Contours of Modernity: An Exhibition of Contemporary Indian Art - Curated by Debashish Banerji and Nalini Rao
A Picture Gallery (Click on image to see larger views with title and description)
Bandyopadhyay, Ramananda (1936 - ): Ramananda Bandyopadhyay studied art at Kala Bhavan, Shantiniketan, under Nandalal Bose of the Bengal School. Bandyopadhyay's life and work are imbued with a mature mystic sensibility, Bandyopadhyay lives and works in the city of Kolkata.
Concerned with the preservation of communitarian values against the
rootless individualism fostered by modernity, in Badyopadhyay’s words,
“I represent the village within the city.”
Banerji, Amrita (1965 - ): Amrita Banerji is a self-taught artist who lives in Los Angeles, CA. and Auroville, India.
Banerji uses her art to express ideas and experiences, following
practices based on the teachings of her spiritual teacher, Sri
Aurobindo. Interpreting internal processes through a rich personal
symbolism, Banerji often deconstructs received understandings of
religion and reconstitutes them from within. Though it will not be fair
to label her as a Neo-Tantric artist, her work sometimes incorporates
Bhattacharjee, Bikash (1940 - ): Bikash Bhattacharjee graduated from Indian College
of Art and Draftsmanship in 1963. He joined the same college as
professor in 1968. From 1973, Bhattacharjee began teaching at the
Government College of Arts and Crafts in Calcutta and taught there till 1982. Bhattacharjee is one of Bengal’s
most celebrated contemporary artists, painting hyper-real and surreal
portraits and scenes in a variety of media. Bourgeois corruption and
hypocrisy are among his most consistent themes.
Broota, Rameshwar (1941 - ): Rameshwar Broota has a diploma in painting from the College of Art, Delhi.
Broota has become well known for his images of monumental ape-like
figures, the dehumanized and speechless subjects and objects of a
technological modernity. Broota painstakingly uses a blade to scrape
color from the surface of his canvases and reveal his haunting
nightmare world of looming sub-human forms and bleak landscapes.
Chakravarty, Anjan (c.1956 - ): Anjan Chakravarty studied at the Benares Hindu University,
where he presently teaches in the Art department. Chakravarty is a
scholar and an artist, his area of research being Indian miniature
paintings, on which subject he has authored a book. Chakravarty’s
paintings are usually visionary landscapes or mythical conundrums
executed in a small format with watercolors and utilizing a number of
miniature techniques, such as burnished surfaces.
De, Biren (1926 - ): Biren De obtained his diploma in Fine Art from the Government College of Arts and Crafts, Calcutta in 1949. Subsequently he was a lecturer at the College of Art, New Delhi, from 1952-63. In 1959 De was awarded a Fullbright Grant and he spent the following year living and working in New York. He has exhibited widely in India and abroad. Biren De is considered a pioneer of Neo-Tantra art in India and was part of the Neo-Tantra exhibition that traveled in Europe and North America in 1984-6.
DeSouza, Alan (1958 - ): Alan DeSouza was born in Kenya of Indian parents and raised in England. He had his eduation in art and critical studies in the U.K. and the U.S. Allan
is best known as a photographer of social landscapes, where constructed
scenarios, often using the artist’s own body refuse, appear through the
duplicity of the camera, as inviting landscapes, reminiscent of
pristine frontiers waiting to be colonized by the virile masculine
imagination. Thus reinscribing himself as “another kind of Indian”, Allan questions the white mythologies of Euro-America.
Dutta, Biswarup (1951 - ): Biswarup Dutta studied
art under Ramananda Bandyopadhyay. He lives and works in Bankura, a
seat of traditional culture in Bengal. Influenced by the Bengal School
and the folk-inflected images of Jamini Roy, Dutta also incorporates
some Neo-Tantric metaphors in his work. His paintings reflect an
indigenism of folk or tribal approaches to the commerce between the
human and the divine worlds.
Goud, Laxma (1940 - ): After a diploma in drawing
and painting from the Government College of Art and Architecture,
Hydrabad, in 1963 Laxma Goud studied mural painting and printmaking at M.S. University, Baroda
(1963-65). Like F.N. Souza, Goud was interested from the beginning in
erotic themes, seeing a sexual undercurrent in all nature. Taking after
the movement of indigenism, Goud has sought his subjects among the
rustic folk of rural Andhra Pradesh. From the 1970s, Goud turned in his
work from an aggressive erotic surrealism to subtler depictions of the
rural feminine self, portraying them through the cultivation of an
aesthesis based on a subdued but frank animality.
(1915- ): Husain is India's most celebrated contemporary artist. He
started his painting career in Mumbai in 1937, painting ﬁlm hoardings
for popular cinema. This along with early practice of Islamic
calligraphy constituted his initial training in art. Husain became a
founding-member of the Progressive Artist's Group (PAG), which was
launched in Mumbai in 1947, with the aim of developing a new
revolutionary language in art affiliated with European Modernism. Aligning
himself with the Nehruvian agenda of secular nation-building, his
paintings have sought to create and present modern national myths from
a diversity of popular iconic sources, both religious and social.
