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J. M. S. Mani
J. M. S. Mani
J. M. S. Mani
J. M. S. Mani
J. M. S. Mani
J. M. S. Mani
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Corollary to common belief that artists like space and time, JMS is someone who is always on the go, is always doing something and always has somewhere to be. An artist who is as vibrant as his paintings, his works reflect his effervescent personality.

‘Face Value’ is commonly understood as nothing more, nothing less than what it is of any given subject. In the works of JMS Mani, what is seen and felt are sentiments that are true and untainted, with nothing personified or embellished. There is drama and expression achieved through the use of different techniques, diverse style and the language of colour. His experiences and emotions running parallel, his works encase in them a timeless existence. Its value neither increasing nor diminishing, each work in its own time and space is a true masterpiece. Be it the sparkly cheerfulness of the Badami people or the pained countenance of the Mother and Child, its visual is undeniable and its story powerful.

There is a certain vivaciousness that enters his voice when speaking of the Badami people, the caves and mountains found in their town inspired him to create a series of artworks based on his experiences there over the years. Badami is a historical place he says, describing it with pride and reverence, as the birthplace of his Guru RM Hadapad. It was where he took his children and students to mingle with the locals.

In the Badami Series he has portrayed the locals with their innocence and lively positive attitude towards life that is reflected in their smiling faces and colourful clothes. The paintings have a whole market feel to them with elements like a bunch of bananas, the roosters, garlands and baskets of flowers are repetitive props that add a touch to the village fragrance. The ambiguous background and the objects found in the foreground help to radiate the simplicity and hardworking nature of the characters depicted. The artist reminisces that their expressive gesticulation, posture and their whole demeanor displayed happiness, love and a zest for life.

In contrast to his effervescent Badami collection, his mother and child series is quieter, muted with the black faces, less interactive and lost to reality. It invokes a sense of fear or loss; rightly so because the artist was sick and away from his pregnant daughter, making him a worried man in thought and action. True to his expressive nature, this restlessness is reflected in his drawings.          

As is evident, his technique and style per say reflect the emotion of his paintings. While the Badami Series is done in the impressionistic style with impasto technique – with bright, contrasting colours and smooth yet pronounced brush strokes, the Mother and Child series has a darker palette with mostly black and pronounced jagged strokes. He is an artist present in the moment, a true impressionist by heart whose reflection we see in every painting. His figures on the other hand are oblivious and non-interactive to the viewer. The characters are in their own parallel universe and exist only to narrate the emotions of the artist. The artist’s works displays a multitude of expressive abstractions; experimenting with simple recurrent subjects that if viewed at face value will extract new and animated perceptions.

He’s been very experimental with his artistic methods. His gamut of knowledge comprises of graphics, sculpture, watercolour, etching, mixed media works and even has his own print making studio. He has painted not only on canvas but on wood, metal and other varied materials. With his works displayed in the white house and all over the world his versatility is endless.

Beneeta Xavier

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Face Value

Forum Art Gallery presents
'Face Value'
an online exhibition of paintings
by
J. M. S. Mani
On view from 27th August 2020