Expressions of the soul by Samik De

Self-taught artist Samik De on his love for mythological stories and innate desire to give them a visual form.

The energy radiating from the paintings by self-taught artist Samik De is almost palpable and all-consuming. They are notable by splashes of solid and bright colours serving as a counterpoint to black and white images and patterns that are intricate in detail and subtle shades

For the Kolkata-based artist, though his work is influenced by Indian mythology, he does not treat them as gods and goddesses. Rather they all play certain characters on the canvas that guide us in our lives and portray facets of the human psyche in different life situations-freed from the burden of divinity.

This is what viewers will find, walking through Samik De’s solo painting exhibition presented by Sounak Chacraverti at Weaver’s Studio, Kolkata, which are an amalgamation of mythology and Samik’s perspective that explore expressive linear gestures, unique motions, and detailed textures.

His pieces attract and make one want to know more about it and where it’s going. “Since it is a window between me and the world, so I never let it block, every piece is open, where the viewer’s curiosity and imagination have the freedom to draw it further.”

Guided by his instincts 15 years ago, Samik— juggling the roles of a chartered accountant by profession and artist by passion — found expression through art. “While good stories have always fascinated me, it was actually art that gave me the scope to present my perspective to it. Experimenting with pen, charcoal, and acrylics, the 37-year-old has an affinity for simplicity and is quite visible in all his artworks.

Divided into four major categories, the exhibition of 35-40 paintings will manifest Samik’s hard work of 1.5 years. Talking about the essence of categories Samik says, “The first category will be theme based on mythological stories. The series of next 10 paintings will be about 10 major devis called Dasa Mahavidya. In this series, each devi symbolizes one particular sign and the prayer to achieve that is called sadhana, where the worshipper concentrates on that particular form of the divine mother to seek her blessings. While the third category concentrates on Shiv Shakti. The series of 6 paintings in same color scheme depicts Kali in union with Shiva in process of love-making. And the last series concentrates on the unusual anatomy of Krishna blended with Samik’s visual power.

For inspiration, Samik draws from mythology — ideas and connections buried in the subconscious that manifest on the canvas. As an avid observer, Samik loves to create an observational element in his art for the audiences too. And the most important one here is- ‘the moon’.  As he describes, “It conjures tremendous romantic connotations and I try to use it as leitmotif in my arts related to Krishna, as he is the ultimate embodiment of love and passion.”

Talking about the essence of exhibition Samik continues, “This is my way of expressing what I have inside. Each of my work is a gateway to further exploration that guides the onlooker to a new series of expressions.”

Solo exhibition of Samik De will be on display during January 10-14, 2018, 4 to 8 pm at the Weavers Studio Centre for Arts, 94 Ballygunge Place, Kolkata– 19