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Artist Profile3
Recreating and relocating reality on canvas
Artist Justin Ponmany likes to work on and with definite documentary evidence inherent in images appropriated from the print media and photography. The peculiar photographs of specific sites, scenes and people from day-to-day life, which he finds striking, serve as the reference and starting point for his creations. He sifts through the barrage of visual content, either original or sourced, with an idea of recreating and relocating it on canvas.

Consider one of his mixed-media works taking a cue from pigeons set to break into flight at Dadar's Kabutar Khana (Pigeon's hole) photographed by him. He manipulated the photograph digitally; treated the printout with developing fluids and synthetic resins, and transferred it on the canvas, again treating the same with paint and rust.

In his painterly processes, the image invariably goes through many upgrades in such a way that the concept of the original gets redundant. It becomes parenthesized as the source image is processed. The process of image making is as vital as its end result to the artist, according to whom, painting happens in the revival. For him, the process is not a mere reproduction of images or a dispassionate reportage. He rather rediscovers everyday images and other visual references to add a new dimension with his intellectual inputs, and fills them with alternative meanings.

With media culture becoming universal, reflecting and representing post modern forms, the technique has acquired a contemporary hue with artists like Justin Ponmany logically and instinctively turning to it for inspiration. He belongs to the growing breed of artists who source their inspiration from real-life images reflects infusion of fresh idiom for raising issues related to personal or socio-political identities. His appealing aesthetic is a complex combination of the grittiness of everyday communication modes and technologies and protocols of iteration (coupled) with the lyricism of a meditation on soul, self, time, place, survival and decay.

In positioning himself - as an individual and artist - in a demanding, even volatile metropolitan context, Justin Ponmany seeks out implements, which are pungently artisanal or robustly industrial-grade.

Justin Ponmany, born in Kerala in 1974, has lived and worked in Mumbai. He completed his B.F.A. in painting from Sir J.J. School of Art. He was awarded Fellowship at J.J. School of Art in 1993. He has had a number of solo shows apart from participation in various exhibitions in India and internationally during his promising career so far. His work, as mentioned above, is greatly inspired by the dynamism of the city whose landscape is constantly undergoing change. As he has mentioned: "My work is spurred on by the sudden moment of truth when everything around collapses and only the threadbare nakedness of the weaving remains."

The idea of collapsing geographical borders underscores his work even as the entire city becomes his site and source for working around the self and the mass, space and environment. It also raises pointed queries about phenomenon of migration and the urban depressed, lack and also the politics of lack. The street is often his preferred metaphor for panning out self-images of a commuter in transit or caught in an inevitable traffic jam, marking a moment of repose; a temporary rupture of the pervasive speed, which shapes the world by force. His work reflects genuine social consciousness that is identifiable, albeit subtly rendered.

The artist’s relatively unconventional materials comprise epoxy, resin, foil, printing ink and hologram. Through his riddling combinations of silvery hologram foil and rich pigment, through his allusions to an archive of memory available in blurred snapshots, he acquaints viewers with the paradox of the postmodern moment: to the irony that individual experience today is profoundly intimate and inexplicably unshareable, and yet (the same) can be publicly broadcasted to anonymous auditors and viewers, thanks to new media. Justin Ponmany’s holographic paintings of plastic memory explore human states through layering fragmented imagery.