When human civilisation first started, man had an empty canvas. No one had every created anything on their own in this God gifted world. What initially began as a necessity, a protection against the wild and the foe, gradually developed into a culture, a society. Slowly human beings started to build houses that converted into localities, villages and then into cities. Some might say that cities are large structures made of cement and concrete but in the words of Desmond Morris, ‘The city is not a concrete jungle, it is a human zoo.’
Architects designed buildings and skyscrapers, they created iconic structures that were later preserved as historical monuments, each with its own identification, its own importance. Plato once rightly said, ‘This city is what it is because our citizens are what they are.’ A city gets its identity from its citizens, their nature, behaviour, how they treat and maintain their city. When we see cycle rickshaw we are instantly taken to the narrow allies of old Kolkata whereas the images of local trains transport us to Mumbai. To sum up, a city is made up of its residents, its buildings, the iconic monuments, the change one witnesses in the urban lives with the change in seasons. Purnendu Mandal captures such unique images of the cities and uses his brilliance and art to create a mesmerising painting on a canvas.
Background and Honours
Born in Malda District of West Bengal, on 10th January 1980, Purnendu Mandal is well known for painting cityscapes. As time passed, Mandal enhanced his visual expressions owing to his engagement and interactions with many contemporary artists. He graduated from Government College of Art & Craft, Kolkata, where he formally learnt and developed his art.
Over the years, Mandal has hosted 20 solo shows and 49 group art exhibitions at various national art galleries including the prestigious Jehangir Art Gallery, the reputable Lalitkala Akademi, Nehru Centre Art Gallery, Academy of Fine Arts, Chitra Kala Parishath at Bengaluru, along with international group art exhibitions in Abu Dhabi, Jakarta, Chicago and New York, London, Singapore, etc. Mandal’s work is a part of and adorns the walls of myriad art collectors, patrons, famous personalities, connoisseurs in India and abroad. Mandal has been honoured by many eminent awards including National level Gold Medal from Agnipath and Chaain Shilpi Ratna Award.
Art Form, Technique and Medium
While most artists limit themselves to a single medium, Mandal devised his ingenious artwork with a combination of acrylics and oil colours. He uses an advanced and distinctive roller and knife technique to create his own unique impressionism form. His distinguished understanding of art, accomplished use of various tools such as rollers, knives and brushes breaths life into his elaborate cityscapes that capture the intricate details of the urban lifestyle.
Purnendu Mandal’s colour palette is combination of vibrant and sober hues. Vivid shades of reds, oranges and darker shades of blues dominate Mandal’s paintings, greys, lighter shades of blues and ochres add a hint of subtlety to the cityscapes. The artist chooses his colours according to the city and the season. The sobering colours and lighter hues illustrate the building structure diminishing and blending into the horizon. This gives an additional dimension to the fascinating urban landscapes.
Cities As Muse And Latest Series
Mandal’s recent series ‘REFLECTION -2’ is a portrayal of Kolkata and other cities in their multifaceted glorious forms. Along with capturing the iconic and distinct features of each city, the artist also walks down the memory lane to create scenic cityscapes and brings back the nostalgic memories of the metropolitan life in Kolkata and other cities. Mandal, with his astute artwork and vibrant colours creates the impressionistic art to bring life to the different seasonal forms of urban lifestyle on canvas. He recreates the nightlife in the city, the happenings on a rainy day, the changes in lifestyle after rains, the effect of storms, the rickshaw pullers, etc. in his paintings, which is visible not only on the canvas, but also to the imaginative brains. Purnendu Mandal captures the minute details of the urban life in numerous cities including Kolkata. Using his enthralling techniques, he illustrates umbrella bearing people walking on the deserted streets, accompanied by the visual effects of monsoon such as rain drops, mist, wet and slippery roads, building mirror images in puddles.
Purnendu Mandal’s art and talent reflects on the canvas, similar to the reflection of city life on wet, damp streets. Both engrossing, dazzling and captivating.