Exhibitions 2007

Mon Art Gallerie Presents

Badri Narayan

"Narration comes to me naturally; I have been fond of telling stories since my childhood."
          Born in July 1929, in Secunderabad, Andhra Pradesh, the self-taught Badri Narayan has been painting for over 45 years. During this time, he has been a teacher and an artist, but always, an introspective individual. This self-reflection and autobiographical perspective is the most constant theme in Narayan's work. His paintings are narrative, and titles like "Queen Khemsa's Dream of Hamsa" and "Meeting at Midstream", are the starting point from where one must unravel the complexities presented by the paintings, in order to interpret and understand them. 

          Symbolism is a recurring feature of his works, though sometimes, he also uses popular icons of Indian culture like the 'Ganesha'. He says: "I have picked up the imagery that surrounds me, the one I am born into, and it comes naturally." He draws heavily from Indian mythology and metaphors and acknowledges the influence of the Indian miniature tradition. Narayan believes that painting is two-dimensional and prefers to work on a smaller format; one that he finds practical and well suited for the watercolours that have been his preferred medium for several years. He has also done etchings, woodcuts and ceramics. 

          Badri Narayan's work has been featured in prestigious exhibitions such as the Asian Artists Exhibition, Tokyo (1957), Art Now in India, New Castle, England and Ghent, Belgium (1966), India Art Today, in Darmstadt, West Germany (1982). His solo shows have been held in India, Germany and the USA. He has also represented India in the Biennales of Paris (1961), the Biennale of Prints, Tokyo, (1966-67). In 1965, he won the Award of the Lalit Kala Akademi for his painting, 'The Family'. Badri Narayan used to live and work in Mumbai. He is presently residing in Bangalore.


Calcutta Painters


Three Amigos

          We three met on the road. Different time, different place, coming from different directions. All new age Guru’s may see a higher purpose in this - we don’t. We happen to choose to paint. Goa is small; we would have met any way. We had no choice in the matter.

            Painters are difficult to get along with. However we tolerate each other. Much to our reluctance we have to admit that this association has been extremely enjoyable and enriching for us. We work in different modes and different styles, yet, however disparate our approaches may be, we do share a sense of what art may or could be. Having crossed this major barrier about aesthetics art and all the lopsided jargon that accompanies it, this association has made it possible for us to work with a sense of space and provided us with license to exercise freedom in our respective works.

           Suhas Shilker – BFA from Goa College of Art (1981) has been painting for last 27 years. Deviprasad C Rao – graduate in commerce (1990) worked as PR professional and freelance journalist, has chosen to pursue art since 8 years. Swatee Nair – Ph D in English Literature (1980) worked as journalist, has been painting for 20 years.

          Our accidental meet with Manju Sethia of Mon Art Gallery in Goa, culminated in this show. Perhaps new age guru’s have a reason to smile .

---- Three Amigos

View the show at  -  www.monartgallerie.com

Two Poles of Contemplation

           The artist-couple Debashis and Anasuya Chakraborty apparently build up two worlds of perception and sensation in their paintings. Debashis is rebellious. His works are full of angst, turmoil and serious concerns for the void contained in contemporary living. Anasuya is serene, tranquil. Her searches are extended towards contemplative beauty, meditative in nature. Within that serenity a subtle melancholy reverberates. A sense of lostness lingers. The melancholy strives for the light, the existence lacks. The two artists construct two different poles of human passions. Yet their expressions have grown out of the same existential root.

          The life is endowed with some possibilities that the nature bestows. The life flows towards that process of becoming. But the process gets shattered by the various impediments, natural and man-made. Natural obstructions are tackled by the knowledge of human being. It elevates him/her towards greater wisdom. Man made impediments, which come in the form of exploitation and extortion of man by man, are difficult to overcome. It induces them in a life long strife. Human history is history of that strife.

          To an artist this strife gives rise to a melancholy, makes them rebellious. The responses may be two fold. The face of the reality may get shattered in the angst of his/her rebellion. Or the melancholy may strive towards a mystic serenity. Here Debashis is very direct in expressing his bitter pain. Anasuya is contemplative. Her pains posit a mystic silence.

