The paintings by Tanuj Bhramar which are on display in a solo show titled ‘Magical Transitions’ at Delhi’s Art Spice Gallery may seem like simple swirls of colour from afar but dig deeper and you will find that these are connected to the mystical and mysterious forms of nature. An animal lover, Bhramar has spent long years in the lap of nature in Jharkhand and Uttarakhand where his close brush with nature led to an imagery that is rooted in the fauna of these regions. He delves deep into his consciousness to paint images that are muted in colour and seem to melt like a magic carpet transcending the clouds.
Says curator of the show Alka Raghuvanshi, “It is amazing that he is able to tap into the mystical and the supernatural to create images that are so deeply embedded in the unconscious mind with such graceful ease to paint images that are forthright and definitive.”
Layering, grading, texturing and highlights are the bedrock of this multi-dimensional artist and filmmaker’s works. He experiments with various tools to explore the barriers of the still and sets in motion a journey of creative transitions.
His reds, blues, yellows and greens rub shoulders with stark blacks and shiny greens, but instead of grating on the senses have the ability to soothe with their apparent minimalism.
Swirling mist is a recurring setting in his work, almost like a silent muse. He has gone back to the enigmatic forms of nature to draw inspiration and perhaps find solace in it. In fact, his extensive travelling across India and continents captures in his mindscape the heritage and sensibility rooted in the colours of India, Africa, America — albeit at a primordial level.
The woman protagonist is also an often used icon in his paintings as she appears, almost unbidden, to inhabit his paintings complete with an amazing strength of character to add an aura of mystery to his paintings. The woman’s role is an eternally shifting one in his works. She mesmerises, coaxes, beckons, allures with her look and the absence of drapes render her with a strong personality rather than making her look uncovered and reveal the thoughts that churn in her mind and heart.
Bhramar uses to great effect a woman’s eyes which are a fundamental element of her gaze. Their rendition is such that they have the power to confront one to delve deeper into the depths of her being and all that she stands for.
His women have an inborn strength that renders them attractive and also recount the saga of their inward and outward journey. There is a quiet acceptance of her way of life as women protagonists are rarely agitated, but questioningly bestow peace in his works.
However, the subject matter of his paintings concentrates on the traditions and symbols of tribal cultures, portrayed through its distinct heritage, its natural environment of fauna.
Birds and animals populate his work in a style that is marked by simplifying the objects he sees, hence they appear as symbols or signs in his work.
Acutely conscious of giving back to the community, he donates 20 per cent of his earnings from the exhibitions to fund the education of tribal children through Vikas Bharti, a Jharkhand-based NGO. Undoubtedly, an artist with great art and an even bigger heart.
(Poonam Goel is a freelance journalist who contributes articles on visual arts for unboxedwriters.com)