A mélange of Watercolours | Sunday Observer

A mélange of Watercolours

19 August, 2018

‘Beyond the Water Margin’ an exhibition of watercolour works is now open to the public at the Lionel Wendt Art Gallery, from August 18 to 20. Seven contemporary watercolour artists participate at the exhibition.

The team of artists, lead by organiser Sanjeewee Senevirathna comprises Gunasiri Kolambage, Basil Cooray, Nilusha Weerakkody, Lalith Ranjan, Asanka Wijerathna and Sandatharaka Abeysinghe.

‘Beyond the Water Margin’ is “the very first time that Sri Lankan watercolour artists from different walks of life with varied styles and subjects, could be viewed at the same gallery,” said the International Watercolour Society –Sri Lanka head Sanjeewee Senevirathna. The opportunity “opens a way for the spectator to connect with diverse concepts and works within a common space,” he commented.

It is a diverse lineup of artists. Gunasiri Kolambage is a premiere watercolour artist with a unique style of his own. His work blends traditional art into his visuals, sometimes inclining towards abstraction. Basil Cooray’s work goes beyond his illustrations in the expression of sentiment. ‘Human figure’ being his subject a large portion of his art consists of nude female figures. ‘Cultural Space of the Urban Man’ is the subject of Sanjeewee Senevirathna. He paints cultural spaces fine tuned with dramatic shadows, the colours attributing to individual expression. Nilusha Weerakkody’s paintings are a unique expression of the material world resulting from human activities. With warm and sensuous colours to depict worldly desires, his artwork is dotted with symbolism. Lalith Ranjan’s identity rests in the skillful depiction of detail. Night life in urban spaces, being his subject, he paints the blurred details of urban life peeping through darkness without harming the medium. Portrait is the challenge taken by Asanka Wijerathna as a watercolour artist. Close up and personal are his depictions bringing out emotion as well as the aesthetic beauty of the figures. Minimalism is the signature of Sandatharaka Abeysinghe’s work while he depicts the natural environment. Juxtaposing the broad boundless nature against the urban man. He tends to limit his interference on the paper to a few brush strokes and patches of colour.

A form of art used since time immemorial, watercolour has dominated Asian Art, especially, in East Asian countries such as, China and Japan. Though not very prominent, it had had its veneer in Egyptian times but later enjoyed considerable prominence in the western world of Art. Watercolour is considered a ‘difficult’ form due to its unforgiving nature. Though artists using other media such as, oil and acrylics could edit their work if needed, watercolour calls for perfection in line colour and form as no paint over is possible without ruining the original work.