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T. Athiveerapandian

Chennai, India Born 1966
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Attained a Diploma of Fine Art (1984-1989) and a Master of Fine Arts Degree at the Government College of Arts & Crafts, Chennai (1998-2000)

Selected Exhibitions

'Further Towards Nature', Solo Exhibition, The Noble Sage Art Gallery, London (2009); In the Fore, The Noble Sage, London (2008); 'Towards Nature', Solo Exhibition, The Mint, New Delhi (2008); 'The Primera Collection' Ixia, Bangalore (2008); 'In the Fore', The Noble Sage Art Gallery, London (2008); Serene Perception, Three-Man Show, Lalit Kala Academi Exhibition, Chennai (2007); Tenth Planet, Apparao Galleries, Chennai & New Delhi (2007); Kaleidoscope, Ayya Art Gallery, Chennai (2007); Maya, Artworld, Chennai (2007);Chennai Excite, The Noble Sage Art Gallery, London (2006); Self & Identity, Palazzo Art Gallery, Chennai (2005-6); Three Man Show, Sun Et Lumari, Mumbai (1999); 50th Indian Independence Day Exhibition, Chennai (1997); Regional Art Exhibition, Chennai (1996); National Exhibition of Arts, New Delhi(1995); Painting and Sculpture Exhibition, Sarala Art Centre, Chennai (1994); Young Painters Association Exhibition, Chitra Kala Parishad, Bangalore (1994);National Exhibition of Arts, Chennai (1994); National Exhibition of Arts, New Delhi (1993); All India Research Painting Exhibition, Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi(1992-3); Regional Art Exhibition, Chennai (1992); Regional Art Exhibition, Chennai (1990-91); National Exhibition of Arts, Lucknow (1990-91)

Selected Awards

Tamil Nadu State Academy Award (1997); Regional Lalit Kala Akademi Award for Painting (1992); Tamil Nadu Oviam Nunkalai Kuzhu State Award (1990-2); Research Grant Award, Lalit Kala Akademi (1990-1)

The Art of Love and Life

My abstractions resonate with the abstractions we see in life around us. Nature is itself a formal abstraction after all. It is this form of fragments that is the starting point for my painting. Fragmented images flow through my brush as unique colours inspired by what I see around me and in my mind. They flow into the canvas creating abstractions of that same life, a metaphor for the complexity of the life that we wade through.

My art is about me and you; its about all of humanity and the beautiful bond of love that binds us. I like to call it the art of love and life. As we all sail in the same boat, we all also look on the same work of art. There is space for everybody in my canvas. Every colour and every shade has a space in this world as it does on my canvas. The colours I find and will find are like the people I have come to know and the friends I am yet to make. Colours appear to me as people, as landscapes, as emotions, as everything that is pure, simple and pleasurable like love. Im happy when the colours flow and metamorphose into each other. It is like us hugging each other whether we know each other or not. We all search for love and we can find it amongst colours and many other things. I think the ultimate message of the work of art is love, without any cryptic circles and squares around it, a boundless love which springs from the clean heart of nature.

Im here today as a painter because of this love. Im here today only because of Manavalan, my older brother, mentor, friend and great artist in his own right. Just as one of Albrecht DŁrers brothers sacrificed his quest for art and went to work in the mines so his brother could enter art school, so did mine make a similar sacrifice. My brother, Manavalan could have entered art school four times over but did not as my family wouldnt allow him. Instead he stood by me and saw that I was able to go to art school and realise my dreams. It is Manavalans selfless love and support that set me on the path of colour. It is he who brought me back my first acrylic paints when he travelled as a marine engineer to different shores. I wouldnt have been able to afford them otherwise. I owe it all to him.

For many years I was disturbed when I painted. I couldnt focus on my canvas properly I would forget my surroundings, I would forget nature and subsequently colours wouldnt speak to me. Time would pass me by rather than inhabit my work. It is only after my daughters birth, my princess Oshino, that I realised the passage of time and was able to see my work more clearly. I owe a great deal to her.

Today, whatever problems or hardships I face, whatever complications, I yearn to make a beautiful world with my brush, a world of love which will holds everybody in it together.

