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LAXMA GOUD

Laxma Goud was born in 1940 in Andhra Pradesh. Receiving a diploma from the Government College of Fine Arts & Architecture, Hyderabad, he went on to study mural painting and print-making in Baroda. As a master draftsman, Laxma Goud displays a versatility over a range of mediums - from etching, gouache, pastels and water colours to glass paintings.

This, most earthy or artists, grounds his work in the rural world and its tribal vivacity. His figures, strongly delineated, flow with a power made all the more strong by the naturalness of their setting, the casual abandon of their sexuality. There is eroticism and poetry in his work. There is laughter and playfulness and a strong imprint of his personal focus.

Which is not to say that Laxma Goud has limited his scope to a particular genre. He has experimented with many mediums, different themes, stylistic variations, but through them all run an air of fecundity, of profusion - a virility emerging from the natural. He seems to have made it his endeavour to take away from his works any refining of what is raw and rustic - and instead presents figures whose sensuality seem to be integral to their being - as much them, as any part of their body or any thought in their mind. The gods of his creations are the gods of nature, the primal forces at the heart of all worship.

In this manner he has achieved a form of poetry, entirely his own - a form of poetry that one can almost touch, so palpable are his works. And the story-line in this work of art, as told to us by Laxma Goud, the raconteur, runs using the human species as also the world of animals as his subjects, undeviating, right through for us to read, as well as to see and admire.

Suhas Roy
Born in 1936, Suhas Roy initially studied at the Indian College of Draughtsmanship, Kolkata. In Paris he went to the Atelier 17 of William Hayter and then the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux Arts. On his return to India, he was appointed Head of the Graphic Department at his old school, the College of Draughtsmanship. His life then led him to Kala Bhavan in Santiniketan where he headed the Painting Department and from where he retired in 1996. He now lives and works in Kolkata.

During his pilgrimage in search of his own particular expression, Suhas Roy painted and sketched using different mediums and different subjects. His 'Christ' series are remarkable as are his landscapes. But his greatest contribution to Indian art is his 'Radha' series - of which he has created almost six hundred in oil, acrylic, pastel and charcoal. She, his princess, emerges from woods and trees and foliage as also from the humdrum of everyday life. She could be a woman walking down the street or selling vegetables next door, but wherever she is, Suhas Roy will extract from her the essence of her womanhood. This ability to distil what is the heart of his Radha, stems from the control he has been able to exercise on the creative force within him- a force that breathes life into his most famous series. On her, this heavenly, dream-like female, he showers his enormous talent. Here, the romantic in his nature is fed and built upon by the craftsman in him and emerging from this is a melancholic, luminous, dream-like figure which some would call archetypal Indian womanhood. We see tenderness, gentility and grace in these figures, which touch our emotions but never drown our intellectual senses in the syrup of sentimentality.

In fact, the refinement of his brushwork presents itself to one seeking and demanding recognition and of course, admiration.

From his myriad works we see a confirmation of his belief that all painting has to be beautiful. But nevertheless, there is to this beauty, a detached quality which removes its earthliness and instills instead a touch of eternal grace similar to the pre-Raphaelites of Britain in the early twentieth century.

Lalu Prosad Roy
Lalu Prosad Shaw was born in 1937 and studied at the Government College of Arts & Craft, Kolkata. A Professor of Graphic Art at Kala Bhavan, Santineketan, his works have been exhibited both in India and abroad.

In Lalu Prosad Shaw we have a most gifted artist as also a print-maker. He has managed to create a synthesis - which some rightly call seamless - of many different styles and reduced them to simple, sophisticated works of art. This may seem to the casual observer to be not a difficult task but in fact requires a level far above the ordinary of both aesthetic judgement and linear facility.

His graphic work is modern, not only in his brilliant handling of technique but also in his imagery, which ranges from the abstract to the expressionist.
On the other hand in his tempera paintings, Shaw reaches out (but not back) to the traditions of the Bengal School and even further to the 19th century Company School. However, one cannot but remark on the influence of not only the traditional Kalighat pat but also of the Ajanta paintings.

The results are elegant, sometimes understated, always sophisticated creations, pleasing not only to the eye but to the intellect of the discerning viewer. One sees an array of work, taken from nature as also from the Bengali middle class, which he depicts not only with an obvious affection but also with a wry sense of humour. These highly stylized paintings show the physical characteristics of the subject, so gracefully, simply and so surely stated that one can but stand up and applaud.

His works as a result have found a place in the permanent collections of the National Museum of Modern Art, New Delhi, the Birla Academy of Art & Culture, Kolkata and the Singapore Art Museum amongst several other prestigious public and private collections in India and abroad.

