Ashok Bhowmik Paintings - Artist Profile
Ashok Bhowmick was born and brought up in Kanpur, India. He graduated from Kanpur University in 1973 and received his Diploma in Fine Arts from the Government College of Arts and Crafts, Kolkata.
The cave paintings from Indus Valley Civilisation and Bronze Age, play an influential role in Ashok’s paintings. Ashok’s colour palette comprises of bright red, vivid blues, minty greens and subtle greys. He is a master cross-hatching artist, who first paints a single solid colour or a combination of two contrasting colours in the background and then paints his subjects. Though he uses solid blocks of colour in his paintings, he adds texture and a hint of interest, by painstakingly drawing numerous lines — also called as cross-hatching — in these paintings. The closer and denser lines add deep and dark shadows to the subjects and the sparse lines, create a lighter effect.
An artist relies on his artistic tools to bring out the beauty, intricacy and uniqueness of his works. For Ashok, this is even more important, because he has to use nibs that are especially designed for cross-hatching. Ordinary nibs — that are designed to write with— would break down easily while cross-hatching. They also have a much thicker stroke than the intricate lines seen in Ashok’s paintings. There are only a few remaining manufacturers of these nibs across the globe, which makes Ashok’s work even more challenging.
Animals, human beings, puppets and buildings often form an important part of Ashok’s paintings and ‘childhood memories’ is generally the central theme. Bull and birds, that frequent his paintings as subjects, depict the propinquity between the two animals. The bulls illustrate power and bird symbolises liberty. The artist, uses this symbiotic relationship to show that even though, on surface two might seem different, at deeper levels, opposites can harmoniously co-exist, that strength and weakness can complement each other.
Over his career, Ashok has received numerous awards including Governor’s Award, Calcutta, 1974. He has showcased his works in various group and solo exhibitions across the world. Ashok’s paintings are the part of many notable collections such as Ulemar Museum, Germany, Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi, The Modern Museum, San Francisco, National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi, etc.
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