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Sunday, 29 May 2016

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Channa Ekanayake - A search for aesthetics in the abstract

Channa Ekanayake likes to paint the abstract and for him art is a form of escapism. He says, "For me nothing is more abstract than reality. The longer I look at an object the more abstract it becomes and ironically the more real. The purpose of abstraction is to relieve my subject from the weight of reality." His favourite theme is the discrepancy between appearance and reality and he explores dimensions with a minimum colour palette. He uses complimentary colours that counterbalance each other such as orange and blue as well as red and green. For him art is an exploration of the inner world and he arranges objects in his paintings according to the golden ratio which came to art from architecture.


(Pictures by Shan Rambukwella)

He is influenced by Cubism and Mathematics and uses geometrical shapes such as rectangles, triangles and circles in his paintings. The artist explains the way in which Mathematics has influenced his paintings by highlighting the horizontal lines, vertical lines and diagonals. His aim is to create balance through proportion so that it brings serenity to the viewer. For him only logic creates aesthetics and he says, "there is logic and pattern and rhythm in everything." The artist draws a parallel between the way in which he uses shapes from Mathematics in his paintings, and the Metaphysical poet John Donne's use of the image of the compass in his poem "A Valediction Forbidding Mourning" to illuminate the relationship between art and logic and emotion and intellect.

Channa is also influenced by the French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau and the English poet William Wordsworth, and likes painting rural scenes such as his home town in Hanguranketa. He says that reading has enabled him keep his imagination alive and is interested in magical realism and the novels of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Franz Kafka and and Fyodor Dostoyevsky. The artist depicts magical realism in his paintings by juxtaposing fantasy with reality and by placing overlapping objects. He experiments with technique using the brush and palette knife, and by using mixed mediums of oil, acrylic, soft pastel and egg tempera in his paintings. He studied both science and literature and is a graduate of the University of Peradeniya. He works as a full time artist and likes watching movies and gardening during his free time.

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