Two Interviews with Sangram Majumdar

Veils, 2010

Sangram Majumdar has become one of my favorite contemporary painters! He works primarily from Nature and has managed to retain a beautiful balance between abstraction and representation. His work are “painterly” (characterized by qualities of color, stroke, and texture rather than of line), and this is quite admirable, considering most of his works are of stuff. Lots of stuff. I must say, I prefer his works involving the figure rather that close-up still lives of object chaos. However, even those paintings of “piles” are beautifully balanced pieces of hue and tone and form.

Here are two interviews with the artist. The first is conducted by the blog Painting Perceptions in 2009, and the second by Neoteric Art in 2008.

Here are few choice quotes from these interviews:
“Instead I think the language is kept more open, with visible pauses and breaks in the paint handling and materiality of the surface of the object. These passages are not planned but are a direct outcome of my working process – which is fairly basic – a decision is made, it is edited/rethought, and a new decision is made, sometimes parallel, other times contrary to the initial decision…Right or wrong, they are all right at the end of the day if the painting works.”
(2009)

“As, many artists have noted, what we see is intrinsically tied to our memory, and in many cases it is very telling of what we want to see. So, in that sense it is truly subjective, and only ‘true’ to our sense of truth.”
(2009)

“So, the decisions, the planning before or after the sessions from life are really important to tying it all together. The longer the work goes on, I paint more without any direct reference, and towards the end of the painting, I paint from life very little. However, it is not a full-proof system, so it’s really about what the painting needs.”
(2009)

“It’s not that I am against artifice – but the paintings can’t be artificial – they have to be real, in a physical sort of way – like a person is real. It has be a ‘living, breathing’ thing for me. I wanted a stronger, richer connection to the materiality and process. So, I stopped doing sketches more or less, and decided to make the painting the surface where everything would be worked out!”
(2009)

“For me it’s when suddenly we get a glimpse into the layers of history against a new, clean surface that excites me. Looking at and looking through, being aware of the surface and the process, become the two critical experiences that connect the past and the present for me. It’s why I paint.”
(2009)

” I think subject matter is has to be personal first. And if an artist relates to the work, the work will relate to others. Furthermore, the conversation I am most interested in, is the rich and varied history of works created by man that goes deep into the past, from the works in caves in Lascaux, or Altamira or Ajanta. For me that link is more crucial than the link to the newest fad or trends.”
(2008)

“The paintings are taking longer and longer, primarily because I am more and more convinced that a work of art is as tied to the image, as the physical object. This often means that certain paintings have multiple false, but necessary starts. The scale changes, panels are added or removed, or the composition is fully reworked. What I seek in the work is a sense of time and the range of human awareness and interest, from the sustained to the superficial. We never care or see something twice the same way. So, each time I look at my surface I try to take into account these tendencies. I don’t do studies anymore, partly because I don’t want to split up the “thinking” and the ‘making.'”
(2008)

Eclipsed, 2009

Presence, 2008
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