The Asian Age
Memories marketh a man
Aug 26, 2013 - Moushumi Sharma
There is no refuge from memory and remorse in this world. The spirits of our foolish deeds haunt us, with or without repentance.
— Canadian novelist Gilbert Parker
A fascinating word indeed. Memory — a bridge that connects the present to the past. Some sweet, some painful, some that hold on to us no matter how hard we try to let go, and some so beautiful that we never want to let go. While memories take us back to a period now locked in the sands of time, dreams beckon us to a future whose seeds we are sowing at present. The human brain beautifully accommodates both.
In his solo show titled Marks and Markers, Kolkata-based artist Samindranath Majumdar looks back to his own reminiscence and experiences using abstraction and multiple layers of paint to redefine space and memory. Born in 1966 to an illustrious family of writers, educators and painters, Majumdar received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in visual arts from Rabindra Bharti University, Kolkata, after completing an undergraduate degree in science at Kolkata University.
For the 47-year-old artist, memories unfold in a series of unstable visuals. Born in a Kolkata suburb, he grew up amidst greenery which was slowly being replaced by the growing space of a crowded metropolis. He recalls being enamoured by the various jute mills situated on his way to school. Observing the imposing, and sometimes crumbling buildings on a daily basis left its mark on his memory, to surface many years later in his canvases. Then there was the Ganges with its wide, open ghats, the calm waters and an unending horizon that also left an impression on a young Majumdar.
His works tread the fine line between completely abstract and representative forms, calling into question the role that narrative threads play in experiencing art. “Abstraction to me is a quality which is present in every piece of art worth its name. In some of my works, you can very well identify some representational elements. But, these elements have actually been reinterpreted here. I change their external retino-visual reality into a lyrical, existential, poetic, prosaic, non-dramatic, gestural identity.”
Speaking about the title of his show, Majumdar explains, “Marks are made by markers, but the marks also define the markers. This show is all about memory and history. Memories are like marks, which have been created by a particular time and at the same time eroded by time, too. So ‘time’ is the marker here, a personal/private time and time as an eternal flow. Marks are then the signs of my intrinsic unconscious self and these could be read also as conscious choices from my socio-private experiences, mediated by time.”
In his paintings, a silvery dreaminess pervades the scene. His paintings look like shimmering forms in red and blue which seemingly dissolve into the silver smoke of his works. In one silkscreen work titled The Broken Wing, the wings of an old aircraft lie on a wheat field like a textured background where it slowly transforms into a sapphire obelisk. In yet another work, puffs of cumulo-nimbus clouds float over a softly outlined skyscraper. Solid triangles bounce against the clouds in a work with a strong cubist flavour. The triangles become a block of mysteriously brown cheese with what looks like the head of a fish with citrine eyes in another work. The colours are subdued and well balanced and the forms organised, giving some of the abstract still lives a brooding magnetism that is quite rare.
For Majumdar, memory is a subject and not a recollecting device. “In my works, I try to imitate the process of memory during the very process of painting. I paint and I wash/wipe it off and I continue the same process over and over again till I finish. Thus, the process itself becomes the narrator. In my painted images there are many signs that signify time. For example, I have used undefined scripts, Rosetta stones, old buildings and the like. To me memories are departures too, in a certain sense, small patterns of exile which speak of words and worlds left behind. But, the funny part is these are both ‘here’ as well as ‘there’, carried as an undertone throughout our lives. It is this bipolarity of memory, this presence of past-ness that has intrigued me time and again. This interface of submergence and surfacing creates an interesting dialectic in my paintings. My displacement from the suburbs to the city claims centrality here,” he says.
While most of Majumdar’s paintings are landscapes, they are not sheer landscapes. “I use the pattern of landscape as a correlative of my journey towards the unknown; I use landscape space as a metaphor, a sign holder, a bearer of marks of time,” he adds.
Majumdar has been working with acrylic and other medium on canvas and paper for the last 25 years. So, what does he like about stains and marks from multiple washes? “At times, I have tried to create some kind of a porous surface on canvas. You see, the way in which a porous surface receives and retains stains and marks can be related, as a parallel visual vocabulary, to personal/historical memory. This surface can be eroded with aggressive abrasion and yet retains certain marks — both the marks of stains and the marks created by abrasions. Shall we call these violations? Interventions?” he questions, but admits that he really finds it intriguing to work on silk screen mesh as multiple washes and layers make his forms soft. “I play with them; I am all for spontaneity. I fall, I win. I let the forms grow. I watch them, as I would watch a growing thing, vibrate with an interior life,” he says playfully.
The show is underway at Gallerie Ganesha in New Delhi till September 12 and is open for public viewing from 11 am to 7 pm, except Sundays.
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The Art Daily
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Review - An Aesthetic of Urban Grunge, A journey through Asia, and more..
Marks and Markers
Work by Samindranath Majumdar)
Gallerie Ganesha, New Delhi, presents an exhibition of paintings by artist Samindranath Majumdar, in a show titled ,‘Marks and Markers’.
The speciality of the primarily abstract artworks on display is that the artist prefers to work in layers. Be it layers of pigment and layers of experience it may be read as an attempt to make sense of the variant ways in which the cues of memory mark and unmark the evolving self, resulting in both erasure and overwriting.
Memory encapsulates time, gives it specificity and therefore, a shape, thus initiating the artist's journey of reinterpretation.
Memory marks and markers
22 August 2013, New Delhi, Team MP
Paintings of this Kolkata-based artist will be on exhibition at the Gallerie Ganesha in a show called Marks And Markers.
