Welcoming viewers into their very own world of dreams and realities, Amrita Ghosh and Subrata Mete, both alumni of Kala Bhavan, Visva Bharati University, Santiniketan, recently showcased their works in an exhibition titled Of Dreams and Realities at Delhi’s Lalit Kala Akademi. Both artists are from West Bengal. They were showcasing their works together for the first time. One could sense that although there was an immense amount of dissimilarity between their art practice, there was a seamless connect between the two.
Subrata’s canvases are occupied with human figures often found in groups, either sitting or standing together, emphasising the sense of togetherness, which in today’s world can be considered rare, while Amrita presents an inner world where the living and non-living, human beings and non-humans, coexist and interact with each other. Subrata has chosen work in the figurative vein while Amrita deals often with biomorphic forms. Even the medium they have chosen for their work is unique to each. Subrata works mostly in oil and acrylic, and Amrita likes to explore whatever material she can find readily, ranging from oil on canvas to pastel, charcoal on paper to transparent photo colour on bandage.
What is common is that both have drawn inspiration from the surrounding environment, both natural and social, and have tried to come up with their own individual idioms. Says Amrita, “It has been our attempt to be receptive to a range of ideas, techniques and styles while holding tightly the ethos of the place we belong to.”
Writes senior art critic Aruna Bhowmick in the catalogue essay, “Subrata has verily kept the windows of his own receptivity flung wide open, allowing himself a pan Indian reach, taking from the cross currents of several styles assimilated in his sub-conscious to form his own visual vocabulary. The artist’s central area of interest lies with ordinary people and the ethos of closeness they share with one another in rural India. Subrata wields his colours well too, rendering a blue woman, and not to be outdone, a pistachio green man, dividing backgrounds in contrasting colours for added interest. His bigger groups of people invite eye movement, as against the single subjects or couples, who tend to rivet attention.
Amrita is as remarkable for her varied compositional skills as for the vast variety of mediums and materials she deploys to express herself. With double majors in Geography and Art History, hers is a virtual personal playground that allows her to revel in her art with almost childlike delight. True to the ethos of Bengal, the fish is significant of happiness, union, potency, prosperity and wellbeing, and a recurring element in her works. The materials she uses are unusual and perhaps should be retained as her personal formulae. Amrita’s works have a narrative running through them, allusions in some, in others personal equations with immediate surroundings, executed with considerable ease for her age.”
(Poonam Goel is a freelance journalist who contributes articles on visual arts for unboxedwriters.com)