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  'Landscape' - oil on canvas

Subhra Chatterjee

Though never enrolled in Art College, Subhra has had the advantage of her artist brother's meticulous formal training, and guidance at every step. What emerges finally in her work is a style that - even while it works with formal design elements - glows with spontaneity and an instinctive sympathy for the many 'moods' of color.

Subhra's thematic preoccupation with the harmony of the natural world and man's relationship to it is imaged from many perspectives.

There is for instance, her series of landscapes created with defined masses of bright, unshaded color designed into an evocative mosaic. Untouched nature is abstracted in Subhra's landscapes into a happy orchestration of shapes, patterns and colors. Lakes and rivers surge in massed undulations of blue below the cones of hills and mountains; and spires, curves and flared forms of trees fuse into a packed pattern of complementary green, mustard, indigo, violet, rust and red. Sometimes the abstractions become more elemental, formal compositions conceptualized in dramatic colors. Yet, the dense raised textures of the canvases confer on her images - notwithstanding their flattened planes and stylized forms - a strange kind of vitality.

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SuC02
'Love'
oil on canvas
30x 30

SuC03
'Solitude'
oil on canvas
33.5x 44

SuC04
'Harmony'
oil on canvas
30x 30

 

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In another interesting sequence, human motifs enter the picture as organically integrated design elements. So 'Solitude' is an abstracted human form created with stripes and blobs of pure color, framed against a desert backdrop designed in turquoise and gold; and `Love' is a couple, tenderly silhouetted against a yellow semicircle of moon in a green and black night.

In her latest series 'The Circle of Life', Subhra's concern is more overtly symbolized. Man and nature exist in a relationship of interdependence that can either destroy or regenerate both. She images the spiritual harmony of man's coexistence with nature inside a delicately defined circle that holds aloft the entire cycle of life - from man's death and descent into the earth to his symbolic regeneration in nature.

The spare, translucent purity of this composition contrasts dramatically with the fiery patterning of her alternative presentation of 'paradise lost' through man's willful disregard of his environment. Nature has no part in this 'Circle' which is crammed only with the dissonant shards of man's destructive proclivities. Humanity, spinning helplessly around this destructive vortex, can only regain a pretense of freedom - with truncated life and limb - in a world forever lost, darkened and irredeemably poisoned.

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SuC06
'Circle of Life 1'
oil on canvas
23x 23

SuC07
'Circle of Life II'
oil on canvas
23x 23

SuC08
Composition 1
oil on canvas
30x 23.5

 

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About the Artist

Subhra Chatterjee's father was a free lance artist who pursued his vocation with passion, and supported both his children in their study of the discipline. Her brother Swapan Das, currently a Faculty member of Calcutta's famous Govt. College of Art, is one of India's leading graphic artists, an eminent painter, and a master of art prints who has represented his country at many international exhibitions. Thus though not formally schooled in the subject, Subhra's training commenced at an early age in an environment where learning and cultivating art was as spontaneous as breathing and eating.

She re-commenced her work four years ago, and has just started to show her paintings. She has participated so far in a single display and has been invited to exhibit in 2006 at Calcutta's Oriental Society of Art.

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