‘Marks are made by markers, but the marks also define the markers. This show is all about memory and history. Memories are like marks which have been created by a particular time and at the same time, eroded by time too. So “time” is the marker here, a personal/private time and Time as an eternal flow. Marks are then the signs of/for my intrinsic unconscious self and these could be read also as conscious choices from my socio-private experiences, mediated by time,’ says artist Samindranath Majumdar, talking about his work.
Paintings of this Kolkata-based artist will be on exhibition at the Gallerie Ganesha in a show called Marks And Markers.
Samindranath Majumdar’s paintings look back to his own experiences, using abstraction and multiple layers of paint to redefine space and memory.
His works tread the fine line between completely abstract and representative forms, calling into question the role that narrative threads play in experiencing art.
For Majumdar, memory unfolds in a series of unstable visuals. Born in a Kolkata suburb, he grew up among greenery which was slowly being replaced by the growing space of a crowded metropolis. Observing the imposing and, sometime, crumbling buildings on a daily basis left its mark on his memory, to surface many years later in his canvases.
Tangible and intangible
Aug 22, 2013 - DR SEEMA BAWA
At a recent show Marks and Markers by Samindranath Majumdar at Gallerie Ganesha, the artist uses acrylic on silk on board and canvas to map out his tangible and intangible memories. One such large work is The Turn, that shows a lonely road with a curve in it turn on it, but which is going nowhere, merging into the landscape.
The Turn, thus, with its many promises of the many particular goals it could lead to actually leads to the universal. The painting is a skilful portrayal of an arid mountainous landscape perhaps of Zanskar or Spiti, in greys of all shades, with scree slopes climbing upwards.
Most of the paintings are done in brooding, dark colours that have been thoughtfully layered upon each other. This superimposition is interesting as each underlying layer reveals a little bit of the artist’s experience, both lived and creatively. Such peeling away can be seen in works like Documenter, where there is a suggestion that a page from a diary is decaying with age to reveal its deepest secrets.
Each painting is also deeply textured, with a juxtaposition of ethereal bubbles and earthy granularity against which various motifs and devise have been placed, each having its own signification. Old lamps, water bodies, boards, markers, of time, past and present have great import in his works.
Though the works can be read together as one narrative, each painting has its own story to tell, unfolding its own little drama for the viewer, in which there is no human agency. The old stones, bottles, rivers and paths share their tales of floods and ruins, of wars and desolation, of bridges and their destruction, of ballads and dirges and of eternal time.
“…..Samindranath Majumdar is emerging as a fine abstractionist, whose brooding, low-toned constructs speak of a mature sensibility. Reinventing natural views in terms of lines and segments, textures and grades is part of an established genre, explored by a discerning few here. Although belonging to this category Majumdar is nobody’s shadow.” What is particularly to be noted is his refusal to allow decorative concessions to make the works pleasing. The diagrammatic layouts are like aerial views at times but are not flat or static, for the artist can evoke teasing illusions of depth and motion, vacuum and volume, even with a restrict motion, vacuum and volume, even with a restricted color scheme.;
Rita Dutta; ;
The Economic Times of Kolkata
Saturday, 21 June 1997
;;THE TELEGRAPH ,CALCUTTA, Friday, April 01, 2005
Reconstructing empty space
Mental picture: Desolate by Samindranath Majumdar
Abstractionism in art is a many-faceted, non-interpretative designing of colours, lines and shapes. Laid out in the the non-formal syntactical sequence in space, the resulting pictorial conglomeration is supposed to evoke a variety of feelings, memories and excitement, and an awareness of the human condition — all from a personal perspective. ;
Samindranath Majumdar, although a thorough-going abstract visualiser, is in the respectable company of abstractionists the world over in the sense of being preoccupied with reconstructing (or even deconstructing) empty space. But his role as a painter has no artificiality or external semblance with the fashionable genres of abstract art having their cultural roots in the West. The point needs underlining in the overwhelming context of near-mimicry of fashionable occidental art practices that have little or no significance in the Indian context. Samindranath’s space is a mental space, described by his personally felt experience, if only tinged by his own imagination. His field of vision, not unexpectedly, is lyrical and romantic and so involves a historical link between the past and the present. His effort to reconstruct space in terms of non-objective objects is not prejudiced or doctrinally circumscribed by any laboured process of eliminating every vestige of cognisable objects that truly have already gone into the weaving of his tapestry-like surface. From some angles, Samindranath’s conception of pictorial forms awakens us, once again, to the fact that all abstractionists belong in a fundamental way to the tenuous borderline between the figurative/ identifiable and the non-representational. The narrative element latent in all pictorial constructs (not excluding Jackson Pollock’s so-called action painting which is supposed to have contained the totemic myth) is arguably inalienable from the ‘pure design’ configurated in space. The exhibits range from landscapes involving truncated shapes of identifiable objects (painted in acrylic), at one end, to a series of mixed-media (marble dust, rice paper on canvas) creations, at the other.
“These works evoke the flat still lives of Braque in which he created ‘tactile space’ which, by the closing in of the background, brings the objects nearer to eye. This then counters the flatness by bringing the images into a tangible relief. The artist plays with the idea of space around objects and how they relate to the space in a way that disorientates the viewer and forces us to look more closely at what the painting is visually saying to us. Echoing something of the philosophy of the cubism; that is was not a manner but a state of mind”;
.“At the time when here in England our biggest art prize, The Turner Prize has been characterized by conceptual installations and videos, painting seems to have become a lost art form, or at least one that has lost its ability to communicate to its audience. Turner one of the gretest western Landscapes painters certainly have been confused by the work that the prize championed. It is therefore a relief to know that contemporary artists such as Samindranath are finding ways to talk to us through painting in a way which helps us to understand and explore the unsettled landscapes in which we all live.”;
Lowena Faull 2004.;
Freelance Writer and Art Promer.