Art is but a form of expression. But art is also a form of life. That is pretty much the context of Sudip Roy’s latest art show Time Past is Present: Recent & Retrospective.
Hosting his first solo show to the city, the Bengali artist put on display 25 canvases that he felt best displayed his tenure thus far.
“This isn’t a showcase of my 20 and more years as an artist. I believe it is more a meter of how far I’ve come in my artistic journey and maybe an indication of where I’ll go from here. A writer writes a story, a singer performs a song. As an artist, my paintings are meant to tell one what I have to say in colours.”
The collection is a mix of craft on different mediums; there’s acrylic, water colours, charcoal, Washes reminiscent of the old Bengal school of art, and even a distorted mirror.
“I initially thought of just putting up a collection of my abstract works. But a friend of mine had suggested that I mix it up with my works of other mediums, simply because there hasn’t been such a show in a while. For me, one of the main reasons that I have done so, and even worked extensively with other mediums, is because I never wanted to be stuck in a rut, painting the same things in the same colours.”
Explaining further, he says, “From the time I was a young child, to now, I have noticed how some senior artists have through the years been painting the same canvas. There is no evolution of art. I never want to be like that. I believe that I’m still learning, and life is but long lesson yet to be learned.”
Time Past is Present is a befitting title to the show as the canvases tell more of the past in which Roy finds his present identity as a painter.
His water colour paintings would indicate even to the uninitiated and uninformed that Roy is typical old school Begali. Depicting the Bengali landscape as his inspiration, which includes the quintessential Durga puja celebrations, the burning of the asura’s effigy, landscapes looked at from windows that are trademark British architecture, a front lawn view of the Victoria Memorial and Mother Teresa.
For the more keen-eyed, the use of washes, a technique from the time of Rabindranath Tagore, where layers of water colours are applied, will be a warm reminder of the artistic flourish of the old times.
However, all are not warm memories. Explaining his series that show a sofa in different colours, he says, “The sofa is to bring a sense of realism. Art is not meant as a means of escape. The change in the sofa’s colours is to depict the change in emotion. Yellow a happier time, red a sense of anguish and so on.”
If you have been following Roy’s work, then the display of Charulatha will be an affectionate reminder of the artist himself. The heroine of drama, she became Roy’s muse after her debut in Satyajit Ray’s 1964 film. Her view of the world from her window of lonesomeness is the stark inspiration of realism that Roy holds so dear.
The most interesting contribution to the collection though is his mirror collection. Juxtaposing embossed mirrors between two painted canvases, the mirror’s distorted reflection is the truth he feels.
The exhibition of recent and retrospective will move on to Delhi, having already from Mumbai to Kolkata to here. At Delhi the artist’s exhibition will be even more expansive, including his designs for jewellery, sarees and even a car.
Time Past is Present is being hosted at the Kalakriti Art Gallery in Banjara Hills and will leave for Delhi tomorrow.