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Artist Profile2
A spotlight on the triumvirate of talented Indian artists.
Jagannath Mohapatra, Rahul Chowdhury and Suryakant Lokhande are considered among the most talented and brightest young painters from India. Institute of Contemporary Indian Art (ICIA) showcased their works at Art Expo India 2009, which drew spontaneous response from art lovers. The idea was to provide a glimpse into a diverse range of works by the three most noteworthy names on the horizon of contemporary Indian art done. We sum up their themes, styles, and thought processes to grasp the diversity of their art practice.

First and foremost, Suryakant Lokhande’s visual tempests emerged from the boundless energy of gestures and movements, the unceasing vitality of India’s everyday domestic decor, whereby his efforts altered the image from its fantastic lifeblood and its libidinal power, its exciting colors and scenes of collective drama to a deep disturbing image of uncertainty that is part of all our lives.

A search for self coupled with acute concerns regarding the ultimate truth drive his artistic processes. His creations are based on digitally enhanced photographs, which he opts to paint over with automobile paint. “For me, a photograph is a tool to look into myself”, he explains. His paintings are a crucible - a site of transformation, a place where objects, lines, colors, and forms go through a creative catharsis and are then transmuted in order to experience a tempest of personal and social impulses.

This alchemy produced labyrinthal images filled with dreamlike flashes that absorb the flow of figures and representations - some of them cruel and tragic, based on past and present phases of his life and images that have touched and shocked him. His series ‘The War is Over’ slams the uncertain situations post-war, and refer to the predicament of a sensitive artist trying to push boundaries.

On the other hand, the visuals that Rahul Chowdhury encounters in his dream-world sometimes get superimposed on the real world or vice-versa! The resultant conflict remains at the core of his intriguing artistic process. He explains, “In the dream world, there are no inhibitions whereas one is driven by logic and rules in the real world where the self is controlled and one’s desires are suppressed. The resultant disenchantment and chaos grip the two worlds. Their overlapping causes friction.”

The artist delves into human psyche, invariably caught in a state of flux, swinging between reality and illusion, trapped between outer and inner world, and alternating between materialistic and spiritual leanings. He tries to portray the push and pull between real and abstract areas of mind and heart. It’s an endless conflict between the real and the dreamy realm that cuts deep into one’s psyche.

Even though the artist remains curious about socio-political events around, he has become more receptive and sensitive to emotional and spiritual content of life. He states: “I look to explore the inner recesses of human mind rather than understanding the materialistic world. It’s a perennial search that has just begun…”

A student of history, Jagannath Mohapatra opts to depict themes contemporary in context. His visual realm is invariably linked to the realities of life. The artist is known for his intense visual narrations, based on his experiences and perceptions of sensitive issues that disturb him as an artist and as an individual. Providing an insight into his works, senior artist K. G. Subramanyan has mentioned: “He belongs to the generation of young painters who ground their visuals on the unreality of the realistic image that they encounter in billboards and hoardings, in trade journals and television commercials, or at least, a transformed, jazzed up, over-stated reality, now cloyingly romantic, now tantalizingly intriguing.

“Some of them doctor these images with arresting juxtapositions or incongruous insets and envelope them with a covering of cynicism or a critical comment. Jagannath Mohapatra is one of them. However, his paintings neither have a cynical tone nor have any open critical content. His paintings are mostly soaked in the dissembling juiciness of this second-line reality.” The artist tells his tales through his paintings, and leaves it to the viewers to mull over them for drawing their own conclusions.