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A mélange of diverse styles and themes


CIMA Gallery’s annual exhibition has emerged to become a major, annual show of talented, fresh, not–so–often heard artists from across India. This event, gives an expansive perspective on contemporary art as emerging from different regions and large cities of India. The art on display at the show reveals unique, distinctive and strong expressions.

This year Debraj Goswami, Dilip Kumar Samanta, Ganesh Pyne, Kingshuk Sarkar, Lalu Prosad Shaw, Prakash Ghadge, Rashmi Bagchi Sarkar, Rm Palaniappan, Santosh More and Uday Mondal are among the artists on view at the Kolkata based gallery.

Among the participating artists, Debraj Goswami uses fragments from the much talked about arts of the past as metaphors to conjure up his statements. He embellishes them with a set of archetypal images, like fingers, nails and bulbs. A pointed finger figures in his paintings as a recurrent motif as does the nail. His enigmatic manner dissolves the borderline between awakening and dreaming. His is a somnambulist’s perilous journey through the corridors of the unconscious.

Ganesh Pyne draws his inspiration from Bengal’s rich storehouse of folklore and mythology, stories that his grandmother told him in his childhood. The painter blends romanticism, fantasy and free form and an inventive play of light and shade to create a world of “poetic surrealism”. In the Indian miniature tradition, his paintings should be savoured slowly and at leisure.

In Lalu Prosad Shaw’s small-sized tempera paintings one notices stylistic elements derived from the nineteenth-century Company School paintings and the Kalighat pat painting tradition. His single figures and still life are done in a style that is very indigenous and, yet, very sophisticated.

Dilip Kumar Samanta does not use contour lines to enclose images. Instead, he agglomerates open-ended, wood-cut like, white rhythmic lines, to indicate wind tossed flora, on almost monochromatic, solid blocks of colour which then become suggestive of vast natural spaces - without becoming descriptive of such space. In Rashmi Bagchi Sarkar’s art the creative energy of Mother Nature forms the central construct. She presents a feminine perspective which is sensitive and powerful. Her medium fits perfectly with her expression—layered, soft and tender.

Rm Palaniappan works in mixed media prints, embellishing his works with such things as rubber stamps, wax seals, collage materials and embossing. Bright and young, the artist is interested in aeronautics and systems of notation which signify the specifics of time, place and sequence. The imagery usually appears to have textural and landscape elements. Kingshuk Sarkar aspires to unify, within the constraints of a fragmented and fractured society, the indigenous with the global context. His spontaneous visual rendering bears direct reflection of this recurring concern.

The single, bold image against a flat, solid background are elements of Modernism but Sanjay Sable’s visual language is more akin to Indian, tribal and miniature traditions. Prakash Ghadge’s stark landscapes with their sense of seclusion give an insight to this artist. He chooses to render nature through black because it ‘possesses a power with its innumerable grays” and because olour would “disguise the directness of my paintings’, as he says.

In Sanjeev Sonpimpare’s City, what it is sustained by is also the source of its decay. Sonpimpare’s work has been labeled to be autobiographical because the artist includes his self portrait in most works. Santosh More’s paintings are illusionary and deceptive. Although his technique is the use of flat paints, the textured surface of the canvas lends his paintings a tactile quality. His approach is meditative and artistic.

Uday Mondal deliberately puts misleading titles to his paintings. His colours are heavy, flat and even brash and are not tonal. He creates a visual tension of complementary colours by placing, for instance, reds against green and so on in their utmost opacity.

This comprehensive show presents a true mélange of diverse styles and themes.

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