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  ‘Mask of Beauty 1’
oil on canvas
Swapan Kumar Das

Swapan Kumar Das' command – as one of India’s leading artists in Graphics – over the smallest details of line and design, and his finely modulated instinct for color, are reflected in the visual richness and textural subtlety of both his art prints and his later compositions in oils.

His paintings are textured with fine, minutely spaced lines that travel with sustained liquid grace across the length and breadth of his canvases, weaving subtle illusions of three-dimensionality into his perfectly formed images. His portraits of women, flawless in their beauty of face and dress are exquisite in themselves. But they become starkly ironic when we realize, that face, dress, backdrop and everything that forms a part of their landscape, are façades, deceiving masks that veil an unknown reality. People are marionettes the artist seems to imply, creatures made of straw. Sometimes the straw spills out, but mostly the figures remain masks, simulating an unattainable perfection. Over it all, the artist's colors surge in delicate shadings contrasts and textures.

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SKD_P01

‘Woman of Straw’
oil on canvas
34” x 34”
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SKDN5291

‘War - Innocence Violated’
oil on canvas
36” x 32”
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SKD_P07

‘Mask of Beauty 2’
oil on canvas
23” x 28.5”
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In deliberate contrast to these images of remote perfection, is the artist's overt visual statement on ‘War – Innocence Violated'. Here, flared lightning slices the central figure of a stripped, somber-eyed mother into halves of darkness and bleak light. In a bottom corner of the painting, against a dramatic, subtly striated background of black and dull green lies a baby with eyes closed – the only form in the picture that emanates, deceptively, the warm color of life.

In Das’ linocut prints, man, bird and animal, social, historical and mythological images are figured with rich detail and a luminous meshing of colors. They are further vivified with frequent dashes of international flavor. Japan, where the artist studied on scholarship, recurrently invades his imagination – in the sinuous curl of waves, delicate depictions of fin and feather, silhouettes of mountains, or even his whimsical portrayal of two Indian ladies in partial geisha garb.

Meticulous designs, minutely patterned figurations of lines, and nuanced applications of shimmering color give his prints the textural richness of highly glazed enamel. In the rich multiplicity of his color gradations, Das occupies a premier position among international artists in linocut.

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SKD_L1
‘Survivor’
linocut print (3/3)
18” x 21.5”
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SKD_L2

‘Vulture’
linocut print (3/3)
18” x 18”
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SKD_L7

‘Indian Ladies in Japanese Costume’
linocut print (1/3)
18” x 18”
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About the Artist

Born : 1955, Calcutta

Education: Diploma in Fine Arts from Govt. College of Arts & Crafts, Kolkata, 1979; Post Diploma in Graphic Arts, Viswa Bharati University , Shantiniketan 1982. Monbusha Scholarship, Govt. of Japan at Nagkute Art University , 1986-1988.

International Exhibitions

  • Kanagawa International Print Exhibition Japan
  • 2005 11 th Trienniale India , N. Delhi
  • 2004, 1991, 1981 Bharat Bhavan International Biennial of Prints
  • 2003, 2000 Trienniale Mondiale Chamalieres France
  • 1989, 1987 3 rd International Biennial of Prints, Taipei
  • 1989 Norwegian International Print Triennial
  • 1987 INTERGRAFIK, Berlin , East Germany
  • 1986 2 nd Biennial of Havana , Cuba
  • 1984 AIFACS, N. Delhi , International Contemporary Art Exhibition, ‘Graphic ‘84'

National Exhibitions

  • 1989, 1977-1984 Birla Academy of Art , All India .
  • 1971-1988 Academy of Fine Arts, All India
  • 1987, '86, '85, '83, '82, '81, '78 Lalit Kala Academy, National
  • 1986 Lalit Kala Academy , Delhi , Graphics
  • 1985 Lalit Kala Academy , Delhi , Youth
  • 1986, 1976-'83 Maha Kosal Kala Prasad, M.P
  • 1984, 1980 U.P State Academy, U.P
  • 1984 Indian Acad. of Fine Art Amritsar
  • 1980-'84 Chandigarh Govt. Museum
  • 1982, '78 Kala Mela, N. Delhi

Selected Awards

The artist has received 22 awards, national and international. Among them are

  • 1980 National Scholarship
  • 1986 – 1988 Monbusha Scholarship, Japan Govt.
  • 1989 Frederikstadt International Graphics Award Norway

 

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