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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 16 April 2024

Dimmed vision: Society of Con­tem­porary Artists holds exhibition at Birla Academy

The recent works by the senior-most member, Ganesh Haloi (picture), are some of his finest and overshadow Saumen Khamrui’s and Atanu Bhattacharya’s much larger abstract ruminations

Siddharth Sivakumar Published 24.02.24, 11:05 AM
An artwork by Ganesh Haloi [SCA]

An artwork by Ganesh Haloi [SCA] Sourced by the Telegraph

The Society of Con­tem­porary Artists held its 64th Annual Exhibition (December 13-24, 2023) at the Birla Academy of Art & Culture, featuring artworks from its members.

The invite to their first exhibition, just 13 years after Independence, read: “The Society endeavours to provide as ample an opportunity as possible to the young artist who feels lost and neglected otherwise in this unfair, competitive world; it enables also the genuine art lovers to see and encourage modern painting and sculpture”. Over the years, the landscape has changed, opportunities have expanded, and the group has endured.

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The recent works by the senior-most member, Ganesh Haloi (picture), are some of his finest and overshadow Saumen Khamrui’s and Atanu Bhattacharya’s much larger abstract ruminations. Lalu Prasad Shaw’s paintings do justice to his brand but lack the spark. Executed 26 years ago, Manu Parekh’s Flower Vase with Difference (1997) begs the contemporariness of the Society — the lack of execution dates on labels adds to this intrigue.

Niranjan Pradhan and Akhil Chandra Das’s sculptures keep to traditional themes and expressions. In contrast, Bimal Kundu’s sculptures, especially his installation on Gandhi, seem more in keeping with the times, much like Bholanath Rudra’s surrealist commentary on nature’s plunder for progress.

David Malaker’s two paintings from the Goodnight Kolkata series captivate in resplendent red, carrying rich political and cultural references. Monoj Mitra’s nearly monochromatic images persist as intriguing formal experiments, struggling to achieve a narrative quality. Rajen Mondal and Srikanta Paul highlight the significance of woodcuts with the latter’s grand works, acquainting viewers with the intricacies of the process.

Aditya Basak’s lambs against soaring sky lanterns and Pradip Maitra’s stacked books, candles and crucifixion imagery convey an ominous undertone. Atin Basak’s dystopian prints deal with mouth-shaped gaping wounds and eerie organic apertures reminiscent of alien chelae, echoing the experiential remnants of the pandemic, whose more soothing images are painted by Pankaj Panwar.

A clear curatorial vision, complementing the artists’ inherent skills, could perhaps help the Society’s commitment to connecting with “genuine art lovers”.

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