Well, well. As many as 28 sculptures to 50 two-dimensional works. An unusual tally for a Calcutta show because what you see at a show here is usually an apology for the plastic arts. That made it easier — or at least less difficult — to overlook the overcrowding of exhibits at Sensorium’s first art offering at Weavers’ Studio recently.
Hence, a look at the sculptures first. And that calls for a mention of Ratan Krishna Saha because his 48” X 50” X 21” Urban Net wasn’t what you often see. Its broad netting in brass enclosed space in the shape of a hunky bull with an impressive skyline of towering buildings for humps. The self-taught Bansari Khan preferred lean, toned figures that pointed to tribal — particularly African — aesthetic grammar, even as the artist threw them into an electric vortex of class equations in a smallish bronze, Might is Right. Another bronze tableau, elaborately composed, came from Debabrata De, who recreated a pavement vignette with wall newspapers, milling readers, rag pickers.
Chandan Roy’s Father and Son, in bronze again, reduced the two riding a magnified bull to the vulnerable. While his Attachment merged two figures into a tall and slender column, a similar theme was also chosen by Somnath Chakraborty. Neither was unusual in conception, but they deserve mention for their confident execution. The latter’s Oh My Son was eye-catching in its detailing. Subrata Biswas’s simplified, folkish figures were lively. And Subrata Paul wed wood to bronze avoiding a misalliance. Finally, the bronzes of Bipin Goswami and Niranjan Pradhan asserted both their ease and imagination.
There were surprises among the two-dimensional works, too: a rather French-tradition still life by Paritosh Sen (picture), a black-and-white landscape in pen by Jogen Chowdhury and Rabin Mondal’s atypical acrylics. Shanu Lahiri’s flow of scrambling lines and scratchy paint, Biswapati Maity’s gentle volume and Jayashree Chakravarty’s layered paint bore their signature.
Of the younger artists, Kazi Nasir’s brush was a pliant slave in his hands while Anjan Modak’s meticulous lines and dots in ink lightheartedly explored textures. But Samik De’s pen built up images through dots but few lines. If Pradiptaa Chakravarty was amusing, Arindam Chakraborty’s ink and wash cityscape conjured the claustrophobia of unplanned growth. And Soma Das, mixing Miniature with Pop syntax, buoyed a male perspective with debunking humour in Krishna Karle Lila Amra Korle… The ellipsis says all that’s unsayable by leaving it all unsaid.
Indialogue Foundation recently displayed, at the Turkish Cultural Centre on Shakespeare Sarani, the abstract acrylics of Calcutta artist Babita Das for receiving the first prize at the Izmir International Biennial of Arts. Her volatile colours, particularly the iridescent reds, can certainly evoke a dramatic harmony for viewers.