Many artists, across the world, do landscape portraitures, but works akin to that of Bikash Poddar are hard to find.
This 58-year-old artist’s watercolours merge into one another, like waves of the sea and hues of the dawn, envisioning a world in the middle of tumult, destruction and yet rising again, literally doomsday on paper, but with the seeds of rebirth.
Bikash Poddar, born in Bengal but residing in Delhi, is known as one of the foremost landscape artists in India at this time.
What makes his paintings exceptionally fascinating and unique is the use of the Japanese Wash Technique, whereby a special paper is first washed with a light colour and then stronger colours used to create features of landscapes, objects and human figures on them.
Originating from Chinese and Japanese calligraphic art, legendary artists like Gaganendranath Tagore of the Bengal School, are famed to have first adapted it in India; but due to the complexity involved, not too many painters practise it today.
Bikash, who graduated from the Government College of Art in Kolkata in Applied Art, has taken decades to perfect the technique. He says, “My art is inspired by nature.
These include the sceneries of my hometown - the hilly Kaliyaganj in north Bengal, seas and the countryside. Vast expanses of blue, green and angry red skies incite me to draw them out on canvas.”
“It has taken me a while to grasp the technique. When you attempt to apply colour on a wet piece of paper, it spreads out in all directions.
You have to patiently master the art of channelising them as per your wish and imagination.
For someone who practises Wash technique, the brush stroke has to be as precise as a sword - clean and impactful. The results come out beautifully as you can see them on the canvas,” he adds.
Bikash Poddar’s tumultuous seas, boats mirroring in river water, trees caught in stormy fury and thatched huts melting into a rural background, bear the stamp of his genius.
One does not need to locate the signature to know that it’s a Bikash Poddar.
Catch his works at Gallerie Ganesha, GK II, where they are now on exhibition, till May 11.