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By Soumitra Das
  • Published 26.05.07

Although Aakriti art gallery’s exhibition (May 5 to 15) of landscapes and contemporary Bengal sculpture in its two adjacent halls was more or less representative of current trends prevailing here, one wishes curator Prasanta Daw were more discriminating in presenting this mixed bag.

The lyrical grace of Sarbari Roy Chowdhury’s female figure and the monumentality of his tiny (8”x5”) reclining woman stood out in spite of their relatively small size. Madhab Bhattacharjee’s piece, made of transparent perspex with its triangles, rectangles and cylindrical shapes, appealed to one’s sense of harmony. Sushen Ghosh’s square void framed by a larger square of shining bronze with a pitted surface had the structured grace of a geometrical drawing.

In stark contrast, Sandip Chakraborty’s bulbous fruit had the physicality of a tumescent organ. Sunil Kumar Das’s Mangru was a perfect example of portraiture, while Bimal Kundu’s Barbie doll figure, in a leather dress perched on a tricycle, was a wry comment on times that are a-changing.

Both Shyamal Roy’s crowing cockerel and Pankaj Panwar’s howling pie (picture) in terracotta had the vigour of rustic toys. Besides them, Niranjan Pradhan’s woman with an elongated torso encircled by birds and Ram Kumar Manna’s Krishna looked stylized and ornamental, quite pointlessly. Anit Ghosh’s Frozen Moment, made of aluminium sheet, had the poise of a bird taking wing, quite unlike Tarak Garai’s overwrought Durga and Gopal Prasad Mandal’s clumsy Flight of Peace. Perhaps it would have been a better idea to show more pieces by fewer artists instead of cluttering up the floor with single pieces by so many sculptors.

Viewing would have been a more pleasant experience had there been a limited number of artists in the painting show, too. Some of the tiny watercolours by Ramananda Bandopadhyay and Gopal Ghosh shone like gems because of the ease with which they have, respectively, conjured up the great lake where the dark clouds and water become indistinguishable. Sad that there was a single painting by Manu Parekh. Anyway, it was difficult not to notice this painting charged with eroticism and its explosions of orange and red against a backdrop of black and blue.

Kartick Chandra Pyne’s delicate watercolours on rice paper were remarkable for their tranquillity. The tiny strips of colour and spare lines barely spoke above a whisper.

If viewers looked carefully they would have discovered the paintings of the well-known illustrator Purna Chandra Chakraborty and Indra Dugar, without whom no exhibition would have been complete at one time. There were also two works by Deviprosad Roychoudhury, one of them depicting an angler in eloquent black and white. So one is not a little shocked when confronted by the banality of Malay Chandan Saha. This was entirely avoidable.