11 NOVEMBER - 11 DECEMBER 2021
There is something ethereal about Ruwan Prasanna’s latest exhibition, Aluyama.
Beginning with his Unknown Bird series, as his career has progressed, so has
Ruwan Prasanna’s foray into abstraction. Today, his works are arboreal
landscapes, unabashedly abstract and evoking the sensation of being immersed in
nature rather than literally depicting it. At the forefront of Ruwan Prasanna’s
work is instinct; when asked when he knows a work is complete, the artist
states that he stops when the process of painting no longer brings him
excitement. It is this temporality and immediacy in his work that brings it to life.
Their calculated imperfection represents their vitality, alerting us to the fleeting
nature of Ruwan Prasanna’s subject matter. The impasto of the paint, in its
thickness and overt irregulation, draws attention to the texture of Ruwan
Prasanna’s work. He places atmosphere at the forefront, distancing himself from
the tired figurative nature of the traditional landscape.
In his 2018 series Komorebi, the artist represented the dappled filtering of the
sun through leaves; a gestural motif he returned to a year later in his Twilight series. Now canonized as his signature style, Twilight boasted a dark colour palette that was deep and dusky. It is clear that there is something markedly different about his conceptualization in this latest series - alerting us to his progression as an artist who has come to be considered one of Sri Lanka’s most important abstract painters. The colours explored in Ruwan Prasanna’s Aluyama, or Dawn, are those unseen by the naked eye; instead, they are representative of the essence of dawn. Splashed across the canvases in spontaneous, thick gestural strokes are a kaleidoscope of bright, pulsating vivid colours.
To Ruwan Prasanna, the dawning of a new day represents a rejuvenation of energy. In this he finds something soothing, something wonderfully hopeful. Aluyama fully embodies the poetic sense of colour that Prasanna inherits from the Post Impressionists. The dancing light and colours of dawn vibrate at a frequency that shakes away the worries of yesterday; leaving us feeling fresh and light. This is the feeling that Ruwan Prasanna evokes in his exhibition through the twenty canvas works bathed in swaths of rich orange and yellows with supple pinks and greens dissolving together to create a sense of fluidity. The sequential nature of his work leads the viewer from one moment in time to another, from one slant of light to the other, in a procession that mimics the dawning of a new day.