G R Iranna is an artist whose work transcends the boundaries of time and space. Born in 1970, its been barely ten years since he started painting professionally, and already his work is mature and profound.
Many of Iranna`s paintings depict pain as an abstract force that is translated visually in bruised textures and razor sharp cutting edges. His painting has always been far removed from an overriding, postmodern logic. Instead, Iranna uses the idealistic, representative and modernist language of Indian contemporary art. His most recent works are all visions of resistance. In just a glance, one can tell a sense of massive dynamic energy that pervades the surfaces. An energy that is fueled by torment and the struggle against it. Upon further inspection, one sees that these conflicts being played out on the surface are present also in those between one colour and another, between figure and hue, and between the crudeness and the expertise employed.
These works, set on canvas as well as tarpaulin, are symbolic of an important change in Iranna`s work. Maybe symbolic even of an attempt to break free from an establishment, or a style that is beginning to become claustrophobic. The large, fundamental figure that used to appear in Iranna`s early paintings emerges only twice in this later series, and though the artist continues to employ repeated motifs in his work, they seem now to be less figurative, leaning more towards form.
These pieces seem to have an almost romantic undertone: the result of Iranna`s attempt to break away from his own mould and reform his work. They cater to contemporary expectations, and reflect his need to pander many contradictory demands. Those of society as well as those of the artist himself.
In 1992, GR Iranna acquired his Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from the College of Visual Art, in Gulbarga. Two years later, he got his Master`s degree in painting from the College of Art, New Delhi. Between 1999 and 2000 he acted as artist-in-residence at Wimbledon School of Art, London.
Iranna`s first one-man show was held in 1992 at the College of Visual Art, Gulbarga. Since then, he has shown at: Delhi Art Gallery and Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai in 1995; Gallery Espace, New Delhi in 1998; `In the Shadow of Buddha` at Gallery Martini, Hong Kong in 1999; Wimbledon School of Art, London in 2000; Maulana Azad Centre for Indian Culture, Cairo in 2000 and The British Council & The Guild Art Gallery in 2001. Iranna has also participated in several group shows including at the Chitra Kala Parishad, Bangalore in 1990; Schoo`s Gallery, Amsterdam, Holland in 1995; Vedanta Art Gallery, Chicago, U.S.A. in 1998; `Icons of the Millennium` at Gallery Lakeeren, Mumbai in 1999 and `Black & White` at Art Today, New Delhi in 2000.
Iranna has received national and international recognition throughout his career. His awards include those at the All India Exhibition in Mysore and the College of Visual Art, New Delhi in 1992-92, the Bansi Parmimu Memorial Committee, New Delhi and the Delhi College of Art in 1993. In the same year, he won the MF Husain and Ram Kumar selection award at `In Search of Talent` by Vadhera Art Gallery, New Delhi. He has also been honoured in 1997 with a National Award from the Lalit Kala Academy and the AIFACS Award, at the show `50 years of Art in Independent India` in New Delhi.