art focus – metal and brush – swagata bose

“‘Nude’ is to me the most glorious subject for the artist’s brush and, hence, the most challenging. The tension between the prestigious position of the nude, and the anxieties caused by sexual overtones implicit in the portrayal and observation of the nude female body, is at the core of the challenge.” ~ Swagata Bose

Swagata Bose, recently held her showing ‘Metal and Brush’ with sculptor Shankar Ghosh in Mumbai at the Artist Centre (14-20 April). Swagata and I went to college together. Going to art college with someone usually translates to a lifetime of friendship based on shared insanity, deep conversations, and setting up exhibits. 🙂

Over the years Swagata’s work has taken the form of a range of series, each reflecting a different exploration of line and shape, color and contour, emotions and enigmas. What ties them all together is her inimitable style, where she lets paint drip over the canvas to repeatedly pile it back again, carrying on this process till the drama of that moment captured on canvas is expressed.

Her series include the much acclaimed, and her own personal favorite, La Venus – The Being and The Body – which celebrates the 21st century woman – powerful, while still sensuous and distinctive in her style.

In La Venus, the model is past the prime of her youth and Swagata makes no attempt to transform her into shapely proportions reminiscent of the classical Venus. Her nude is instead a breathing body animated by an erotic vigor – a woman’s physical being seen through the language of her bared flesh. Reclining, crouching or seated, the nude’s face is at times obscured by darkness, or cut off by the frame or turned away from the viewer. But that does not suppress, or rob her of her individuality.

And then there is Talsari where Swagata delves into the rustic dignified simplicity of the fisher-folk at Talsari, a beach 220 kilometers from Kolkata, her present home. Birds, in contrast, is poetry in deft detail, mourning the slow extinction of a species as a result of mankind’s careless exploitation of the environment.

Completely aware and at ease with her self, her creativity built passionately over the years, Swagata reminds me of Pablo Picasso’s famed quote “Some painters transform the sun into a yellow spot, others transform a yellow spot into the sun.”

Some of her works from the exhibition. Enjoy.

Left: Nude IIIb; Right: Nude IIIc

Common Birds in Danger – Crow

Talsari I

Detail: Ganesha

Left: Gulmohar; Right: Ganesh

Metal and Brush – Shankar Ghosh…
The Metal and Brush exhibition was held jointly with Shankar Ghosh. My favorite pieces from his collection at the showing. 🙂


Left: Hair do; Right: Dancer


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