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Subrata Gangopadhyay - Chronicler of Life and Celebration

A solo show of paintings by Subrata Gangopadhyay

Art is often Magical, but then it is a rare phenomena when Magic and Art find common ground. A modern realist painter with fantasy or dream-like subjects swathed in a swirl of colours, bold and vigorous strokes, sensuous figures full of energy and exuberance, Subrata Gangopadhyay’s work is no less than magic. This exhibition is an attempt to understand this wizardry of showmanship and illusion that lies in Gangopadhyay’s mystical capacity to turn non-art inanimate objects into a lively art. It is tantamount to a magician revealing the mechanisms behind his illusions…
Subrata Gangopadhyay came into limelight in 1985 with his solo exhibition of drawings and paintings at the Birla Academy of Art and Culture, Calcutta. He was immediately recognized for being distinct from the cacophonous echo prevalent in the art scene of Calcutta of the 1980s. His style was clearly distinguishable from the conventional images of the period. He didn’t play by the rules then, neither does he now. The poetic composition of his works are reliant on the visual instead of the textual. Moving away from the trope of reductionism, Gangopadhyay’s detailed organic additivism helped him gain recognition. An academically trained gifted painter who paints in a mixed style within the broad expressionist format, while firmly standing on the solid technical foundation derived from his training academic realism. His brushwork ranges from smooth realistic to patchy impastos of vibrant expressionist bristles.  

The magic of life and its celebration. One can almost hear the rhythmic beating of drums against the roaring echo of folk music and the dancers’ grooving away in gay abandon. Subrata Gangopadhyay’s canvasses are tapestries of celebrations of a great human survival rendered in uncommon vibrancy and movement of each stroke of colour, the passionate imagery of ageless and ethereal men or women. He captures the rich, subtle and diverse dimension of human reality with a dramatic intensity that is yet to be found elsewhere. That of a superior painter’s creative latitude is so incessantly prolific which never appears cliched or repetitive, rather a new mystic exploration. The people in his canvasses, particularly the women are charming, adorable, sensuous, vulnerable, compassionate - a with great controlled skill Gangopadhyay expresses their moods their eyes, smiles and body language. Each canvas evokes a nostalgic mood, each element expressing an emotion - such is the charm of these characters that inhabit Gangopadhyay’s art.

The colourful imagery varying from romantic solitude to festive moods are an ode to life. Since, for the first time in human history we are sensing an unprecedented uncertainty in our social lives, perhaps it is the need of the hour to experience this magical illusion called life, and celebrate it once again. This is why the real thrust of the show goes beyond literal interpretations of Subrata Gangopadhyay’s art, to explore the nature of illusion in his art, and what effects these illusions have on viewers. 

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