K.G. Subramanyan
K.G. Subramanyan is a painter, muralist, sculptor, toy-maker, illustrator. He is also an intellect known for his original thought and an insightful author on Art. Born in 1924, he studied at Kala Bhavan, Viswa Bharati, Santiniketan and at the Slade School of Art, London. He spent many years as Professor of Painting both in Baroda as well as in Santiniketan and later as Professor Emeritus at Viswa Bharati. This is not to mention the numerous other positions he has held in allied areas of interest.

It is difficult to encapsulate K.G Subramanyan, either as a man or as an artist - so varied are his interests and so deep is his intellectual capacity. No wonder that he is considered one of the masters - in fact a doyen of Indian art. For example, take reverse paintings - an old art form almost obsolete before it became a passion of his in the 70s. Into it he breathed not only a new life but also a new language - inimitably his own - vibrant, alive, contemporary. His glass paintings, he has suggested may be called his 'bazaar' work. They are, he says, midway between 'the deliberate and the spontaneous,' which is at the heart of his technique in glass painting.

Of his views on art, 'there are many things I consider fundamental to my art activity - emotions, inspirations, the inner landscape of my heart, agonies, enthusiasm and such psychological minutiae that I don't feel comfortable talking about. This is not because I do not consider them significant but because I feel they are sullied and made smaller by analysis…'

What more needs to be added, in fact dare be added after these words? How can we 'sully' what he does not want with our comparatively puny intellect. Let it rest then with the statement that the enormous force of his feelings, metamorphoses into his works and explodes through any medium in which he is working, to present painting after painting, work after work, which is vibrant and shimmering with the energy he has bestowed on it. And in this great profusion, this out-pouring, there is wisdom and also wit, lyricism yet simplicity, cerebral yet touching. Yes, truly a work of Art.

Jogen Chowdhury
Born in 1939, Jogen Chowdhury studied at the Government College of Arts & Craft, Kolkata and in Paris at the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux Arts and Atelier 17 of William Hayter. In 1972, Jogen moved to Delhi as the curator of the art collection at Rashtrapati Bhavan and in 1987 was appointed Professor of Painting at Kala Bhavan, Santiniketan.

However, his greatest learning has been the long journey of his career in search of a personal vocabulary, his very own identity. To achieve this he has looked for and found inspiration from Indian sources - Pata paintings and Alpona work of rural Bengal.
But these methods and styles have been used and then mutated to his own
thinking and beyond that, to his own belief. This belief, rooted in political upheaval and coloured by his cultural background, lent a pall of gloom over his earlier work. As he began to put that part of his being into the background of his artistic life, he emerged from this inner darkness - and as his art grew more personalised, so did the persona of the artist mature and ripen.

Oil is perhaps not his medium of choice. He says he has a spontaneous feel for works in ink, but for oils he has to get involved. So into his line drawings and fine tracery of 'cross-hatching' we look for his greatest expansion as an artist. There is, in these works a sinuous, almost sinister grace. Coiled into them is a hint of eroticism - tumescence and flaccidity vie side by side. You see willful distortion of plants and leaves, arms and torsos, giving them a voluptuousness and fecundity, which is most sensual. The works, however 'still' they may be are never 'at rest'. There is a vibration in his art that goes far beyond just the visual effect and can only have emerged from the totality of his painting and the tension created therein. To look at his work, pre-conceived ideas must be discarded, intellectual dissection put aside. Then when the sensory faculties are let loose, one can begin to absorb the many facets of this great talent.


Manjit Bawa
There is a Sufi in Manjit Bawa and also a lover - be it of Punjabi folk music, bucolic images, Pahari miniatures, forms of animals or flowers, human beings or religious icons. But these are separate entities, different from one another. How then, does he put them together - what is the melding process that the man has to go through to eventually emerge as this formidable artist?

He studied at the Delhi School of Art, New Delhi, The London School of Painting, UK and taught at the Institute of Adult Education in England, where he worked as a silk-screen printer. He was a visiting lecturer in the Delhi College of Art. Here are bald facts. But how his restless spirit converted the picture, the image in his mind through the techniques he had studied and used and blended them into his personal iconography, is a walk through the life of the artist. In seeking this coherence - as he says, is like the musician trying to put 'disjointed strains of music' into a symphony - he walked many paths.

The quest, laborious, painstaking, yielded its fruit eventually. He attained at last, the flat background he was looking for and alongside, his forms began to emerge - recognisable but in a stylised form essentially his own. But none of that would have been complete without his vision - a meld of philosophy and religion, folk tales and the great Indian epics. The icons he uses are apparent - but he says they are also himself. And in tying himself into them, or perhaps them into himself, there has emerged an inner serenity, a peacefulness which enhances the mere solitariness of his figures.

He says, and he quotes Jogen Chowdhury in doing so, that stillness creates its own great tension - this aesthetic tension is vital in any work of art. So when one looks at Manjit Bawa's works, one sees not just a figure that is at that moment still but the vibration running through the artist in anticipation of the movement which is latent in the subject. To understand this is to begin to recognise the depth of his works.