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Artist of the Day | Anandajit Ray

Anandajit Ray - Untitled

Anandajit Ray


Dry Pastel on paper

27 x 19 in


Born in Kolkata in 1965, Anandajit Ray completed his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in painting from the Faculty of Fine Arts at M. S. University, Baroda, in 1989 and 1991 respectively.

Ray works in controlled formats which recall genres as diverse as the miniature and the comic strip. This creates a hybrid which is laborious in rendering but irreverent in content, drawing as it does on areas of adolescence which create avenues of escape from a potentially dreary reality, and whose desires are projected and materialized through the popular media. The underlying narrative, continuous or splintered as the case may be, defies a literal readability in spite of the very specific images which constitute it, relying instead on a visual logic where an image is what it is rather than what it could stand for. It represents a unity which is connective rather than whole.

The artist's diverse oeuvre, including miniaturist works in gouache, cut up paintings rearranged as visual puzzles, and large sculptural installations, is animated by a sense of the surreal. There is the simultaneous exploration of the mundane and the phantasmal, the ridiculous and the horrific. The seduction and intimacy offered by these works, far from being repellent, actually invite acquisition by providing a perfect frame for private fantasy. Ray calls himself a ‘surface painter’, subscribing to an enjoyment which does not presume to judge. Incidents of illogical violence scattered over the surface of a painting therefore metamorphose into decorative detailing, finding complete acceptance in our minds.

Ray’s works have been exhibited in solo shows at Gallery Espace, New Delhi, in 2007 and 2003; Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai, in 2004, 2000, 1998, 1994 and 1993; Nazar Art Gallery, Baroda, in 1999; and Eicher Gallery, New Delhi, in 1995. His works have also been part of many group exhibitions including ones at the Gallery in Cork Street, London, in 2007; ArtsIndia, New York, in 2005; Gallerie 88, Kolkata, in 2003; Manchester Art Gallery, London, in 2002; and Kunsthalle Wein, Vienna, in 2002. In 1995, Ray was invited to participate in the Bangladesh Biennale. In 1999, he received the Sanskriti Award from the Sanskriti Foundation in New Delhi, and in 1991 he was honoured with an Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation grant. The artist lives and works in Baroda.

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