Art News & Views

Striving Towards Objectivity


by Haimanti  Dutta Ray

Kolkata: To be objective, is to totally deny one's own self. Self-annihilation is but the first cornerstone in the process of creativity or creation of the artistic consciousness. This objectivity sets an artist (he may be from diverse walks of life) apart from the rest of us. The Russian-born American novelist, Ayn Rand, who was also a philosopher, playwright and screenwriter, is known for developing and deciphering a philosophical system called Objectivism. In this, she had advocated reason as the only means of acquiring knowledge and had rejected all forms of faith and religion. Born on February 2, 1905, Ayn Rand had published her first novel, We The Living in 1936. It was with the publication of The Fountainhead (1943) and Atlas Shrugged (1957) that she had achieved spectacular success. The Fountainhead tells the story of an innovator - architect Howard Roark - and his battle against tradition-worshipping establishment. Its theme : “individualism versus collectivism, not in politics, but in man's soul; the psychological motivations and the basic premises that produce the character of the individualist or a collectivist.” Ayn Rand had presented here for the first time her projection of the ideal man. Roark's independence, self-esteem, and integrity have inspired millions of readers for more than half a century.

The show at Aakriti Art Gallery from July 7- 23, entitled Objective Correlatives which was the group exhibition by members of the now-familiar artists' conglomeration “Open Window” had sought to seek out this basic philosophical tenet. Formed in 1997, this artists' group has gone from strength to strength holding exhibitions both in the city as well as outside. There have been recruitment of new members, as growth is but necessary in our path to progress.

Tea stalls or tea shops have always had striking roles to play in creating a coming together of creative minds. “Open Window” as a group is no exception. A makeshift tea shop on Southern Avenue was where the germ of the group was planted. There have been no looking back since. In the exhibition under scrutiny, the members of “Open Window” have all contributed with one, and in some cases, even two of their works, which have been done mostly in this year. The most vociferous and femme fatale of the group, Dipali Bhattacharya, has given one of her works - Untitled (mixed media on paper). It shows the central face of a girl amidst a clutter of other different things. The work again reiterates the artist's association and pre-occupation with women. Her earlier works had shown experiments with photographic images which were sepia-tinted, but essentially feminine.

Diptish Ghosh Dastidar - Bye Bye Granma (acrylic on canvas) - shows the upturned figure of a boy pushing a luggage trolley which carries a suitcase. The scene can be a familiar one at the airport or at a railway station but for the element of nostalgia given to the work because of its title. Amitava Dhar's - Memory scape Suburbia (acrylic on canvas) is mostly an abstract work with the exception of a crow perched on top. His work could have had any other title as well, since the relation between the painting and its nomenclature was somewhat blurred. Sunil De - Untitled (acrylic on canvas) - was an abstract piece but the choice of a vibrant hue was commendable. Prabhat Basu's two works - Namaste India & New Town (both pigments on canvas) were intricate works. They seemed to be an amalgamation of thoughts more akin to a jigsaw puzzle wherein one loses one's way. Tapas Konar's Indian Summer & Watermelon Eaters (acrylic on canvas) showed a style of work which the artist has made distinctly his own. Samir Aich - Dusk (acrylic on canvas) showed the reiteration of the artist's preoccupation with the colour black. There were almost geometric figures and the contrast between black and white was accentuated. Sudeshna Haldar’s - Talkshow (acrylic & oil pasted on rice paper pasted on canvas) was a caricature oriented piece.

Pradip Rakshit's two abstract works - Untitled 1 & 2 were simplistic with fertile green hues, the colour of the season, in more ways than one. K. Muralidharan - Silver Bird (mixed media on paper) depicted the owl amidst decorations and floral offerings. Hiran Mitra's two works Untitled 1 & 2 (acrylic ink, synthetic spray paper collage on paper)- were reminiscent of Chinese calligraphic works, perhaps intended to be so. Prasenjit Sengupta's - The Wall We Left (acrylic on canvas)- where the meterboards, letterboxes are set against the background of a cement wall. There was the instance of the missing letterbox where the impression still remained. What strikes one in his style of work is his hugely sublime and undertoned way of handling colours and a sepia-tinted presentation of his subject or central focal theme.

The two sculptors in the show - Janak Jhankar Narzary and Gopinath Roy deserve special mention. The former is a veteran and well-renowned in his craft. His Ecological Living (iron bowl, bronze figures & eggs in marble) presented the artist's rendition of the cycle existing in the ecosystem, with the exception of the human species. Understandably, because they are the ones visiting and populating the exhibition. Unknown Island (stone) perhaps suggested the Jurassic Age where the first egg of the prehistoric dinosaur was planted and found by excavation. Gopinath Roy's Sound of Silence (ceramic) can be called experimental work.


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