Critique on Art of Animesh Roy
Krishna Chaitanya, The Hindustan Times, New Delhi.
Suneet Chopra, The Hindustan Times, New Delhi.
Santo Datta, The Hindu, New Delhi.
Keshav Malik, The Times of India, New Delhi.
K. L. Kaul, The Statesman, New Delhi.
Seema Bawa, Pioneer, New Delhi.
Shekhar Mehra, Herald, New Delhi.
Vasantha Iyer, Mid Day, New Delhi.
Manasij Majumder, The Telegraph, Calcutta.
Kishore Roy, The Statesman, Calcutta.
Dnyaneshwar Nadkarni, The Pioneer, Mumbai.
Chitra Sardesai, Mid-Day, Mumbai.
Madhur Tankha, The Hindu, New Delhi.
Reviews in the Press
The Year of The Image-Maker, Triveni Gallery, New Delhi
And it is often a simple image, like that of Animesh Roy’s The Fall that I saw at Triveni Gallery, that perseveres, as it bridges the gap between matter and ideas, between texture, line and images, and leaves one with a feeling that one has experienced something that reminds one that ultimately it is not people who are immortal, their actions are.
Exploring The Medium, M.E.C. Art Gallery, New Delhi
Over the past two decades acrylic, the aqueous medium, has lent itself to a wide range of use by painters, often replacing the oil. The transparent watercolour is not pliable for the slap-dab, thick impasto technique, nor is the opaque gouache, another aqueous medium, capable of retaining the kind of thickness the painters want for speedy gestural brushwork. The varying thickness of acrylic paint can create a lively pattern of surface tension parallel to colours and their varying values. It looks very much like the oil paint, only much cheaper. Some painters can achieve highly consistent and uniform colour filed with acrylic, which is not that easy in transparent watercolour, and gouache will often leave marks of the brush bristle. That is another extreme of the use of acrylic colours.
The 40 medium-small size acrylic landscapes of Animesh Roy, now on view at the M.E.C. Art Gallery, 70B, Khan Market, show the young painter’s control over the medium, and his profound concern for the effects of light on nature. He has titled the present series — his first solo show in the Capital — ‘On the Roads’, and most of the landscapes were painted on location: The deep woodlands, the forest path lighted up by the sunlight seeping through the leaves of tall trees, the dramatic diagonals of dipping slope sheltering a few wild flowers, the rough stone boulders, and sometimes little towns on mountain tops. Animesh brings in lively linear patterns of light, which also define the undulating topography of the land, with the butt-end of the brush, displacing the thick layer of paints — a very familiar technique even with artists who paint in transparent water colour or in oil.
What is important in the landscapes is the total avoidance of any photographic references which we often note with dismay even in paintings of highly rated watercolourists. He paints with a breezy brush, loaded with thick paint catching the ephemeral poetry of colour and light through changing seasons in the woodlands. And he varies the direction of brush, sometimes in quick diagonals which mix grey, blue and black only to throw up the fleeting colours of wild flowers in hasty horizontals making the landscape almost semi-abstract. Evidently he is still exploring the pictorial poetry of the inspired impressionists. But in some paintings, of instance, the Red Road and Sunlit Path, his treatment of colours shows the early expressionist painters’ mystic awareness of colours which often sent out to them signals of deeper psychological import. Strangely, when he paints the familiar geometry of small towns, Animesh seems to be rather heavy-handed, if not ham-handed, in wielding his brush and his perception of colours suddenly focuses on the drab and the insipid.
The Hindu, New Delhi. October 5, 1992
The Hindu, New Delhi. October 5, 1992
By using acrylics straight from the jar without dilution, Animesh Roy (MEC Gallery) gets the thick impasto effect of oils and he has painted some delightful woodlands scenes, the foreground tress in clear detail, the background a warm flush of colours.
The Hindustan Times, New Delhi. October 11, 1992
Animesh Roy is plucky. He travels, and transcribes the visited places on paper or canvas, in acrylic. Since these works still lean on nature in a big way, they are essentially descriptive. But as descriptions they stand well. Thus ‘Dark and Deep, Autumnal Woods’ (inspired by Robert Frost’s by now beaten to death lines), as also the works suffused with pollen yellow. A good beginning, the artist should now muse on the types of landscape there may be. Then only shall his work grow.
