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Archan Nair: What’s in a Name?

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April 30th, 2009

gaia by archannair 585x390 Archan Nair:  Whats in a Name?

Boys! Girls! Friends! Lovers

You really should take a look at the rest of this guy’s work before you read any further.  Really.  I was going to put a different piece up  as this isn’t necessarily representative of the rest of the work of his that I’ve seen, but I figured that a photograph of a naked girl bathing in a cartoon Fantasyland would serve as a better statement of the nature of blog readers than some of the rest of Archan Nair’s quasi-surreal, graphic-design-inspired work. As I went through the images, I was reminded at once of those artists from the sixties through eighties– pop guys, guys like this and this– who made names for themselves for marketing schlock in packages that this crazy, product-driven cookie-cutter culture ate whole without pallet cleansers– and the crazier ones, the bad boys and the junkies who were hot as much for their crazed personalities and their ways of wooing Time Magazine into building little monuments for them to sell even more consumerist product glut.

And then, there’s a part of me that looks at Nair’s work here– bright colors, digital manipulations, all Klimt and Chagall and Dali rolled into a mix, but with the cleanliness that only the post-Digital age artists can produce– and I’m left a little confused.  What gets me about Nair’s work isn’t that it’s particularly moving, but that it’s so damn post-modern that I just wish he’d pick up a brush and PAINT something..

Then there’s the other weird little bit about Nair’s work.  Well, not his work at all, really, but his apparent credentials: that he might not get a gallery show till he’s well into his fifties– he’s in his twenties now– because he, like Basquiat, is an “outside” artist.  In other words, Nair might have all the work ethic, talent, and good will in the world, but unless he’s got the requisite three letters behind his name, he won’t get any “legitimate” gallery to look at his work.  On the plus side of the equation, though, the man’s last name is Nair– which means that somewhere in this great sphere, some dupable, desperate woman (or high school swimmer) has typed his last name and found the splashes of color and line this neocoloristicdigiman has put onto his site.  And maybe they’ll be good enough to stick around.

There are a couple pieces– even in the gallery here, I think– that look kind of like warped Rorsach tests.  So it goes:  every artist has the pieces that look rushed or if they’re just a little too imitative of the great masters.  Everybody has stolen the Klimt line or the Picasso droop (whatever that line is called in the famous blue period guitar piece, the one that some insurance company warped in order to tell you that it could make your life better.)  But as long as there are avenues from which artists like him can get their work shown— and people who can see it, send it, talk about it, (if a little bitchily,) will be able to keep it alive and give it a place to grow.

Come to think of it, the girl’s legs could stand in for a commercial.  Nair (the company) should call Nair (the artist) and strike a deal.  And if they’re in the market for profit sharing– since I came up with the brilliant idea– then I am, of course, willing to take an agent’s fee.


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