T. Athiveerapandian

The first set of canvases The Noble Sage purchased from contemporary Indian artist Athiveerapandian in 2005 were stunning pieces by all accounts. Which ever way you looked at the works, if British art buyers were looking for abstraction from South India, strong abstract paintings with the vibrant potent colour one would expect of India; if they were searching for a style inspired by the flatness of ancient Tamil Nadu wall paintings and that took the natural world as a starting point, they were never going to be disappointed with this artists work. This first series of painting titled Towards Nature were a flamboyant array of strong colours stylistically arranged to depict or give the sense of flowers, leaves, trees, sand, water, shrubbery and all other things that make up the Chennai natural landscape. Beginning life in figurative art, Athiveerapandian quickly moved towards abstraction when he felt the thrill of pure colour and abstract form filling his canvas. Before 2005 a long and arduous process took place where Athiveerapandian looked to find happiness in his artistic idiom. His paintings were much darker and more broody, reminiscent perhaps of the work of Graham Sutherland. Even though the work was strong, he struggled to find patrons to support him and his painting. It was a struggle with himself as much as with the world.

The birth of his first child, Oshi, was a momentous occurrence in his life that brought new vigour and delightful colour to his brush, inspiring new paintings of intense life and movement. By 2005 when The Noble Sage encountered him, the first acrylic canvases titled Towards Nature had been completed. They burst with colour, excitement and exuberance, whilst his moodier past hung all around on his walls symbols of his journey to date. The artist himself described the sea as a key occupation for him, together with the play of natural land masses and the dramatic movements of the sky. Looking at his work, one was swept away with what one saw. As the series progresses the flower motif that was prevalent at the start became less intrusive on the general abstraction, shapes and forms echoing trees, foliage and thorny plant life in a slightly more discreet manner. The acrylic medium suited his temperament as a painter, allowing him to apply strong colours accurately and instinctively. As the artist said, it gives me energy to be able to immediately register what my mind perceives in relation to these natural forms and shapes.

By The Noble Sages annual show In the Fore in 2008, the gallery had sold nearly twenty canvases by the artist, a strong patronage having been created between our discerning collectors and the progression of Athiveerapandians work in Chennai. As canvases arrived from Athiveerapandians studio, it was clear that his skills were becoming sharper, his focus as to how and why he paints becoming more aligned with what the painter left as his finished canvas. His style had matured, his technique responding well to infrequent experiments in oil. In contrast to his 2005 works, where colours were left stylistically flat and abstract form likewise could relatively easily be related back to nature, Athiveerapandian three years later had a clear expressionist style developing. Figuration only remained in the subtle motif of a budding effect from one part of the painting around which the rest of the composition hung. One can still see the inspiration of the natural vegetation and landscape around him in India. Paintings (in a slower fashion) began to surrender shapes that resonated rock formations and soil movement. In his execution of the series, Athiveerapandian described a manner of initiating a canvas which begins with an understanding, appreciation and then synchronising of his own conscious and unconscious mind with the landscape that he sees. He conceives the landscape before him as a vast infinite space that he attempts to translate onto the canvas, letting at the same time the colours, emotions and formal elements within him find transposition into the painting.

His first London solo exhibition at The Noble Sage in 2009 follows a successful solo in New Delhi and a well received group show inthe same year along side senior respected artists such as S.H. Raza, Krishen Khanna and the late K.M. Adimoolam, a master abstract painter that many see as Athiveerapandians closest predecessor. It is clear to see that his 2007-9 canvases demonstrate an artist that has moved far away from the sharp contrasts and flat, stark choices of unmixed colour we saw in 2005. If anything, his work seems to revisit some of the broodier moments prior to the birth of his daughter where his abstract experiments were taking him to a darker place. Whereas before he seemed unarmed in these difficult attempts, now he appears fully armoured, able to attend to these melancholy areas of his expressionist mind without letting his artistic focus cave and give way.

In ATH0037 and ATH0038, the newest works to be collected by The Noble Sage, there is the sense that he is a mature man now taking up the gauntlet of his artistic creations of the past, ready to make those abstract experiments function as they were meant to once upon a time. The works are fiery and angry, making a battle of the artists perception of nature. In other paintings, Athiveerapandian achieves a three-dimensionality that one has never seen before in his work. Athiveerapandian tightens his palette to demonstrate the plasticity of his colour. In ATH0030, a canvas made up of a restricted assortment of bright greens and yellows (a decidedly rare choice of colour palette for the artist), Athiveerapandian finds a new lease of life in the paint. Broad, visible brushstrokes show an artist keen to let his work speak for itself. Ostentatious movements of bold colour fill the canvas. Whereas in other works, the artist tries to tidy away painterly strokes, here, all is left on show so we can wonder at the paint as much as at the painting.