The Times of India, New Delhi. October 22, 1992
Evocative Acrylics on Paper
Animesh Roy’s acrylics on oil sheets and canvas on view at MEC art gallery, evince interest for the young artist’s vertical horizontal and diagonal approaches to composition. He is able to capture the essential inclinations of the character and terrain of landscape, to highlight its structural rhythms in an integrated combine of woods and rocks, harmoniously blending with scattered flourishes of flowers as though arranged by nature’s own impeccable moves. The work is marked by a sense of exploration as much as by revelation, which is indicated by suddenness of the find.
Animesh has a very sensitive soul and an eye for the soulful in nature, even if it is only pretty. The roadside finds are small little treasure troves that suddenly captivate the eye as you turn the bend in a hill road, opening out new and ever changing amplitudes of valleys, the down-going dimensions of declivities. Since, in all his compositions, he has remained near the road, there have been no stirrings of the mysterious, the sombre and the elevating. What he captures is the scale of the inner amplitudes and nature’s own method of setting off one colour against the other.
Quite often there is an effort to create texture, particularly where the brush leaves its own mark on the paper. The tempering of colours, greens, yellows and oranges with blues competently generate a specific mood. Collective rhythms capture his heart as much as dignified individual gestures: the joy of a flower enjoying its lone splendour, its true being in the wider spaces to which it relates without difficulty. In works such as these, one notices the first intimations of metaphoric content of poetical quality. His works hold promise.
K. L. Kaul
The Statesman, New Delhi. October 21,1992
Study In Contrasts
Thematic realism coupled with an imaginative treatment dominate Animesh Roy’s paintings.
His work is a world of contrasts woven around the juxtaposition of warm earth colours cool dark colours, of sharp light and shade, of movement versus stillness. Violence versus serenity.
The charm of his paintings lies in not aiming at capturing the grave profundity of life. His paintings have the allure of a somewhat star portrayal.
The Autumnal Woods I and II are a study of light and shade. The white and brown tree trunks with their dark green foliage make an effective foil for the lemon yellow fore-ground interspersed with orange. The effect created is not that of soft, dappled light filtering through the trees but the dazzling light of a clear day.
These are Animesh’s more effective impressionist works. It is to the artist’s credit that he has handled such strong colours so sensitively that the contrasts never turn into conflict. The hectic energy witnessed in these paintings is missing in the Tropical Bird Flower whose lush greens build up an atmosphere of tranquility, and a moist cool fecundity. Lane I and II are the depiction of the same composition in two modes that the artist has created through the use of two different treatments. Both are a portrayal of semi urban life of a road passing through red roofed houses. The focus on the lane is emphasised by the two figures walking on it. Lane I has a rather deserted lonely look of cool dusk about it through the use of darker colours and lengthening shadow painted with even, soft brushstrokes while Lane II uses thick coats of uneven strikes — vibrant colours bursting with vitality and energy.
Crimson and pink break through the green and brown undergrowth around the small stream in Brook II. The judicious use of otherwise overpowering colours like crimson, by the artist, relieves the oppressive gloom of the thick growth. Animesh utilises oil colour technique to produce watercolour effects with acrylic colours in the waterfall.
The vividness of the artist’s pallets emerges again ‘in the Yellow Wood, a study in yellow, green and orange of fiery light permeating through the whole forest, reminiscent of unrelenting summer months of baked earth, dry leaves and blinding sun. The road path is an idiom that is repeated throughout the selection on display as in In the Woods, Untrodden Path and the Red Road. In the latter, the artist has tried to reduce the composition to two images painted with minimal brush work though not lacking in colour. The concept of the painting is interesting in its simplicity but its handling leaves much to be desired.