Kumar, Ram (1924- ): Ram Kumar studied painting in Delhi
under Sailoz Mukherjea and later went to Paris to work in the
studio of Andre Lhote. His early works from this period were
figurative with a leftist leaning but after his return to India, a trip to
Varanasi with M.F. Husian was a turning point towards abstraction. Ram Kumar’s abstract landscapes of the ancient city of Varanasi done
with thick paint in an expressionistic style heralded his entry as a
major contemporary Indian artist and it is as an abstractionist of
landscape that he is best known since then.
Maity, Paresh (1965 - ): While among the younger
painters represented here, Paresh Maity has already attained
recognition as a major contemporary artist of India. Maity had his art education from the Govt. College of Art and Craft, Calcutta
and from the Delhi College of Art. Maity’s earlier work as a
watercolorist painting moody monochromatic landscapes earned him
instant recognition due to their lyrical intensity. More recently Maity
has turned towards surreal arrangements portraying romantic affect
through bright and contrasting color saturations.
Menon, Anjolie Ela (1940 - ): Anjolie Ela Menon studied art in Paris at the Ecole des Beaux Arts from 1961-2. She has had numerous solo and group shows in India
and abroad and has collected by major museums in many countries. During
her travels in Europe she came to develop a sense of the closeness
between medieval Byzantine and Roamesque art and the art of India.
It is this parallel that inspires much of her haunting imagery. Her
paintings are done mostly oil on masonite board and are known for their
Pyne, Ganesh (1937
- ): Ganesh Pyne received his diploma in drawing and painting from the
Calcutta Govt. College of Art in 1959. Pyne acknowledges the influence
of Bengal School
pioneers such as Abanindranath Tagore along with diverse western
artists such as Hals, Rembrandt, Paul Klee and Walt Disney. His
fantastical creations float in an inner space with the haunting power
of disquieting dreams. Pyne’s paintings are typically small, and need
leisurely contemplation as with Indian miniatures. He is considered one
of India’s foremost contemporary painters.
Qadri, Sohan (1932 - ): Sohan Qadri was initiated
at the age of 14 into Yoga and Tantra by Guru Bhikham Giri. Later, he
received a Master’s degree in Art from the Govt. College of Art, Simla
and taught Art at the postgraduate level in Punjab.
Qadri turned early to a Tantric symbolism in his art to express his
inner experiences and continues to paint in this mode, having had a
well-acclaimed exhibition earlier this year at the Sundaram Gallery in
New York. His paintings are among the most convincing experiential
records of Tantra. Qadri lives and works in Copenhagen. Denmark.
Raza, S.H. (1922- ): Raza studied painting at the Nagpur School of Art and later at the Sir J.J.
School of Art, Bombay. Along with Husain and others, he was a founding member of the
Progressive Artists’ Group in Bombay in 1947. Paris-based since the 1950s, Raza turned
from an abstract expressionism to the idiom of Neo-Tantra from the 60s and has used its
geometric diagrams to distill experiences of a cosmic and spiritual nature. Raza is a much
celebrated artist, having had numerous international and national exhibitions and been
awarded the Prix de la Critique in Paris in 1956 and the Padma Shri by the President of
India in 1981.
Revri, Anil (1956 - ): Anil Revri, now a diasporic
artist from Washington D.C., studied at the Sir J.J. School of Art in
Bombay and later at the Corcoran College of Art and Design in
Washington D.C. Revri has refined his paintings to a point where he now
puts together sophisticated schema composed of dotted, curved and
oblique lines which intersect and guide the vision into the experience
of an invisible dimension. In alignment with contemporary Washington
artists’ speculations with stripes, dots, circles, veils or pours,
Revri is equally conversant with the transcendentalist goals of
Santosh, G.R. (1929-1977): Gulam Rasool Santosh studied art at the M.S. University in Baroda.
From the 1960s, Santosh became actively involved in the Neo-Tantra
movement, and utilized the geometric magical symbolism of Tantra to
articulate processes of internal transformation. Santosh’s approach to
Neo-Tantra absorbs influences from American psychedelic and Op art and
presents the play between external and internal structures of
experience. While subtly couched in the language of sexual union,
according to Santosh this union is not physical but a micro-cosmic
representation of the reproductive energy of the Universe.
Tewari, Vasundhara (1955 - ): Tewari finished her senior Fellowship at College Of Arts , Delhi University
in 1998. During this period, she not only participated in several
exhibitions but also evolved as an artist. Since that time, Tewari’s
art has moved through several phases. Using mainly acrylic on paper,
her visions of the modern Indian working woman’s inner life and power
have led to more recent commentaries which combine a social dimension
with an exploration of the interface between inner and outer worlds.
Vaikuntham, T. (1941 - ): T. Vaikuntham studied at the College of Fine Arts, Hyderabad and later, under K.G. Subramanian at the M.S. University, Baroda.
Vaikuntham is known for his paintings in tempera and water-colour on
paper, which are deeply rooted in the rural Andhra soil of South India.
Vaikunthan uses juxtapositions of brilliant primary colors and fluid
lines to express his monumental traditional figures. Vaikunthan’s men
and women remain rooted to their soil and, in spite of their eccentric
or exotic appearance, negotiate modernity from a regional vantage.