Imagine that you are sitting on tea-coloured earth and watching the blue waters of a river flow by. The light falls on its ebbs and flows and creates rippling lines and optical illusions. It flows for years and years, leaving its marks on the ancient stones in its riverbed. Samindranath Majumdar’s paintings in his solo show History, Stones and Moving Water don’t just depict the above scene, but also evoke the sense of calm that accompany it.
He acts almost as a topologist, using wire frame modelling to give the canvas a curvature and the paintings texture. The depiction of water and light is distinctly impressionistic. His use of blue paint and undulating lines creates bodies of water that are luminescent and shimmering. He seems to have captured moments in time, and scenes that are ever-changing. However, his use of bold brush strokes used to convey turbulence, has an expressionist flair.
His works, which are gorgeous to look at, are also rich with meaning and laden with history. The presence of objects like a coil of wire, the lone headstone and the rocks jutting above the surface of the water reminds us of the past. Their interaction with the rivers and oceans, which symbolise life, seems to be a dialogue between the past and the present.
The novelist Rajat Chaudhuri sums up the show when he says in the press note, “Life juxtaposed with the past, with what is evidently dead – the withered flower, the dry leaf. And yet the cocoon, oozing life at the shores of the magic lake, do tell a story of hope and resilience in the face of the destruction and deaths all around.”
5 Questions with the artist, Samindranath Majumdar
1. Artistic Motivations “A blank piece of paper, colours to fill it with, and brushes with which to manipulate and transform them are motivation in themselves.”
2. Inspirations “That would be life itself; my “lived life”, the experiences which have moulded me and how I interact with those experiences. And yes, I am extremely fond of nature and its many spectacles.”
3. On the wall at home “In my living area, I have a horizontal 7 ft x 10 inches extraordinary, near abstract work by a Korean artist, which I had collected from a show titled ‘Gen-Next’. I just love this work! It is her take on the Howrah Bridge full of people. In my dining area I have an expressionistic work by one of my most significant students Koushik Saha, it is his first sold painting. In my studio I have a 1985 Rabin Mandal and also a very small Jogen Chowdhury. I have also collected the works of Mukul Dey, Bimal Dasgupta, Suhas Roy, Prakash Karmakar, B.R Paneser, Aditya Basak and Sambaran Das. I display these works in turns.”
4. Concerns that find a place in your art “My works talk about life. Or shall I suggest that my works deal with death? There is a work in this exhibition titled ‘It always happens to other people’ where I dealt with the First World War.”
5. If not an artist, you would be… “I would have been a poet-cum-clerk, a bureaucrat or a detective who would write poetry secretively and paint every Sunday thereby invariably ‘achieving’ a late mark every Monday!”
History, Stones and Moving Water in association with Priyasri Art Gallery is on display at Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai (161, Kalaghoda) from August 19, 2015 to August 24, 2015.
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