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M. Siva

Chennai, India Born 1977
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Attained a Master of Fine Arts Degree at the Government College of Arts & Crafts, Chennai (1994 2001)

Selected Solo Exhibitions

Ambaari, Apparao Galleries, Chennai (2008); Paintings and Installations Exhibition, Alliance Francais, Chennai (2003)

Selected Group Exhibitions

Trilogy, The Noble Sage, London (2008);The Artof Investment, Ashvita Gallery, Coimbatore (2007); Best of South, Apparao Galleries, Delhi (2007); Beyond APAC, Gallery Sri Parvati, Chennai (2007); 'Chennai Excite, The Noble Sage, London (2006); Self & Identity, Palazzo Art Gallery, Chennai (2005-6); National Exhibition of Art, Lucknow (2005); Exhibition of Indian Contemporary Art, Accra, Ghana (2005); Regional Art Exhibition, Lalit Kala Akademi, Chennai (2004); National Exhibition of Art, Kochin (2004); Sathan Thembran Palace Installation Sculpture, Trissur (2003); ABC Group Show, Apparao Art Gallery, Chennai; Veedu Group Show, Lalit Kala Akademi, Chennai (2002); Three man exhibition at Palazzo Art Gallery, Chennai (2002); International Mini-Print Show, Cadaques, Spain (2001); Realistic painting group show at Russian Cultural Centre, Chennai (2000); MFA Group show, Government College of Arts & Crafts, Chennai (2000); Oviam Nunkalai Kuzhu, Chennai (2000); Metaphar Group Show, Government College of Arts & Crafts, Chennai (1999); Oviam Nunkalai Kuzhu Painting Exhibition, Chennai(1997); Oviam Nunkalai Kuzhu Painting Exhibition, Chennai (1996)

Selected Awards

Arnawaz Vasudev Charities Scholarship (2003-4); Regional Research Scholarship from Lalit Kala Akademi (2002-3); Arnawaz Vasudev Charities Scholarship (2002-3); State Award, Tamil Nadu Oviam Nunkalai Kuzhu (2000); Student Award, Tamil Nadu Oviam Nunkalai Kuzhu (1999)

K. Benitha Perciyal on M. Siva

I must be honest with you. Siva and I didnt get on at first. We were very different characters, opposites really. He would get irritated with me and I would get irritated with him! We had a love-hate relationship. Slowly we started understanding each other. By the first Trilogy show in 2006 we were very close, really in sync. We were determined to grow the Chennai scene through our art. That determination bound us together. Today he is a very empowered painter I dont like the idea of an artist having a style but there is a definite continuity within his work The way he uses colour, often bright colour. It is always impressive. I have always been scared of colour, of working big also. He does it so casually. He is never satisfied by a canvas until his interaction with the canvas is complete. He doesnt struggle. It is more an exportation. He gives himself up to the work entirely.

Siva comes from a family of traditional folk dramatists, his famous grandfather having a definitive impact on him and the formation of his artistic idiom. Like Perciyal, Siva has experienced great success over the last two years. Now with patrons in abundance around him, Siva is a more assured, relaxed character. The anxieties and insecurities that were present previously have died down and simultaneously his art has improved and centred on exploring the dramatic dreamscape imagery for which he is known. His paintings are characteristically simple in composition and content; shapes are delineated with dark outline and a single colour often is used to describe form. This style highlights most of all his deft draughtsmanship and skilful pictorial arrangement. Content of his work always has a certain theatricality that relates to his upbringing as well as his personality. His technique and palette have changed a great deal from two years back however. Before there was bright, perhaps garish, flat colour deliberately reminiscent of stage set design. Today, instead, Siva spends a great deal of time experimenting with thin layers of colour beneath the surface of the painting. This under-painting creates a different atmosphere for his work, particularly as his choice of colour has on the whole darkened in tone. His final paintings are dramatic and engrossing like watching a wonderfully surreal opera and then being invited on stage to sing. Siva draws us into a dreamscape or hypnotises us by a single mesmeric, symbolic object like a mysterious pot or levitating South Indian ceremonial palanquin. Look long enough at the work and we ask ourselves instinctively: Why are we here? How did we get here? Meanwhile the artist floats through his works as his classic ghostly male form, gracefully and contentedly watching us ponder.

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