A joint exhibition of the paintings of Sekhar Roy and the sculptures of Niranjan Pradhan was held at Aakriti Art Gallery. Roy, a graduate of the Government College of Art & Culture, was born in 1957. Pradhan was born in 1940, and used to teach at the same college.
Roy’s is a world of greys, blues, ochres and other shades that are neither striking nor jarring in any way. In keeping with these soothing tones, Roy’s canvases — some are pretty large — have a soporific effect on viewers. Beautiful faces stare at them through a series of eagle wing motifs. Multiple bicycle wheels produce a sense of rhythm.
A baton wielded by a hand with long, tapering fingers conducts a silent orchestra (picture, left). In the background, hot-air balloons remain suspended in mid-air. Staircases lead to a dreamscape bathed in chrome yellow. Roy’s world is far removed from the hustle and bustle of the real world. It retreats into a space without strong lights or jarring action. Even when some fearsome creatures do appear, they are insubstantial like shadows. One cannot, however, miss the young man looking up his mobile phone. His features are dark and vague, as if the actual has no place here.
Pradhan, too, goes in for rhythms and pretty curves, as if he is afraid to look straight at life shorn of prettiness. His mother-and-child series is quite repetitive. The child in the womb and the mother and child are two recurring figures. But these pieces, like his faces, seem to have been distorted for no particular purpose. One can say the same for his head carved out of stone, resting on an equine head. In Blazing, the triangular flame is a cubist cliché. Pradhan’s Scared Antelope is almost caricature-like in his failed attempt at abstraction. Little wonder they look clumsy for they do not seem to have been executed with conviction. His more representational pieces are far better realized. The large fibreglass sculpture of the soccer player hitting the ground, legs thrown up and ball caught mid-air (picture, right), conveys some impression of action. The bronze piece entitled Wind, a much smaller figure, successfully conveys a sense of vigour and kinetic energy. As in some modern dance compositions, a piece of textile — albeit cast in bronze — flying in a gust of wind is the metaphor for a strong blast of air. This is the only work in which Pradhan allows his imagination to take wing.