UNTITLED (GENUINE GUILT)
Acrylic and holographic pigment on canvas. A diptych.
Justin Ponmany is from a contemporary school of painting that is rooted in the media and cinema industries of Mumbai, but has strong identifications with elements from Western Post-Modern painting. Tentatively labelled under photo-realism, much of his work includes aggressive imagery and techniques akin to those recognised in Pop, Surreal and Expressionistic styles. This work much like others in this series radiates a fervent sense of individual voice and pointed address.
His signature use of phosphorescent pigment in combination with graphic reproduction and photo manipulation gives a fanciful and evanescent dimension to his work. Ponmany’s materials result in works that are physically dynamic and visually alter themselves when viewed with different angles, distances and lighting conditions. The dreamy rainbow prisms that cascade over the shimmering silver sheen are classic totems of Ponmany’s visual vocabulary.
The linguistic devices that Ponmany suspends into the backdrop of his paintings are seemingly whimsical, yet their repetition exudes seriousness. Here the invocations of ‘Genuine Guilt’ certainly have capitalist connotations working in harmony with the figurative element here. And one can see how he draws his influences from this city whose landscape is constantly under construction. The bare torso of a manual labourer looks commonplace, yet poised with an axe gains epic empowerment. He outlines the dichotomies of urban and rural, rich and poor, literate and uneducated. The futuristic and obfuscating hologram with the repetitive digital scrawl in the backdrop strongly contrasts with the subject matter Ponmany is representing; the solitary life of a drifting rural migrant within an urbane city.
Ponmany uses objects like this as a doorway to his understanding of a community, represented here by a faceless, ambiguous figure. His materials often pertain to the industrial; plastic, resin, ink and salt. Through these materials he created holographic media, which has the ability for multitude light effects, creating a transient quality to his paintings.
unframed: overall 190.5 x 264.2 cm.; 75 x 104 in.
Bose Pacia Gallery, New York
Acquired directly from the above by the current owner
Justin Ponmany: Dedicated to my 20s, Bose Pacia, Nature Morte, New York and New Delhi, 2007, illustration p. 29-33