Art News & Views

[The Month That Was]


Art Events Kolkata, January – February 2012

by Mrinal Ghosh

Gandhara Art Gallery                                                    
27 December, 2011 to 17 January, 2012

The exhibition showcased the works of four young artists, Dhrupadi Wahshat Ghosh, Sambaran Das, Sujay Mukherjee and Saikat Surai. The paintings and drawings of Sambaran Das were expressionist and rebellious in nature full of strength and vigour displaying dilapidated and pathetic human conditions in contemporary circumstances. His works were the central point of attraction of the show. The other three artists worked on alternative or cutting age type of art that were full of confusion and weak in execution. Dhrupadi's works were combination of pop and comic strip type. Saikat made a video. Sujay's multi layered sight specific installation was autobiographical in nature conveying the constraints of personal existence as a rising artist.

Recent Works by Arindam Chatterjee
Akar Prakar Gallery                                                  
6 January to 4 February, 2012

Arindam is a Kolkata based artist well known for his introspective abstract paintings. In the present series of mostly monochromatic works with dominance of dark along with traces of other colours done in mixed media of oil, charcoal, ink, dry pigments and tissue paper etc on canvas and linen within the textured surface of various layers very often some figures have been subtly incorporated to convey an environment of melancholy and decay. Despite being near-abstract the works posit a deep sense of melancholic human predicament in contemporary social situation. The titles of the paintings also reveal this concern. Memory of a Reaped Field show a space encumbered with iron structures of three dimensional geometrical types. In Abandoned Factory Shed in addition to the structural elements of the shed some human presence can also be detected. These are few of the examples of the artist's concern about dismayed reality.

Intuitive Landscapes by Vasant Pandit
Chitrakoot Art Gallery                                                     
23 January to 31 January, 2012

The paintings of Vasant Pandit (1924-2003), who was born in Maharashtra but worked in Kolkata through a considerable period of his life, showcased in this exhibition are mainly landscape based. Some landscapes are devoid of any human presence. They are lonely, quiet and introspective. In some landscapes the figures appear. But the figures are silent. These small format mixed media landscapes on paper as supported with textured surfaces are of a very exceptional genre, different from the general trend of the landscaped practiced by contemporary artists. These are intuitive. Though based on the visible nature his works transform nature to posit an image of the artist's personal sensibility, his meditative mind. In that sense he imposes some sort of spirituality, which is not of the conventional mode displaying religiosity but goes deeper into the darkened primitivist source. His drawings are also very strong with structural elements.

Reba Hore: Works on Canvas, Bronze and Terracotta
The Seagull Foundation of the Arts                            
24 January to 22 February, 2012

This is the first exhibition after the demise of Reba Hore (1926-2009) on 9 March 2009. She was an intuitive and rebellious artist drawing her primary inspiration from socio-political movement of 1940-s and her very personal attachment to the life around her with her husband Somnath Hore, daughter Chandana and her parents. Though not retrospective in nature, the exhibition showcased her 68 paintings and 17 sculptures. About her own nature of expression she once said (in 1996 exhibition catalogue), “Not serene, patient, deliberated upon. Not 'feminine', delicate, gentle. Fevered, impetuous, form struggling through colour, through obliterating strokes.” These characteristics could be felt in the present series of works also. Expressionistically she extracts beauty from life infusing in it a sense of serene melancholy. On this occasion of exhibition Seagull has published a book titled Reba Hore: My Story This and That containing a piece of her autobiographical writing of considerable length along with the images. The writing reveals not only her personal development as an artist but also cast some light on various aspects of social and art movement during 1940-s to 1960-s.

Exhibition of Paintings by Gaganendranath Tagore
Portrait Gallery. Victoria Memorial Hall
30 January to 15 March, 2012

Victoria Memorial in collaboration with Rabindra Bharati Society, Kolkata presents this exhibition of 108 paintings of Gaganendranath. It is well known that Gaganendranath, despite being an important activist of neo-Indian school, was one of the pioneers who carved a new way of modernity beyond the conventional norms of that school. He was the first artist who experimented with Western modernist idioms and assimilated it with Indigenous sensibility. From this point of view the present exhibition is an important venture. The paintings showcased here were executed between 1909 and 1930 and have been displayed under the following six sections: (1) Early sketches, (2) Jeevansmriti- paintings and grappling with Japanese technique, (3) Chaitanya Chitramala (4) Pilgrims, Mahabharata scenes, Himalayan Landscapes and Nocturns, (5) Satirical drawings and caricatures and (6) Confrontation with cubism and Post-cubist paintings.

Journey of an Artist in the Light of Tagore: Paintings by Eleena Banik

Bengal Art Gallery, ICCR                            
1 February to 15 February, 2012

Eleena is very much indebted to Rabindranath Tagore. The philosophy of life and creativity of Tagore has always been a motive force towards her own creation. Art to her is an infinite adventure in the sojourns of life. On the occasion of 150th birth anniversary of Rabindranath she presents this exhibition as homage to Tagore showcasing 73 of her paintings, recent and past, to highlight how the forms and philosophy of Tagore cast direct and indirect influence on her paintings.

Ancient Indian Terracottas
Ashutosh Birth Centenary Hall, Indian Museum
2 February to 12 February, 2012

Presented by Indian Museum the exhibition showcased from its own collection the terracottas of ancient India from protohistoric period to 18th century. Terracotta or art and artifact made out of baked clay or fired earth is a unique expression of human civilization. It contains in itself some kind of lyrical rhythm and sobriety. The exhibition traces the evolution or development of the art of terracotta through out ancient, classical and medieval period and reveals that the aesthetic wisdom of human being of early or protohistoric period was not less enlightened than the later periods of history though the baroque exuberance of late classical or medieval period marks a different enlightened attitude to beauty and enjoyment of life.

Shanu Lahiri: Recent works
Himadri Appartments, Ballygunge
3 February to 12 February, 2012

Shanu Lahiri is one of the senior most artists of our country. Born 1928, she came to her own creativity during the decade of 1950-s and appeared with her own form and expression during 1960-s. She was deeply inspired by French modernism and developed her form through assimilation of impressionist and post-impressionist attitude of simplification of form. Her painting reveals a kind of linear lyricism. Through use of colour mosaic the works posit a positive and optimistic world out look. Wonder, charm and beauty are replete in every unit of her expression.

…and Undated: Nightskin --- Installations and Video by Chittrovanu Mazumdar

Harrington Mansion, Suite 4 & 5
9 February to 25 February, 2012

Chittrovanu started his artistic career as a social conscious and rebellious painter and now has established himself as a very important proponent of alternative art. Through installation and video he dissects and goes deeper into reality. Exploring broad spectrum of media and technology in the present exhibition he has created several large multimedia installations, two series of mediated photographs as well as related videos and projections.In  works like Ice cream Factory Chill Tubes and a Love Song, Temple Series, Ancient Earth and the tar and wax works he has explored the claustrophobic darkness of contemporary reality.

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