From reflection to refraction
- Padma Jayaraj

April 9, 2017

Two painting exhibitions in Mumbai’s Jahangir Art Gallery (15th to 21st March 2017) provided two sides of a coin.

Purnendu Mandal, the Kolkata based artist, depicted reflections of life with photographic realism. Inventive work, in acrylic and oil on canvas showcase multifaceted forms of an Indian city. A mix of realism and abstract, his works as the title suggest, are REFLECTIONS of life, reflected in rain drenched landscape. Picturesque and glorious in various lights they evoke the moods of the day and night, winter and summer. The visuals paint monsoon, fog, and dampness, the shades of waters in a city. Life as lived in the streets of Kolkata, symbolize the life anywhere in a cityscape. Yet the special features of Kolkata give them the local color, realism, and a sense of history.

Purnendu paints using an evolved roller and knife technique in the impressionist form. West Bengal is rich in streams, rivers and ponds not to mention the seashore is hidden from view, as the artist focuses on the urbanscape. The lyrical charm of its rural landscape is offset by the poetry of modernity.

Suresh Kondhalkar, the Pune based artist, looks at Nature from an oblique angle to perceive its mystique as a refracted reality. His paintings, acrylic on canvas,   capture the rhythms of nature, chromatic notations that sing unheard melodies which lulls your soul to peace, a peace that passeth understanding.   

‘Awareness’ deals with a deeper reality, an artist’s perception that takes the viewer beyond what is perceived: the flora of Mother Earth encompassing its spiritual aura. Soft mellifluous colors depict Nature in her various moods, in varying seasons and times.

His sculptures, however, depict human life, as its core theme. ‘Couple’ as the principle of yin and yang is narrative in many abstract pieces: ‘Couple Blending’ and ‘Couple Entwined.’ ‘The family’ with its two facets is a beautiful piece. The young couple with their baby at the mother’s breast and father close by is a close-knit unit. On the other side is the aged couple, united by life braving its challenges in their twilight years, its cast reminding one of the Siva-Parvati metaphor. The sculpture ‘Compassion’ evokes the Buddha. His latest forays take you to the philosophy of ecology, speaks of the need to nurture Nature.
Padma Jayaraj is a freelance writer on the arts and a regular contributor to