Glimpses of contemporary mainstream praxis
Group art exhibition at Galleri Kaya
In celebration of its 10th anniversary, Galleri Kaya held a gala of an exhibition boasting a panoply of selected works by both eminent and emerging artists of the country. Entitled Glimpses, the show freighted the works of an assembly of artists working on diverse themes and in different mediums. The exhibition is dedicated to the late painters Aminul Islam and Nitun Kundu. The featured artists were Aminul Islam, Murtaja Baseer, Nitun Kundu, Samarjit Roy Chowdhury, Rafiqun Nabi, Monirul Islam, Hamiduzzaman Khan, Monsur-ul-Karim, Chandra Shekhor Dey, Tarun Ghosh, Ranjit Das, Golam Faruque Bebul, Samiran Chowdhury, Anisuzzaman, Nagarbashi Barman, Shohag Parvez and others.
Murtaja Baseer's portraiture of women appears before the viewers fashioned in highly mannered contours, which goes to illustrate an individual's quest for enshrining a fleeting aesthetic epiphany conceived in time on concrete painted surfaces. Through their intermittent appearance on the picture plane, these figures serve as a leitmotif that speaks of the artist's subservience to the renewal of classicist mode of expression, reflected particularly in the intricate rendition of the braided hair and the assiduous detailing of the facial features. The colours in his work, however, are reminiscent of the resplendently bright variety used in the traditional pat paintings seemingly an offspring of a vision that finds its roots in the unconscious recesses of the mind.
Samarjit Roy Chowdhury, another painter who had made his start in the 60s, and is known for his urban-folk tendencies, relentlessly dabbles in the recurring motifs of birds, kites, flowers, boats and fishes –which he transfigures into geometric patterns, bringing to these oft-used motifs a new expressionistic valence.
Monirul Islam, a painter-printmaker belonging to the generation of the 70s, who kept foraying into newer avenues, has always had a penchant for informality which convincingly banks on the lyricism of a harmonious coexistence of line, shape and colour. His entry – a serigraph – is a value-free take on the aesthetic elements which largely consist of the geometrical shapes which he organizes in relation to a subjective response to the spontaneity of emotions , thus striking a balance between the seen and the unseen.
Monsur ul Karim, who came into prominence in the late 80s, stands at a remove from his usual nature-human nexus which often verges on the expressionistic. In the current canvas, his paintings take on a rather relaxed mood on account of the generous use of space punctuated occasionally by a smattering of distinct forms.
Ranjit Das, who also belongs to the 80s, has his gaze fixed on the course of social life and time as a vehicle for setting in motion the socio-cultural and political drift of the day. Nowadays, his works are more inclined to exploring the techniques appropriate for generating a resonant surface. About his subject matter and its philosophical aspect, the artist says, 'For a long time, I have been working on a theme. But I have always made an attempt to present the subject in diverse forms, colours, shapes and compositions. Melancholy and social inequity are often highlighted in my paintings.'
Anisuzzaman is a very well-known printmaker of our country with a solid oeuvre of meticulously accomplished woodcut prints to his credit. Anis's work is a study of urban architecture, construction of human habitation which continues to redefine the perception of space in regard to the mega-city of Dhaka. His prints share close affinities for geometrical and structural elements whereby one can easily sense his passion for the language of modern architecture. Replete with intricate vertical, horizontal and diagonal lines, his works bespeak his pleasure in exploring and manipulating the formal variables in order to generate meaning.
If Golam Faruque Bebul's work draws on the spirit of automatism employing lines and shapes with the flair of an abstractionist, artist such as Sheikh Md Rokunuzzaman's reference to reality, bicycles in this case, takes the form of an idiom suspended between realism and abstraction.
The survey of the works by the mainstream contemporary exponents of the country pays ample witness to the free-play of a multiplicity of styles and approaches currently employed in the praxis of contemporary art. However, it also goes to underscore that the artists, especially painters, are still constricted in their adherence to the kind of abstraction and realism that are deeply imbued with European modernism, notwithstanding the fact that most of these painters have very little to articulate on the contemporary political clime besides withholding any commentary on the current atrophied reality.
The exhibition lasted from June 21 to July 20, 2013.