THE VIBRANT and semi-surrealist canvases of Chanchal Mukherjee are being showcased at Art World. A graduate of Government College of Fine Arts, Calcutta, Mukherjee's themes are drawn from his immediate environment. The craftsmanship of his art is his strength, enabling the artist to render the human and bird forms with easy facility.
The technique of Mukherjee, which allows him to depict his subject matter with powerful clarity, is simple and at the same time complex. Simple because his brush strokes modulate the colours, which allows forms to emerge with great ease. Complex since he extrapolates with textures, employing the titanium white of acrylic paints as base coat brushed on with palette knife creating an interesting play of surfaces on which Mukherjee meticulously makes his colours dance.
The subject matter at first glance may appear allegorical or inscribed with symbolism, since the artist's rendering is in semi-surrealist mode with sharp realism underpinning his works. The sensitivity of the artist to his environment comes through interestingly in many works such as "Bliss of Solitude", "Fisherman" and "Coming Storm". His compositions have a structured architechtonic quality; he works out the details in a gamut of tones and values. That a strong sense of the past envelops the artist comes through in paintings such as "Alone", "Witness" and "Fountain". The glory of the past is now derelict and their crumbling state echoes romantic notions of emotions and sentiments to preserve and carry forward the memory.
The modulation of his forms through vibrant and kaleidoscopic colours creates sharp contours the hard edges of which are sculpturesque. One would assume that the artist also dabbles in sculpture, rather the echoes of solid three-dimensionality are inspired by Moore's sculptures; an exhibition of the master's works, which he had seen in mid 1980s in Chennai. This meld of forms, both painterly and linear, shapes the artist's vocabulary and is finely expressed in his rendering of the birds. The play of calculated strokes juxtaposed with brilliant contrasts of values and tones, enhanced with the right touches of whites creates a fluttering sense of movement, marking the mobility of avian creatures with ease.
Mukherjee's well structured forms bear echoes of such great artists as Henri Rousseau, Henry Moore, Picasso and nearer home, Jamini Roy and M. F. Husain.
The show is on till March 1 at Art World, Cenotaph Road, Ganeshpuram.
ASHRAFI S. BHAGAT
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