---- Mrinal Ghosh


Basuki Dasgupta & G Subramanian

          Myths have been a part of Indian contemporary mythology; the ancient folk and classical tales are part of modern coffee table conversation, television and film imagery. Arguably though, our polyvalent culture allows us to speak about the past and the present in the same breadth. 
          We live in multiple worlds where the creative artist adopts the global with local sensibility in a fluid aesthetic; the folk, popular and the classical coexist in magical harmony. The result is a rich overlap of images, a complex assemblage of recycled and reinterpreted imagery in familiar icons.

          Basuki's work seen in retrospect has a straight forward consistency. It exhibits a subjective cohesiveness and formal preoccupation with the rural folk. 

           His early childhood in Bishnupur has had a decisive impact on him; the profusely decorated terracotta temples, the repetitive rhythmic quality and heavily textures wall surfaces have influenced his current pre-occupation.

          G.Subramanian is an artist belonging to the cultural milieu of Chennai and the College of Arts and Crafts. His work is constructed from the complex visual language emerging from the art history of his predecessor's .One can place him in the context of the Madras Art movement (1960s) conceived by K.C.S. Panikar's indigenous quest for an "Indian" identity creating a complex visual language that wove together living traditions of folk, tribal, craft traditions.
---- Suresh Jayaram

embracing modernity

           Ramesh’s traditional images are drawn from the narrative and iconic paintings of Kalamkari from Kalahasti. He breaks new ground by successfully appropriating this distinctive regional style of cloth painting on to the canvas. His work depicts the multi-layered imagery of gods, goddesses and demons, mythical creatures, metamorphosis of mythical beings and throbbing multiplicity of Indian avataras. The chaos of plant, animal, bird from the sea, land and beyond was part of his vocabulary. 

          His ability to weave all this in continuous pattern with an inherent decorative sensibility and painstaking detail absorbed him. He simplifies the principal figure and uses conventions of hierarchy with smaller images to create a profusion of multiple narrative sequences. The iconographies of the presiding deity in the canvas are the icons of the major Indian religions. He evokes the multiplicity of the divine mythology as a metaphor for the abundance of humanity and divinity. 

          And his modern sensibilities add innovative changes without straying from the regional style. The most unique twist in his works is his ability to overlap the images. This ability to layer his principal images with narratives of the deity is his forte. He unifies flesh and sprit and affirms the ever changing and multiple identity of representing gods and myths in all its diversity and imagination.

---- Suprita Moorthy

View the show at  -  www.monartgallerie.com

Shades on a Surface

          How does the young artist groomed in the exquisite environment of Santiniketan and taught to imbibe the wonders of nature come face to face with the demands of a consumer society? Art has been taken out of the closet to the extent that young minds accustomed to the rhythms and rituals of Kala Bhavana may find it difficult to adjust their artistic personalities to the pulls and pressures of life in the big metros. But that is where popular interest in art resides.

           That is the urbane and socially complex climate which the explorers of a personal vision must finally contend with. It is a tough call for young painters who have distinguished themselves at Kala Bhavana but are essentially unfamiliar with the crosswinds of an urban culture to place their work in a different social context. But that is the plunge they must take at some time or the other. Thus we find three powerful young artists brought together in Mumbai for the show “Shades on a Surface” by Gallery Art and Soul of Mumbai and Mon Art Gallerie of Kolkata.

           This will be their first Exhibition outside West Bengal but they have every reason to be confident of a favourable response from the art lovers of the metropolis.All of them had Jogen Chowdhury as their teacher and mentor for all those years they spent at Kala Bhavana – and later. Quite clearly they have learnt the most important quality that distinguishes painters with a future – the art of evolving a personal vision.

          This show confirms the skills which each member of the trio can consider his own. It requires confidence to look beyond with feet firmly planted on the soil. They have discovered the courage of their artistic convictions.

---- Swapan Mullick

View the show at  -  www.monartgallerie.com

Confronting Globalization

The Dive
          Ever since I have started my journey into the vast periphery of visual manifestation, every tiny incidents and highly textured anecdotes started haunting me. This incidents and consequences eventually decorated my canvas in later years.  The richly crafted nostalgic world of mine always instigated me to execute them on my visual space. Be it paintings or graphics my manifested format always dealt with the quest of real being. 

          Some questions which traumatized my mental faculty sporadically are what so special about being human? Where our superiority lies? The normal answer would be in search of advanced technological reference day by day or maybe in the ability to think! But what are we thinking about our self! Where are we completely real. I am not questioning the metaphorical or physical attendance. 

