HYDERABAD: The Bengal I show is a group exhibition of 17 artists from Bengal, bringing together an intriguing mix of old and new. While the names Jamini Roy, Abanindranath Tagore, Gaganendranath Tagore and Nikhil Biswas seem familiar, the nouveau generation of artists Mintu Naiya, Reena Ray and Bhaswati Lahiri add a new dimension to the exhibition. The display has a total of 42 paintings that, as the curator of the show Sharad Jain explains, traces the evolution of art from the old masters to the new. With paintings dating back to as far as 1915, the exhibition shows some of old techniques such as glazing, underpainting and so on, which were used lesser and lesser by the newer generation. Says Sharad, “Most of the old masters’ work has been gathered from collectors for the exhibition. Some of them are pretty rare, like the postcards.
In those days, artists used to paint on the back of a card before sending them.
We managed to get our hands on two cards by Abanindranath Tagore.” The collection showed different brush strokes, from flat-wide strokes to needle-thin, scrawled organised chaos and clean neat spaces filled with colour.
Another distinctive aspect of some of the paintings was the oriental influence in the style and format. While it wasn’t very surprising to see that some of the old masters’ paintings had the quintessential sparingly colourful oriental look, some of the newer artists like Mintu Naiya showed similar artistic disposition.
The exhibition as a whole isn’t very defining yet the transition of paintings from the old to new style is evident.
With some cleverly crafted paintings and some very delicately drawn lines, the exhibits which are priced from Rs 10,000 to about Rs 3,50,000 give collectors quite a choice to choose from. The exhibition is on display at the State Gallery of Fine Art till February 5.