NIGHT FOREST

by Team ACF
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Art Alive Gallery presents eminent artist Chandra Bhattacharjee’s recent series of works titled ‘Night Forest’. Following the contours and characteristics of current ecological crisis for the last three years, the artist in the current collection looks as a painter who took Photography as his tool to observe the environment and painted diligently what he observed. Chandra’s oeuvre is a dense amalgamation of fine strokes and intense gaze into the forest landscapes only to return back with elements of human interventions that either erases it or shocks the viewer with bright yet subtle forms appearing and disappearing on the surface. The minimalistic treatment of his subject with a keen eye on the surrounding that remains empty opens with a burst of fire in the dark of the jungle.

Chandra Bhattacharjee’s recent paintings take the form of mysterious nocturnes: evocations of the forest at night, a forest in retreat at the edge where urban life meets and exerts its expansionist pressure on the natural world. In these paintings – most of them rendered in a rich spectrum of greys calibrated between pearl white and charcoal black, with occasional undertones of lignite, sepia and indigo – we come upon vegetation that has been rendered translucent, deer whose eyes gleam in the glare of intrusive headlights, and strange neon batons, reflections of metropolitan lighting that float in and out of glades and thickets that, we fear, will soon pass from the wilderness to the realm of construction.

In the extraordinarily moving works gathered to form Night Forest, Chandra Bhattacharjee brings us face to face with the wasteland of a future that we have engineered for ourselves.

Complementing his work as a painter within the walls of his studio is his ongoing, out-of-studio photographic practice. He finds himself trying to capture, or condense, in his lens, the vastness of the land. His photographs are large-scale, mostly long shots, yet habit inevitably draws him to nature’s smallest elements and consequently into the details. To internalize the life of every petal and veinlet, beak and bruise, bark, fork of twig is like being sucked into a heightened world. Nothing is trivial in this landscape.

The onslaught on nature seeps into spaces of his mind that he never knew existed. This keenness has become a part of his body. The acrid windpipe, the twisted eyes are continuations of what he sees and feel around himself. His sore skin is the unstoppable fragility of the exposed flower. The glint of alien light that refracts from neon residues of growth stories blinds him momentarily. He just give minimal visual shape to these feelings and forms at times literally, at times metaphorically.

“Chandra Bhattacharjee’s recent paintings take the form of mysterious nocturnes: evocations of the forest at night, a forest in retreat at the edge where urban life meets and exerts its expansionist pressure on the natural world. In these paintings – most of them rendered in a rich spectrum of greys calibrated between pearl white and charcoal black, with occasional undertones of lignite, sepia and indigo – we come upon vegetation that has been rendered translucent, deer whose eyes gleam in the glare of intrusive headlights, and strange neon batons, reflections of metropolitan lighting that float in and out of glades and thickets that, we fear, will soon pass from the wilderness to the realm of construction.”

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