Online Magazine
Artist Profile1
A triumvirate of talented artists
Arijoy Bhattacharya, a young and talented artist based in the capital city of India is counted among the most promising practitioners of his generation. He obtained his BFA (painting) from College of Art, New Delhi in 2009.

The artist has worked on a series of exquisite drawings and sound, which are based on ancient iconography and scientific templates. More recently, he chose to embark on a visual sojourn involving a painted works that strive to seamlessly blend the oriental and the occidental through juxtaposition of symbols of unity with drawings wherein the line turns into a thread of information that traverses various fields of information. Taking a cue from a wide range of influences such as post-modern philosophy and Indian metaphysical traditions, Bhattacharya’s works explore reciprocity and mimesis. An essay mentions of Bhairava (male) looks toward Bhairavi (female), as they sit together in a state of yogic repose, on a Lotus. The captivating configuration of the figures follows the Uma-Mahesvara prototype.

It adds, “This image has been developed from a Nepalese source centering in the worship of the Goddess Kubjika. It’s an exploration and reinvention of a rare icon that indicates the hybridization of Indian Shaiva and Tibetan Buddhist imagery. The traditional Jwala Mala Mandala (Pattern of the Necklace of the Cosmic Fire) has been replaced by Sea-horse valley formations of the Mandelbrot Fractal. Fractals are iterated equations that generate patterns in the digital realm. One of them has been dubbed as the thumbprint of God - an existent representation of infinity. This pattern pervades throughout nature. Fractal nature is shown by the edges of land masses and rivers, clouds and many other natural things and phenomena. This pattern is curiously consistent in satisfying the parameters to represent the fire of the Cosmos, at the levels of both form and content.”

Giving an insight into his philosophy and processes, he has noted that creating images through the collage technique lets the juxtaposition of disparate elements, getting unified in a composition, somewhat akin to music. ‘Lotus-Lovers’ and ‘Strange Attractors’ constitute a suite of drawings, which present a case of counterpoint, in terms of lines through its two types, the architectonic and the organic, converging and diverging within the themes presented.” e has featured in a number of significant shows like ‘Narrative’, Gasp, Boston (2010); ‘Holy Now’, Religare Arts, London (both in 2010); ‘Rising Stars’, Nitanjali Art, BMW studio, Delhi; ‘Harvest’, Arushi Arts, Gallery Stainless, Delhi (2009); ‘Round and Round’, Polka Art, IHC, Delhi; ‘Vistaar’, Gallery Limited Editions, Kolkata (both in 2007). Sri yantra, Nataraja and Shivlinga are the motifs that recur in his artworks with a some influence of the Bengal school.

On the other hand, essentially a keen story teller, Viraj Naik looks to weave his visual narration around a realm of curious make-believe creatures and entities that come to shape from his imagination. He builds his own mythologies, to traverse the world of the credible for the phantasmagoria with deft strokes of his ink pen, a graphite pencil or his color-tipped brush. While stepping into his fabulous painterly realm, one is transferred to a surreal world.

The artist at times turns to nature so as to seek inspiration. He states, “It (nature) is an important aspect of my creations; human beings are a part of it. As I paint, I feel like wandering through a forest and try to depict these feelings on to the canvas—the cautiousness and the animal instinct and the extra senses. I feel that animals share a peculiar relationship with humans. This comes out in my works as hybridization between the two. I feel that every human being has animal instincts and I bring them out through my paintings.” It is his love for and four-legged creatures that prompts him to draw parallels between them and humans.

The legends who have happened to influence him are Leonardo Da Vinci, Dali, FN Souza, Picasso and Laxma Goud whom he counts among the greatest printmakers from India. According to him, all these artists have indulged in hybridization in one form or another. And they all provide him inspiration in the form and technique he employs. The proficient printmaker displays a natural flare for watercolors and acrylics. He greatly relishes the creation of hybrids and chimeras, soaking in their dramatic personae, a composite of bird and animal, human and machine, and so on, whereas Ram Bali Chauhan’s work revolves around the concept of faceless, global terrorism that looms large. He has developed a unique visual language, which involves experimentation with intricate arrangement of line and form. His work invariably provokes a heightened viewer response and participation because it deals with their immediate concerns.

The artist with the help of human skeletons and animals reflects upon the theme from the common people’s perspective. In fact, animal as well as human skeletons or frames are a recurrent motif in his compositions. He consciously chooses to isolate specific contours and configurations of interest to him. He magnifies these in his creations creating a feel of immediacy. In an introductory essay to his series, ‘Voice of Violence’, critic Deeksha Nath had mentioned: “His art provides alternative readings to popular culture and a public language of fracture, hostility and threat by exploring tactics of fear. His artwork comes from a creative rather than from a scientific, legal or historical speaking position.