bombay, The Gallery, Madras, Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi, Chemoud Bombay, Values Art Foundation, Madras. Douglas has received awards from the 1.K.A., Madras in 1980, 89, 90, Bharat Bhavan Biennale in 1990, a national award for paintings, New Delhi 1992,junior and senior Government of India Cultural Fellowships for 1991-93, 1994-96 and a Charles Wallace grant in 1994 to study ceramics in the Netherlands.