George Oommen’s works form an unexpectedly harmonious bridge between two worlds. Born in Kerala, a state in the southwest of India, Oommen makes paintings whose sun-infused colors and elegant compositions capture the feel of that area. But while his images, which exude a tropical sensuality, may at first seem casual and open-ended, with their drips and overlapping bands of contrasting tones, the artist’s skill at juxtaposing colors gives his canvases structure and coherence. The result is an architectural rigor that brings to mind such masters of Western abstraction as Barnett Newman and Mark Rothko.
Oommen is strongly attracted to bright shades of paints, and uses them as part of a process that also includes spraying water onto his canvases to create drips. The result is eye-catching but also thought-provoking and manages to be entirely approachable yet somehow transcendent. The textures Oommen creates convey a dreamlike sense of time passing, one that gives his paintings an uncanny ability to linger in the viewer’s memory.