Animesh has shown amazing maturity in his treatment and imaginative conception. He has stuck to a simple but effective compositional structure using colour for balance. The highlight of his work is the skill with which he has used texture to create the environment, using uneven strokes with thick colours for the creating contrasts and movement, a technique specially useful in acrylic, his chosen medium. He has reserved gentle brushwork for every few of his works that emphasise repose.The young artist shows a lot of promise in the treatment of uncomplicated themes, infusing them with energy and movement.
Pioneer, New Delhi, July 30, 1992
Lost In The Green Countryside
Very many factors have gone into making the young artist feel so strongly about nature. In nature he is as much attracted to the awe it evokes as to the peace it provides. A raging thunderstorm is as attractive as the quiet that follows. And this is what is effectively conveyed here in acrylics on canvas and oil sheets.
An exhibition of painting by Animesh Roy was recently put at the Capital’s MEC gallery. Called On the Roads it consisted of some 40 odd works which the artist accomplished in the last three years while travelling through countryside. Roy is a painter in mind and a poet at heart. Lot many of his works here are influenced in theme and titles by poetry in English, though not all flow as smooth. Autumnal Leaves I is a fine work. Here nature is in fury. The raging storm is uprooting the smaller of the trees while the larger ones are just about able to withstand the impact. This is brought about by casual and thick strokes of dark brown, yellow and green. In contrast is another beautiful work Lost in the Green I wherein nature has laid out a carpet of green all over, with a few small white flowers twinkling in between.
These small white flowers are a favourite of Roy’s and he has put these to good use, particularly in Left Blooming Alone series and In Between. Occasionally the white flowers are replaced by orange ones, to an equal delight. The Pathless Woods is the heart of a jungle. There are blue sky yonder, with shrubs to the front and a few trees being gently ruffled by the blowing wind. Except for the irritant of a few red spots the picture captures the essence of the wild wood. The shades of green and brown are very effectively used. Red interferes even in an otherwise good work called The Brook II and to a great extent ruins the uninspiring Coconut Trees.
Lane I and II are deviations from the rest of the works here but are interesting compositions. The impression is that of an uphill countryside, quite desolate. The focus on the lane (I) is brought out by two figures walking on it and what seem to be deserted houses alongside. There is an eerie quiet about the place brought out by contrasting colours and lengthening shadows.
Roy’s works are marked by a definite spontaneity; an impulsiveness, which probably explains his choice of medium — acrylic. He finds oil tedious. Besides he’s essentially an outdoor artist — most at home when out of home. With acrylic you just ‘dip in and splash’, he says. This was his first solo show and one looks forward to more.
New Delhi Sunday, Herald, New Delhi. October 18, 1992
On the Roads
Animesh Roy took his first degree in the Fine Arts from the Delhi College of Art, a couple of years ago. He has lost no time in getting ‘on to the roads’ to observe life, absorb experiences and just as swiftly hold his first soslo exhibition at the MEC gallery in Khan Market. “I love travelling and there are very few picture places I have not seen,” says young Animesh proudly. His paintings, in sombre, acrylic colours and framed and priced moderately, zoom in on a little mauve flower or a string of white orchid blooms amidst a background of mild cerebral abstraction and fairly dense sanguine, wilderness. These belong to the series captioned ‘Left blooming alone’. Among the other compositions, if you search, there will be a pencil thin silvery stream or one that is choked by Chinar leaves. Animesh has trekked far and wide drunk of breath taking Himalayan scenes. No 12 is ‘Lost in the green’, but nowhere is Animesh lost or fumbling. His grip over the brush is firm and the colouration deep and disturbing. His palette knife has inured the credibility of texture and from of the rugged terrains that Animesh Roy has traversed.
Reminiscent of his southern sojourn are two vivid compositions of close ups of clusters of robust coconuts against palm fronds that splendidly fan out in burnished reds like Diwali fire-cracker display.
‘The red road’ is just that : red. Depicting violence? “Actually, in some areas in Bihar the mud is bright red. I just painted that.”Another composition of brilliant red foliage was also something the young painter had seen in Himachal. Animesh Roy has participated in many group shows and his water colours are now on display at a gallery in Jor Bagh. He prefers acrylic because he cannot change his mind as the paint dries fast! He is interested in photography and design. Animesh Roy is a very promising artiste and may quite confidently venture into a little more abstraction in from and theme. His 47 compositions on display at the MEC gallery are proof of the youngster’s enormous talent.
