The art of Bimanesh Chandra Biswas
a naturist's progress
Bengal Gallery of Fine Arts in Dhanmondi, Dhaka, recently organized a solo art exhibition, titled 'Rural Nature', featuring the works of Bimanesh Chandra Biswas. Born and raised in Narail, he was an erstwhile apprentice of the maestro S M Sultan. Most of Biswas' artworks on display were watercolours that capture the simplicity of rural Bengal in all its tranquil picturesqueness.
Painters often start with the portrayal of nature capturing what the seasons bring into view. The prime reason is that nature's beauty enthralls them and rouses in them emotions through which to register various nuances of the mind. A landscape painter given to naturalistic tendency, Biswas's engagement with nature bears down on his works of the last 30 years. The greenery untouched by modernization and of the rustic simplicity of life in the riverine land that is Bangladesh, are what intrigue the artist to take up the brush and paint. A keen observer of the changes that comes with the six seasons, Biswas' works are a testimony to how nature affects a man who still prefers to live in the village.
The skillful handling of watercolour, with its various degrees of transparency and translucency explored to one's advantage, Biswas's technique particularly uses the academic realist mode with the particular motive to radiate an emotive understating of his natural surroundings, thereby inscribing each work with a subtle articulacy.
As he considers his art as a way for him 'to converse with nature' through its depiction, nature becomes an endless source of visual splendour and mystery. What inspires him are the finest details, like the rain-drenched soil, the exuberance of foliage, various cloud formations etc. 'Each of these elements offers a new story to me and is an invitation to embark on a new journey,' says the artist.
Biswas represents nature using colours such as azure, black, emerald green, shades of burnt-umber and mauve – applied to saturated tones and tints to create his signature brio. Many a time, the preference for monotones adds to the sensuousness attained in the end results. Both elements of inertia and energy are hinted at by Biswas to ensure that the works reside somewhere between representation and creation. Therefore, the subtleness of the hues adds to the serenity he wants to emphasize in his landscapes – which are sites for him to explore subject matters such as unassuming villagers amidst nature, farmers toiling in the fields, clusters of thatched houses, scenery that expresses an abundance of green, and monsoon days with cloud-heavy sky.
Biswas' drawings appear a tad immature at times, as the representation of human figures in his art often seems to verge on the nondescript. If landscape is his scenographic model through which he brings forth some essential features of nature such as fluidity and transience, it bears down on the process of successful ensnaring of beauty.