Ruwan Prasanna's post-impressionist landscapes depict his native Sri Lanka in vibrant colour and fluid brush strokes on large-scale canvases.Read More
Born in Sri Lanka, Ruwan Prasanna studied Fine Arts at the University of Kelaniya in Colombo, before pursuing a career in advertising while continuing to paint. Prasanna's early influences include fellow Sri Lankan abstract painter Jagath Ravindra.
Prasanna held his first solo show at Paradise Road Galleries in 2010. Since 2015, the artist has been refining his style—a blend of saturated pigments applied in rhythmic strokes— emerging as one of the few abstract painters in Sri Lanka's contemporary art scene.
Prasanna's paintings use colour to reflect the motion of light. The resulting paintings achieve a sense of depth through high contrast hues distributed in spontaneous arrangements.
Early acrylic-on-canvas works like Landscape XIII (2014) and Landscape XVIII (2015) show erupting bouquets assembled from primary colours, resembling the works of American painter Joan Mitchell, known for painting large-scale abstract works with the same intensity.
Prasanna's 'Komorebi' (2018) is a series of multi-panel paintings that capture the gradual stages of sunset as seen from below the canopy trees of Colombo, and borrows its title from the Japanese word meaning 'the light shining through the trees'.
In Komorebi XXIV (2018), an acrylic-on-canvas painting, bright yellow sits atop lush green foliage. Light spreads and emerges from beneath the vegetation, reflecting the richness of Sri Lanka's cityscapes and Prasanna's detailed observations.
Prasanna's 'Twilight' (2019) series recovers his existing interest in landscape and flora to recreate the contrast in the sky as the sun sets below the horizon.
In Twilight III (2019), the transition from purple to orange and green to red using short brush strokes shows the city coming to life through complementary hues applied with rhythmic precision. While in Twilight I (2019), bright reds overtake dark splatters of purple and green, suggesting rather a scene inside the city, in which light not only refers to a point in time but the saturation from heat—an aggregation of bodies perhaps, intercepted up close.
Prasanna's work has been shown widely across Colombo, Sri Lanka.
Select solo exhibitions include Twilight, Paradise Road Galleries, Colombo (2019); Komorebi, Saskia Fernando Gallery, Colombo (2017); Landscapes, Saskia Fernando Gallery, Colombo (2013); and Ruwan Prasanna, Paradise Road Galleries, Colombo (2010).
Selected group exhibitions include Contemporary Landscapes, Saskia Fernando Gallery, Colombo (2013); Kala Pola, George Keyt Foundation (2011); Group Exhibition, Artway Gallery, Colombo (2009); State Festival Exhibition of Painting & Sculpture, National Art Gallery, Colombo (2008); Ogilvy 'Other side' exhibition, Barefoot Gallery, Colombo (2007); and Exhibition of Young Contemporaries, Harold and Peiris Gallery, Colombo (2004).
Elaine YJ Zheng | Ocula | 2021