Review by Sarmistha Maiti
September 01, 2014


Beneath the Black
Group Show
July 20-August 8, 2014
Gandhara Art Gallery,  Kolkata

“Black is fear, Black is dark, Black is grotesque,
A colour – just another mark…
But what if Black is Beautiful!!!
And when it is…”

The tale of ‘Black’ is a journey of life and death, a metaphor of love and hate, an anecdote of joy and sorrow, a sign of chaos and a signifier of protest. To decipher black from its core in layers, visual artists from all over the world have attempted in turns in different ages and phases of history and come up with brilliant experience and range of creations with this darkest shade of colour that covers all other shades in a go. ‘Beneath the Black’ can be treated as one such collective endeavour of the visual artists of the 21st century who have tried to dig into the black and decode a saga of secrets hidden within it, somewhere the search has led to a stroke of light, somewhere it is even more darker and at many places it is an amalgamation light and dark. With profound emotional impetus, each artist participating in the second version of ‘Beneath the Black’ exhibition conceptualized and hosted by the Gandhara Art Gallery in Kolkata very recently, has put their personal touch in the execution of the artworks instead of just laying some odd experimentation with art given on a subject. One likes it or not, finds it interesting or boring or finds it worth to be made a part of their collection or not should not be the evaluating factors for this exhibition. ‘Beneath the Black’ - one such concept has to stay within us, remain with us and also form a part of our journey beyond such petty judgmental comments like “who’s the artist/creator…, well this work looks good…, oh! This one is too simple…, I like it but don’t know how to restore it – what’s the point in buying then…”

Mithu Sen, Amritah Sen, Adip Dutta, Manjunath Kamath, Jayshree Chakravarty, Piyali Sadhukhan, Radhika Agarwal , Sambaran Das and Debnath Basu, though technically would be referred as just the participating artists of this exhibition, ‘Beneath the Black – Part 2’, but restricting them just to the boundary of a show would be a limited way to look at their works even if they are exclusively meant for this show only. Mithu’s years of experience coupled with experimentation with any object can transform into the biggest subject of thought. This is emblematic of Mithus Sen, so why not ‘hair’ this time which tells a lot about what lies beneath the black. Amritah explores others’ stories in her personal anecdotes and shares the universal approach of being a smaller particle in the larger flow of life. And this time the subject of experience is ‘fear’ and the form of experimentation is book-art. Debnath has addressed his emotional content related to ‘existence’ and ‘nature’ on such a scale that his finest and minutest depiction with graphite creating an impression of each and every detail is simply spellbound to take a viewer in an inward journey of one’s own reflexes and emotions. Manjunath tries to knock the door of hope as a possible outcome that lies beneath the darkest webs of the black and Adip in his drawing on a sheet decodes from the most unimportant stuffs of life that are otherwise so relevant that you can’t do without them just like the black, which even if you try to avoid will always be there. Jayshree continues in her pursuit of abstraction in search of invariable shades of black in oil and acrylic.

A round of applause should also go for Sudipta Sen, the mind behind this concept. Her thoughts and subjects have always given the birth of unique and extraordinary out of the regular and the ordinary and though after a break, she has put forward this exhibition in her own gallery, we hope to see many more of this kind in the days to come.  

Jayshree Chakravarty, Acrylic and Oil, 50x 44 inches