Mid Day, New Delhi. October 10, 1992
Group Exhibition at M.E.C. Art Gallery, New Delhi
One of the highlights of the exhibition are the work of Animesh Roy. His series On the Road carry the artist’ fleeting impression of a journey in the country. Strong sunlight filters through the trees and spreads out on the metalled road, with a blurred effect that give a sense of speed, somewhat like the Impressionists. White flowers in a bed of green, emerald green leaves and flowers in grey demonstrate the artist’s complete mastery over the medium as well as his fine sense of the whimsical.
The Pioneer, New Delhi. August 7, 1992
Images From The City And Woodlands
Triveni Gallery, New Delhi
Animesh Roy’s main focus is on landscapes far away from the city where individuals get lost. His pen-and-ink drawings of miniature size and his paintings in the aqueous mediums like the transparent watercolour and acrylic are now on view at the small Triveni Gallery. Of all his exhibits, the postcard size drawings with micro-tipped pen are perhaps the best. In fact, they stand apart from his other works for their simple but sure-handed linearity and a fine sense of design. For instance, in the drawings of small mountain villages, the narrow, meandering rustic lanes between the tin-shaded cottages show a quiet milieu of intimate domesticity, all seen from a height. The diminutive human forms make the white of the lanes alive, particularly when deep, hard-lined shades of the roof-tops frame them from different sides. In these drawings Animesh avoids detailed suggestion of the grandeur of the mountains.
It is the restrained human measure that makes his mountain scenes attractive. In the other paintings in mixed media, Animesh seems to be going through a restless phase of transition. His earlier proficiency in painting landscapes in transparent watercolour, detailing sharp breaks in shaded and lighted areas are gradually moving towards an abstracted expression of forms and colours in the landscapes. In a predominantly green landscape the young artist uses breezy brushwork charged with acrylic paint, and the whole scene is given a stormy diagonal movement. Pleasing no doubt, but in other paintings on high-grained hand-made paper he lapses into amorphous mix of transparent paint-smudges on the wet paper surface, depending more on the happy accidents that usually take place when the brush is heavy with watery paint and the paper is already wet.
What we see in his miniature-size drawing is slowly getting lost in his ardour of ‘modernisation’ and modish ‘abstraction’. The point of my detailing this kind of inconsistency is to bring home to the artist that he must not follow what other artists are doing for painting ‘modern landscapes’. Only when his own perception of world around him will change, his technique will also change if he goes on working and being truthful to his subjective response to the scene.
The Hindu, New Delhi. July 15, 1994
When Light Vocalizes the Inner Intent
Animesh Roy’s present crop of work at Triveni Gallery makes a departure from what administered the driving force into his art machine in the execution of landscapes previously: a sense of freshness, gleeful discovery, sudden revelation. That was work governed by fresh responses to a hill scene as he moved through it. You don’t find that cluster of flowers thrown by nature’s own hands under a rock; or that green pleasance, the overhanging rock wearing a grassy knoll as though it was its cap and the bend that indicated the interminable character of the land. The present work also seems to be the gift of a journey, particularly the linear drawings depicting architectural rhythms of the dwellings of hill folk in Himachal Pradesh. The notable thing is that without bringing in the human folk the young artist manages to suggest the typical ambiance of life rhythms that inhabit these structures, reflecting both its openness and warmth and closeness. The impressive landscapes are those (No.1) where the young artist captures the land, sky and atmosphere in states of unison. As a compositional necessity the terrain is always given a slanting incline with the densities of colour below serving as anchors to the airy handling and mixing of colours above, soulfully suggestive of the scene without declaring the intent. It is in the landscape in which he opens out the receding dimension as in No. 31 that the young artist’s control of line (mark the natural rhythm of trees) and eye for the environment (the gentle yellow on grey) which looks on land from yet another angle becomes noticeable. Where the sky is not attempted, atmosphere is achieved, but the parting of the land and sky would require the middle area to be infused with life to invest whole space with the compactness of a vision.