          I wanted to take a dive into the deepest core of the man’s psychological set up. Where we are completely bared without any materialistic bondage. Where we are absolutely stark naked with ultimate freedom. A world without any disguise of pride or egoistic inhibitions. A man of solemn truth. This man is a solitary being. Sometime he is represented as the ascetic flute player sitting in a Seiren atmosphere. Sitting in the void.  The void, which doesn’t occupies any space. The pace which is intangible yet visible.

           I felt the real man within is that real man of silence. The man who resides in solitude. No scientific explanation can touch him. He is beyond of any logical explanation. The sage himself is the logic of existence. The icon of tranquility. The form of solace. If silence could be depicted no one would have settled down for anything else beside him. I always ran after this real being in my painting. He is the same person who navigates us into the exact direction.

---- Arun Bain 

View the show at  -  www.monartgallerie.com

Vanity Fair

"Vanity is the fear of appearing original: it is thus a lack of pride, but not necessarily a lack of originality."
Friedrich Nietzsche

          'Vanity Fair' - the title of the exhibition is an ode to the novel by William Makepeace Thackeray, that satirizes society in the early 19th-century England. For a better understanding of the title let’s take a sketchy glance at Vanity Fair, one of the most devious novels - in its characterization, its irony, its explicit moralizing, its exuberance and its tone. The classic opens at Miss Pinkerton's Academy for Young Ladies, where the principal protagonists Becky Sharp and Amelia Sedley have just completed their studies and are preparing to depart for Amelia's house in Russell Square. 

           No one is better equipped in the struggle for wealth and worldly success than alluring and ruthless Becky Sharp who defies her impoverished background to clamber up the class ladder. Her sentimental companion Amelia, however, longs only for caddish soldier George. As the two heroines make their way through the tawdry glamour of Regency society, battles—military and domestic—are fought, fortunes made and lost. The one steadfast and honorable figure in this corrupt world is Dobbin with his devotion to Amelia, bringing pathos and depth to Thackeray's gloriously satirical epic of love and social adventure. 
However, by the end of the novel, the reader will realize that neither character is unblemished.

          The works of the exhibition are not directly representative of the theme of the novel; rather they aim to convey the tribulations’ of the human psyche, the vanity and prejudice inherent in every being and the intricacies of human relationships. Apprehensions over the external appearance is common to one and all especially women but as one of Mason Cooley's aphorisms claims "Vanity well fed is benevolent. Vanity hungry is spiteful." It is the excessive belief in one's own abilities that pushes one to his/her downfall and as the novel proves, ultimately it is only the goodness and virtues of a person which lasts till the end.

---- Bhavna Kakar

View the show at  -  www.monartgallerie.com

          Dhaneshwar Shah will come to you as a young man, who is absorbed in his own world; quiet surely, a creative one. He is an endowed prodigy, who is brimming with new ideas and is not scared of crossing over the line (experimenting). His work mostly vertical has a graphic quality to it. With a mature rationale he has developed an appealing ocular language, which captures the viewer’s gaze.

          In the present times most ‘modern’ contemporary artists are shaping their works with a focus on urban sensibilities. In this context Dhaneshwar stands apart. He is quite different and novel, both in his emotive content and in his representations. He has based these works on the vicinity and life of Bastar which he visited in the recent past. It seems that the colourful place and its harsh yet vivacious life have etched a deep mark on the artist’s psyche. One can sense this intangible vibrancy and pulsation in these creative spaces.

          The images and motifs which are depicted in his paintings are from the animal world. The horses, dogs, cats, ducks, goats, tigers, deer, peacocks, etc. act as the main protagonists in them.
---- Anjali Duhan


Flowing Lines

          25 drawings by the eminent Artist Shri Jogen Chowdhury was on display along with poems written by Shri Nilanjan Bandyopadhyay. This novel combination was absolutely charming.

          Mon Art Gallerie is absolutely delighted to host this show and we want to thank Shri Jogen Chowdhury and Shizen for giving us this oppurtunity.

          "Dear eyes" – A limited edition 20"x15" signed book by Shizen includes all the 25 drawings by Shri Jogen Chowdhury and Nilanjan Bandyopadhyay from the exhibition "Flowing Lines" was also be on display.