It has not been a while since I came across an artist, whose work I liked. But it has indeed been a while since I felt moderately magnanimous to post about one. It is a syndrome with a name. It is called self-engrossment (see how gross it is just by how it sounds!). There are few necessary ingredients such as collecting some snaps of the artwork, selecting the best few – or at least the ones I like the best (unless it is someone like Tejas, who paints three beautiful canvases and goes back to Mathematics), but most of all finding a free day, when I actually feel that I have some time for people other than myself, whew!
Soutick Saha is an undergraduate student at the Chennai Mathematical Institute (CMI), in the department of Physics. I met him about a year ago in at a short art-appreciation course. It was one of those hardcore gatherings, where participants including myself determinededly and what is scarier very sincerely listened, chewed, learned, indigested, discussed and spat art all over the space. Soutick, with his many questions shot at the speaker with grave unstoppability, chilled my teeth to the roots within the first half an hour of the first session. But then in a few days I saw his paintings.
Of course this painting is called the divine love and what else can it be, but I will not hold that against it. The medium is oil pastel and soft pastel (and before I confirmed with the artist, I was thinking it was acrylic – so much for my artistic knowledge!).
Are they not beautiful? The one in the right – I think is my favourite! Take a look at his Buddhas too.
Among the works of Soutick that I saw I felt that paint is the right medium for him, or at least he is definitely more comfortable with it. But he has a way with pen drawings too and among many of his drawings this is the one I thought I quite enjoyed:
He has a set of thickly lined, serene but quite emotional pastel landscapes that verge towards the abstract. Some of these I liked instantly and some took a bit of time but eventually grew into me and I finally decidedly to consider myself lucky that I went to attend that art-course.
Some of the sculptures that he came up with for the Techno-fest at his institute this year impressed me a lot:
I did not notice it before, but his pen drawings indeed look similar to his wiry sculptures and while he has these lovely eggs in his installation, his drawings are full of birds and in fact even an egg as seen in the one above. May be there is a network of lines and ellipses within the so called right side of his brain, connecting his sculptures with his ink-marks. I would not mind at all to see some more work in this direction establishing this (equally probably non-existent) connection more strongly!
Now that I have got an opportunity to have a bet with myself about which style he is going to excel at, I hope Soutick starts to go deeper into the painful dilemma of how to keep his art alive along with his research in science. I hope that I get to win or lose instead of the deed going stale over the coming years.