Art of Bengal Today underlies the plural and diverse identity of Bengal art, fostering dialogue between modern and the contemporary. The show aims to visit the flow of energy stirring the creative languages of the selected artists. It features recent works by Jogen Chowdhury, who is prominently known as the master of the unbroken line. His paintings are provocative and unapologetically frank. The show features Sanat Kar whose paintings are surrealistic and have a curious dream-like appearance, mostly nightmarish; Ganesh Haloi, whose visual practice is shaped by his experience of partition and the subsequent trauma of displacement. Since then, his art has exhibited an innate lyricism coupled with a sense of nostalgia for a lost world and other prominent artists.
Sibaprasad Karchaudhuri’s artworks primarily deal with basic geometrical forms; diamonds, triangles and the positive and negative space of their surroundings. There is an undeniable connection and interplay between negative and positive space in his works. Sunil De’s artworks are like a sudden revelation where matter breaks into colours forming a visual music of sequences of warmth and coldness. Goutam Chowdhury’s paintings and drawings are innately direct and painfully honest. His figures are highly aggravated and yearn to communicate in an original way. Tapas Konar’s work is experimental, using many mediums, and his interest in the human predicament is often reflected in them.
Tarun dey’s art embodies his vision and his values, and radiates a wonderful sense of balance. The recurring geometric shapes and patterns balance Tarun Dey’s canvases with its emotive intervention. Artists Samir Aich and Pradip Rakshit drew from reality to come up with their semi abstract and abstract forms respectively. Samindra Majumdar’s paintings are, in a sense, (mis)quotes from the past. His paintings look back to his own experiences, using abstraction and multiple layers of paint to redefine space and memory. Debasish Bhattacharyya describes his engagement with diversity of forms and structures as akin to the approach of an observant architect with a fear of loss.
The curator of the Show Tina Chandroji says that the group exhibition was inspired by the desire to look afresh at these works of art and artists, who contributed greatly towards the uniqueness of Bengal art of the present. According to her, the exhibition is a part of an effort to understand the artworks and their contexts more fully and thus to better appreciate them. “These artworks, so diverse in their choice of themes, so varied in their scale of scene and size of canvas, possess the power to enchant every admirer of Indian Art and initiate discussions on the aesthetic sensibilities and cultural influence of regional art of Bengal”, Chandroji adds.