From acrylics and oil on canvas to pen and pencil on board, from intricate city landscapes to serene depictions of Buddha, Amit Bhar has captured diverse aspects of life in his paintings in breathtaking perfection. Born in 1973 in the town of Chinsurah on the banks of the Hooghly River in West Bengal, Bhar knew from childhood that art was his true calling in life. Like music flowing from an instrument, art flowed from his hands into his school notebooks that ended up being filled with more paintings and sketches than class work. Dancing to the rhythms of pencil lines and brush strokes, art became the primary objective of his life.
Surrounded by a wealth of inspiration in nature – clear blue skies, ample greenery and the mesmerizing water of the Hooghly – coupled with an unhurried life in the village, Amit was able to unite with his environment and transform its beauty into his art from an early age. As he entered his adolescent years as a young artist, Amit was blessed with the guidance of Shri Paresh Das, a noted artist and gold medalist during his time at the Calcutta Govt. Art College. Further along his journey on the path to developing his unique style, he learnt a lot under the famous Subal Jana and Niloy Ghosh, who together enriched his gift. He was also greatly inspired by Bikash Bhattacharya and Suhas Roy during this initial period.
Over his career, Bhar has painted various series of paintings pertaining to a wide variety of themes and subjects but all tinted with an inimitable imprint of his style. His popular series on Buddha, which instinctively instills a calm in the viewer, was inspired by the images of Ajanta paintings and Gandhara sculptures. His Rajasthan series of art appearing like photographic collages captures the scenes of puppets and musicians and the colourful folklore of Rajasthan, leaving a lasting memory akin to having visited the place in person.
Cities Coming Alive
Being present in the moment and observing details that comprise the basic fabric of the tangible world around us is an infinitely rewarding art that Amit Bhar has mastered. The reality that exudes from his paintings, making the observers feel as if they are looking out of a window, onto scenery or a landscape, can only be manifested onto the canvas once it is absorbed through the eyes of the artist.
The most telling example of this is Bhar’s series on Benaras, which breathes life into the canvas by portraying the mystical beauty of the holy river and the multitude of humanity that arrives at its banks in the search for spiritual awakening. The ghats, the antique architectural elements of the temples and buildings, the reflection of life at the edge of the water, all create an immersive setting that draws a person into a state of contemplation.
Mastering the Female Form
Bhar’s Women Series of paintings reveal the exquisiteness of feminine beauty draped in the purity of white sarees with an orange and red border in minimalistic natural surroundings of water bodies, birds and flowers. Bearing a unique connection to the sights and sounds of his childhood, the quiet rustic beauty of the countryside, the quintessential daily chores of villagers, all reminisce to his early influences of West Bengal.
The white cloth rendered translucent after being soaked in water, spotless skin glistening with droplets, each fold of the fabric magnificently brought to life by shadows and creases created by the curves of the female form executed to perfection, all create a visual that is hard to take one’s eyes off. It is not just the woman in focus but the other subtle complimentary elements on the canvas too that relate a tale rich in traditional rituals, mythical reverie and historical environments.
Amit’s paintings, be it watercolors, sketches or acrylics and oil, are characterized by the play of natural light and shadow that gradually melts in one’s consciousness. He creates a scintillating effect in many of his works on Lord Ganesha and Mother Teresa by intertwining a minute intricate texture into the larger portrait. It seems as if a number of smaller artworks have coalesced together to create a bigger theme. He speaks of his style as “…a new semi-realistic technique of texturing with the realistic play of light and shade”.
From his diverse set of works, Amit has truly proved that there is no subject that he cannot render in pristine beauty on his canvas. His paintings blur the boundary between illusion and reality, mundane and the spiritual, waking and dreaming.