Showcasing Jogen Chowdhury's paintings and graphic drawings

Works by senior artist Jogen Chowdhury are being showcased at CIMA Gallery, Kolkata. Hehas been widely acknowledged as the master of the unbroken line.

The senior artist has been stirred by the linear Kalighat pat tradition, but his lines are emotive and used to express and suggest the character of a person. This is done by, distorting the form without breaking the line and in the world of young, contemporary art, distortion has been Jogen Chowdhury's most significant impact.

Perhaps, because of this, a common observation of his work is that his 'people' are caricatures. The person feels familiar to the viewer but it is far more individualized - the face is imaginary but the psyche or characteristics are real. The power and beauty of his technique and line is this play between the known and unknown. As Jogen Chowdhury's works on view at CIMA Gallery, Kolkata, bring out, the figure is always in the foreground; it is primary, it conveys everything. He uses color to give volume to his figures and the fluidity of his lines bring a sensual aspect to his forms.

There is also a lot of element of nature in his art about which he has once mentioned: 'Man's conflicting relationship with nature has affected the graceful, symmetrical beauty of leaves and flowers and drawn in elements of violence, threat or aggression. It is this world of arbitrary creativity and vitality of nature that have molded my perception of nature.' The artist is also fascinated by history. Having experienced the traumatic effects of the Partition, dislocation and a sense of isolation, his figures reflect an intractable solitude. Even when he paints a couple, the two are detached and distant from each other.

Usually, his individual figures are usually more sensuous ' the woman caressing herself, if a man, then curled in pain with raw wounds on his body. His imagery is organic and emerge as protuberances or growths from within. Explaining about a strong figurative element in his work, he has stated in an interview: 'In the earlier years my works were based totally on reality. So every single detail was captured on canvas. Everything was painted after being observed in their natural surroundings. Now the need to capture images totally in their natural surroundings no longer exist. My purpose is to hide some parts, because if you show the entire figure the interest in details is totally lost.'

Jogen Chowdhury's works are also social and political comments; he either protests or sublimates the injuries to or of the human condition. Jogen Chowdhury's ability to juxtapose contrary emotions, the real and imaginary and the known and unknown, make his art not only a form of self expression but a reflection, of a collective and subjective consciousness.

One of the works on view depicts a human figure, a victim of violence, lying supine. The artist expresses his anger at the distorted world order that has given rise to violence, exploitation and victimization. His figures represent the misery of ordinary folks caught in a spate of violence. His figures, in spite of having been brutalized by violence, show no trace of pain. They seem to have become numb.

Works being showcased as part of the show titled "Man Resting"; "Face (with wounds)"; Man Scratching his Head"; "Face of a Dead Man'; "Wounded"; "Couple"; "Woman in Relaxation" and a series of 'Head' are either dry pastels on paper, or pastels, pen & ink on paper.

Some of the works "Landscape with Red Mountains"; "Still Life with Flower Pots & Birds" and "Flower Vase" are done in ink with brush & pastels on paper. His serigraphs "The Unborn Child' ' I & II, "Couple ' I & II" are also being showcased. Jogen Chowdhury has also put up some large drawings on dry canvas.

Jogen Chowdhury's paintings and graphic drawings are on view at CIMA Gallery, Kolkata till March 11, 2006.

View Jogen Chowdhury's works in Saffronart catalogue

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