Dear Friends, Greetings! I am happy to bring to you this delightful show titled Journey, a solo exhibition and retrospective show of paintings by Sudip Roy curated by Sushma Bahl and spread across both the floors in our gallery at Lado Sarai. Sudip Roy has been a friend and close associate of the gallery since its inception and it has been a pleasure working with him on this show. I am thankful to him for his imaginative and ingenious contribution to the Indian art scene and for giving us the opportunity to host this retrospective show that culminates in Delhi, after a rendezvous around India. The wide range of work in the show is a collector’s delight, which I am happy to share with you through this exhibition and the accompanying catalogue. Gallery Art Positive as you know, is a unit of Bajaj Capital Art House with its in-house expertise in wealth management for nearly 50 years. With two large galleries spread over an area of 5000 sq. feet as well as an art book cafeteria and artifacts store, our designed space offers a perfect ambience for discussion on art over a cup of coffee! We host seminal exhibitions including work by younger and established artists and have successfully expanded our services to include other art initiatives by providing specialized and personalized art advisory services besides organizing talks, online exhibitions, master classes, art education initiatives as well as advice on buying, selection, display, insurance, handling, care and conservation of art. Our forthcoming plans include an exhibition of fresh work by a group of trend setting artists including Puneet Kaushik, Anjali Vasan, Santana Gohain, Sajal Sircar, Parvathi Nayar and Stine Bidstrup, working in a range of media and styles titled Knotted Narratives. On show at Art Positive from 18 January to 15 February 2013, the exhibition will be a part of the India Art Fair collateral events while at the fair itself, between 31 January to 3 February, Art Positive Stall will host group exhibition titled The Pious and the Profane featuring some exciting new work by Vineet Kacker, Shobha Broota, Binoy Varghese, Mukesh Sharma, Shipra Bhattacharya, Dimpy Menon and Kanchan Chander. Please visit our website www.galleryartpositive.com to see the works featured in our collection and to get an up-date on our exhibitions and other events. I hope you will enjoy this holistic collection. Wishing you a happy Christmas and a great New Year. Cheers Anu Bajaj
Sudip Roy’s Art Track By Sushma Bahl Sudip Roy’s art has journeyed through numerous trails and terrains. Experimenting with different media, modes, moods and manifestations, his large body of work encompasses water colors and wash, charcoal and pastels, drawings and prints, mixed media work and oil paintings; as his art track has meandered though figuration, narration, landscapes, architectural features, and abstraction; besides an engagement with design, culinary art and installations. And this travelling show of nearly a hundred works in varied sizes including paintings and drawings on canvas and paper along with an installation, that has journeyed through Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Kolkata and exhibited in different galleries, is now here in Delhi for its finale. Spread across two venues at Visual Art Gallery Habitat Centre and at Art Positive Gallery Lado Sarai, the special retrospective, offers a panoramic overview of the journey that the artist and his art has treaded through the years. Like many of his contemporaries, Sudip has had to struggle and worked briefly in the design world before embarking on his career as a full time freelance artist. He has had to work hard to earn his reputation and get to where he is today. Working diligently and consistently in myriad painterly styles and artistic media, his sojourn has seen several turns and twists, though he has continued to refrain from getting tempted into using digital media or acrylic in his work, despite their easy accessibility. The artist embarks on another territory in his most recent abstract series that also marks his confidence and command in the painterly media. Taking his imagery beyond a defined form or just canvas and colors “I have enjoyed applying steel, and copper in my abstract works; embossing in some and inlaying the matter in the others, combining technology with my artistic experiments”, says Sudip. For someone who is very fond of classical music his abstract renderings are like sur or melody played on instruments sans any words. His years of learning under the critical and watchful eyes of his teacher and mentor Bikash Bhattacharya have evidently influenced his oeuvre as is evident in the subtle palette and soft tones of the work in this collection. “He taught me about the dignity of each color”, acknowledges the artist. Sudip works in series though not restricting his creativity to any one subject at any given time and often going back