K. L. Kaul
The Statesman, New Delhi. July 19, 1994
Animesh Roy is best in his mixed media with brownish monumental subjects. His watercolours are pleasant. Roy’s acrylics are dexterous but less animated.
The Times of India, New Delhi. October 11, 1994
Recreating the Ambiance
Animesh Roy’s display of drawings and paintings demonstrate his evolution as an artist within the basic genre of realistic landscape paintings. The artist is open to experiment, both in terms of themes as well as colour. His earlier work was dominated by dark overtones, a product of his depiction of thick foliage and dense undergrowth. His recent works are concerned with light, its qualities and effect on the canvas. There is a fluidity in his works, missing before. The watercolour and acrylic landscapes range from the predictable to the innovative. Among the former are the kind with a hut on a mountain side among trees reflected into a lake. The delicate use of grey, pink and mauve for the sky and a bent figure competing against nature, however, save the painting from being banal and completely run-of-the-mill.
Far better are the studies of bamboo forests. The brown, swaying tree trunks, patches of green foliage over-laden with sienna, rust and umber lend it a feeling of richness that comes from the sun filtering through the clouds after a light shower. A similar painting in the exhibition explores the effect of light in early afternoon making for a bright, illuminating kind of work. Animesh’s drawings are much more structured and formal. The pen and ink drawings are in the main of Dagshai, a small township near Kasauli. The characteristic feature of these is the detailed line work and the careful composition of the drawing. The artist has sought to recreate the ambiance of a sleepy, peaceful and picturesque hill town, though his reluctance to put in figures renders it somewhat antiseptic.
The wooden architecture with long balconies, patterned masonry, sloping roofs are portrayed though a combination of cross hatching and solid strokes. The drawings are not just pictures, they are narratives of the particular piece of geographical space. One such work is that of a small dak bungalow that used to be the house of a Muslim landowner who moved to Pakistan after the Partition leaving behind not just the building, but a reminder of a culture we are losing. Perhaps the best work is a street scene with a row of wooden houses on one side.
The Pioneer, New Delhi. July 20, 1994
Avant Garde Consciously Avoided
Academy of Fine Art, Calcutta
Animesh’s forte is drawing. With minimal lines and extreme economy of detail he captures the spirit of the place and mood of the moment in the remote, bald, sparsely peopled towns and villages of Ladakh. His sure-handed quick execution registers a contemplative quiet.
His paintings too are nature-seascapes but are more concerned with the expressiveness of colour and space. He succeeds most when he handles his paint as he lays line in the drawings. Most engaging are the acrylics such as Sunlit Path, Left Blooming Alone, The Stream.
The Telegraph, Calcutta. 10 November 1995
Two Artist Show, Academy of Fine Art, Calcutta
This exhibition will be remembered for the pen and ink drawing by Animesh Roy.
These small drawing of monastery life in Leh and Thicksay created the atmosphere with the greatest of economy. Animesh Roy has an excellent sense of the balance between black and paper space so essential to pen and ink studies and his drawing must have been a delight for art students in Calcutta. This artist also exhibited a series of small acrylic studies of nature that involved the eye with textures and chromatic harmony. Animesh Roy proved that it is still possible to paint from the heart and make simplicity the keynote of art.
The Statesman, Calcutta. November 17, 1995
A Traveller’s Palette
Sophia Duchense Gallery, Mumbai
Dnyaneshwar Nadkarni is impressed by the lucidity of debutant Animesh Roy’s drawings and paintings
Animesh Roy makes a striking debut on Saturday at the Sophia Duchesne art gallery. Roy graduated in Fine Arts from the Delhi College of Art in 1990. He has had three solo shows in the Capital. One of them was devoted to the theme Travels With a Donkey. This is the title of a work of legendary Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson. “He is a special favourite of mine”, says Roy, better informed regarding literature and cinema than the average painter. The lucidity of his drawings and paintings at the Sophia matches this intellectual alertness.
