A trajectory of thoughts 
- Padma Jayaraj, Thrissur
e-mail: padmajayaraj@gmail.com

March 8, 2009 
Art history has recorded the achievements of many late bloomers. Durbar Hall Art Centre, Kochi, recently displayed the stirrings of an artist who has bypassed his creative urge to follow life's imperatives. However, his inner longings have been so strong that he retraced his steps to come back, where his ways parted, to find a lost trail.  Manmadhan has heard the songs of his heart in the yellow woods after retirement. Selections from his work, 48 pieces on show: 19 paintings and 29 photographs that include digital art, are his mature commentary on life and nature. 

The exhibition 'Medley Mine' is the trajectory of his thoughts, an evocative and thought provoking presentation. You walk along, and then come back to linger and ponder... The very first piece, 'Happy Family' is a beautiful composition of triangles in deep blue relieved by soft purple, green and brown, with a nucleus of governing white. "It is a redo of what he did at 20," said his proud wife Prema, who entertains probing viewers. And she asks to move a little back, and oh, yes.... there emerge figures of the family, the mother, father, the child and their dog. This is the signature of the artist. You find the soul and spirit peeping at you. And many viewers hang on hearing the resonance of their heart beat.
'Myth' speaks of the illusion of ideals. Birds that are blessed with wings and Man whose imagination takes him beyond the unreachable are in reality captives; freedom is only an illusion. Are all ideals just myths?... you wonder.  'Passion' is another youthful painting to all who are young in mind: harmony of colours, abstract in form.

Haunted Woods
'Elements of Life' (Panchbhutha) introduces the vitality of Nature: blue sky, green earth, glowing against dull brown of the land, orange blaze of sunrise, radiant waters of the sea peep at you from tiny rectangles arranged as if on a musical scale. 
'Haunted Woods,' like a mystic poem, is a haunting piece of work. Shades of green are orchestrated to paint a forest: woods ancient, baffling... the tree trunks could well be human forms, of those who left their marks, ages ago on the woods of life. 'Ruins' holds unrecorded human history in its hidden depths. 'Compassion' is a mature interpretation of love and companionship ripening in old age. 
'Envy' is symbolic while 'Revolt,' 'Kindergarten Memories,' 'Suryanelli' and 'Abandoned in Luxury' are topical social comments of a humanist.
Reaching for the skies
Portrait of an artist
His photographs, mostly of nature, also reveal the perception of an artist and the skill of a photographer. 'Plantain Glow' looks like a painting. 'Cool Blue' converts the tourist tarnished sights of Kerala into a refreshing work because of its special colours. 'Reaching for Skies,' an original view of a hillscape is a rare angle that proclaims human aspiration as the camera focuses on old leafless tree trunks. 'Portrait of a Photographer' too is a unique picture of the lens man's shadow that tells of the portrait of an artist.

'Crafting Life,' the photograph of a nomadic woman is a tribute to human dignity.
His Hampi collections too is unique with His Majesty still surveying his lost domain.
The digital pieces tend to be more abstract. "You can say the Internet is my Guru," said the artist. He has imbibed global trends from the Net and gained from experiences of artists and photographers all over the world, shared online. 
The artist communicates through the colours he uses, figures, and the composition of frames packing layers of meanings into a work of art. Manmadhan is self-taught, both as a painter and a photographer. And his unique style is a blend of abstract art and surrealism. Each work has message; CR Manmadhan, the seasoned journalist, speaks through his paintings now.

Padma Jayaraj is a freelance writer and a regular contributor to www.narthaki.com