and forth in search of fresh perspectives and ideas. Starting with work on a series of monkeys, his repertoire extends to include other themes such as sadhus, women, Charulata, landscapes, nature, heritage, architecture, and most recently his return to abstraction, something he had played with earlier too in 1985. Sudip Roy’s oeuvre is expansive and inclusive. It straddles across time zones and mindscapes going back into flashbacks to recall the gone by as in his architectural imagery, traverses through the present as in his paintings featuring Charulata refigured as a woman of today and peeps into the future open to numerous possibilities through his abstract compositions. Color and perspective play a significant part in his art-scape and a deft handling of a range of subjects and techniques endow his genre its distinct palette, look and intensity. Working in layers of paint, his imagery comes part foregrounded and upfront while in parts laid within its background or vice versa. Marked for its depth and vitality, there are fine lines, range of forms and figures in a realistic mode juxtaposed against symbols and somewhat surreal shadows in his colorful creative expressions. Within the realm of the Bengal School, his impressionistic renderings and portraiture in watercolors and wash play with atmospherics of light and shade. His human body be it of a man or woman, evokes feelings of love, sensuousness, and nostalgia combined with serenity. Some of it seems to follow classical prescription for beauty of human anatomy as in shilpa shastra such as his paintings of Charulata. The enigmatic character from Bengali literature and heroine from Satyajit Ray’s film is the artist’s muse. She figures time and again in myriad forms, moods, and colors just standing or waiting, or looking into the mirror, or peeping through the window or and in other variable cinematic views and versions. Remarkable is the artist’s rendering of her drapes, dress, hair, features, figure and her postures that enhance her beauty and sensuousness. His lonesome Charulata often standing seductively with her slender back facing the viewer appears to speak through her animated silence and Sudip aptly describes her as a beauty caged in her mansion perhaps wanting to break free and go out in the wider open world- with an oblique reference to contemporary women. And there is an impressive suite of paintings of old dilapidated mansions that remind one of some glorious days and history. Ornate arches, elaborate doorways, distant minarets, silent and sans their inhabitants are drawn and painted in telling details. In other works the artist paints a bed laid out or the interiors of a room filled with antiques that remind one of he times gone by. Then there are compositions featuring landscapes with boats, lush green fields or simple rural hamlets. And there are portraits of Mother Teresa and Mahatma Gandhi or faces of sandhus and ordinary men and women all equally sensitively rendered. His Krishna adorning the peacock feather or goddess Kali or the composition with temple bells and trishul appear in a devotional mode. The abstract suite takes the artist onto another plane. And the versatile artist, who has helped design some Durga puja pandal installations, is also credited with having painted a couple of cars, one of which is on display outside Gallery Art Positive. Beautifully drawn and carefully colored in oil paint, his compositions speak of the artist’s mastery over his medium whatever the subject. A contrast of sorts appears in his abstract paintings that appear intuitive and spontaneous; somewhat rhythmic akin to musical notations within a primitive streak. In broad sweeps of alternatively bright and subtle colours, and adding onto the surface steel and bronze, embossed in some cases and inlayed in the others, his abstract imagery appears minimal and magical. “My abstract imagery is like landscape of my inner journey and I have tried to break free of identifiable forms and figures in this series” clarifies the artist. An impressive suite of drawings is another significant component of Sudip Roy’s repertoire. Drawings executed in linear forms with pencil and shading feature people and places. There are lucid scenes of rural Bengal and city folks drawn in pen and pencil and charcoal while in others color is applied in measured splashes for added effect. Sudip’s study of Leonardo da Vinci’s work and drawings during his various European sojourns has also inspired his work and fuelled his interest in experimentation in different styles as featured in the collection. This retrospective exhibition offers an interesting overview of the master composer’s large and lucid artistic repertoire encompassing myriad styles and subjects. Author of 5000 Years of Indian Art, and Former Head, Arts and Culture, India for the British Council, Sushma K Bahl is an independent arts adviser and curator of cultural projects.