Roy has also participated in group shows in Calcutta and New Delhi. He also enjoys travelling. Many of his drawings create vivid images of Ladakh and Leh in the Himalayan region. Roy’s drawings Young Lama. Thicksay and various monasteries and other places betray an expert hand at work.The paintings comprise landscape as well as naturescapes. Roy wields a brisk palette, using more than one medium. These paintings portray a world different from that of the drawings. Roy is right to adopt a realistic manner in the drawings and an impressionist one in the paintings. In the paintings he works with texture and light, unloosening forms in a natural manner. The Fall is one of his finest paintings. It evokes the downward descent of a big cataract in a powerful movement. The Lane in acrylic is another important painting. And the expressionist In Unison displays a probable side of the painter’s psyche.
On the whole this is a show that reflects a rich mind — and one which projects both youth and intensity.
The Pioneer, Friday, Mumbai. September 20, 1996
Lucid Landscapes, Sophia Duchense Gallery, Mumbai
Animesh Roy’s intensity invests his paintings with a kind of symbolism
Animesh Roy of Delhi makes his debut at the Sophia Duchense Gallery with drawings and paintings.
In his solo shows held earlier, one of his most interesting works was ‘Travels with a donkey’. “That is a title from Robert Louis Stevenson, one of my favourite writers,” says Roy, well-read and well-versed in not just art, but other cultural subjects as well. These were drawings of Ladakh done in pen and ink. A comparable show was ‘On the road’ consisting of paintings in acrylic. Roy is also adept at water colour; and the evidence of this is the current exhibition.
He has also shown his work with other artists. In 1991, his water colour was selected by M F Husain for display at New Delhi’s Vadehra Art Gallery. Not only are there lucid landscapes in the show, but also vigorously expressionist works such as ‘In union’. There are quite a few delineations of cataracts. The intensity of these views invests them with a kind of symbolism. Add to these the excellent drawings of the northern Himalayan region, and you have a winner in your hand.
Mid-Day, Mumbai. Wednesday, September 25, 1996
A Peek Into "A Traveller's Palette" Open Palm Court Gallery, New Delhi
He doesn't believe in creating artistic impressions sitting in a studio. Instead, artist Animesh Roy travels to various interesting places across the country to derive inspiration from nature and topography. At present Animesh's exhibition -- appropriately titled "A Traveller's Palette" -- done in oil and acrylic on canvas as well as pen and ink on paper is on at Open Palm Court Gallery here.
Revealing that he had been travelling to the Himalayan belt for the past ten years to create a body of works for the ongoing exhibition, Animesh says: "I have travelled extensively across Leh, Ladakh, Kullu, Sikkim, Uttaranchal, Bhutan and Nepal to do on-the-spot sketches and paintings."
The artist has also depicted Indian farmlands by showcasing geometrical designs in agricultural land that can be of any northern State of the country. "I have also tried to show the different topography of our country," adds Animesh, whose last exhibition was way back in 1996 in Mumbai.
After passing out from the Delhi College of Art (1986-1990) as a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Animesh's pieces of art in drawings and paintings (water colour, acrylic, mix media and pen and ink) were showcased at a solo exhibition at Sophia Duchesne Art Gallery in Mumbai in 1996. His pen-and-ink drawings of Ladakh were displayed at an exhibition titled "Travels with a Donkey" in New Delhi. At Triveni Gallery his paintings and drawings were displayed in 1994. He has also participated in various group shows in the Capital's All-India Fine Arts and Culture Society, M.E.C. Art Gallery and Vadehra Art Gallery.
The Hindu, New Delhi, Thursday, Oct 19, 2006
Travelling for inspiration
“I don’t pretend that I paint because I want to say something or convey a message. So, please don’t read any hidden meanings into my paintings. I paint because I like to portray the happier side of life — beautiful landscapes, for example — because I think that there are enough artists painting the morbid side.”
“I love to travel because that’s where the so-called inspiration comes, so I hope to travel more, paint and be generally happy.”
Animesh Roy, Excerpt from a press interview. 1992
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Wherein you will find reviews of my work by leading Art Critics from India.