A Dialogue with the Canvas
“I am always in the role of a painter. I have a filter and see objects as lines and structure”, says Pune-based artist Raju Sutar who has experimented with a spectrum of mediums from oils to acrylic, water colours, tempera, dry pastels, charcoals, pencil and ink over the past 35 years. Recalling his love for drawing since childhood, Raju says he would mimic numbers and alphabets even before he was two years old, an attribute that had his father enrol him in an English school where he was admitted to Class I right away for his awareness of the alphabet!
Formal Education and Beyond
A chance meeting with an art school teacher who saw Raju’s paintings on ply boards at his father’s carpentry unit, had the teacher invite him to the school where he was fascinated by art and the pursuit of learning art. Yet, much before he enrolled in a G. D. Art (Drawing and Painting), Abhinav Kala Mahavidyala, Pune, in 1987, he worked on posters, screen-printed cards, decorations of Ganesh pandals, and 3-D drawings for his father.
At art school even as he learnt formal drawing and painting, Raju spent hours in the library studying artworks and reading on art history, great masters and modernists. He was particularly inspired by the spontaneous work, in an abstract expressionist style, of American artist Jackson Pollock. And keen to develop his expression, he travelled to Mumbai to meet with artists and had enriching interactions with them specially M.F. Husain, Prabhakar Barwe and Akbar Padamsee.
A Mirror of Oneself
Bringing his love and learning to the canvas Raju says painting is about developing a dialogue with the canvas. “As I start to paint, a few imaginary lines appear on the canvas. As I bring one to life, others seem to appear. One stroke leads to another. There is no need for a pre-determined concept or research. It is simply you and your space. The process of painting is a very intimate experience and journey”. Having studied both European and Indian art (classical and tribal), Raju brings an Indian perspective into his work. “My work appears more like modern abstract whereas the approach is Indian”.
Yet over the years he has simplified his expression, “removing unwanted lines and unwanted spaces, and enjoying the journey as one situation transforms into another”. Raju believes there are two vital aspects to a painting- its structure and its line. “The structure is the skeleton and soul of an art work. It holds the work. Once it is complete, each line can be added organically to drape it. Every dot and line should develop a work, complement and be connected to the others in the work”.
As Raju paints, line, colour, texture, form and space engage him, and they slowly assemble to create a work. He believes colour is paramount in creating a mood in a work, and painstakingly works layer upon layer in his oil paintings till he is satisfied with the colour saturation that suffuses the works with a glow. In recent years he has been drawn to a circular format for painting as he finds it challenging and exciting to work within a circle; he has created several works akin contemporary style ganjifas (traditional Indian playing cards). And as viewers may have different interpretations of his works, he believes an artist’s work is infact a scanned image of himself. “Everything shows in your canvas, even if you are trying to hide something it shows. In a true work of art there is no pretence”.
- Brinda Gill
Born on 24th October 1971, at Pune.
Speaks Marathi, English & Hindi.
A well-read man with strong personal convictions, passed out of the Abhinav Kala Mahavidyalay, in 1992, specializing in Portraits.
First Exhibition conducted in 1990, Abstract Paintings rendered in Oil on Canvas.
Exhibitions participated in to date include:
2011 ‘The Unquenchable Road’ an art Installation at Waves Art Gallery, Pune, 7th Jan. to 15th Jan. 2011.
2010 ‘The Game of Fortune' an exhibition at Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum, Pune and Waves Art Gallery, Pune, 24th Oct. to 31st Oct. 2010.
2010 ‘Rendering Ajanta' an exhibition at Waves Art Gallery, Pune, 27th Aug. to 4th Sept. 2010, with Dibakar Das, Mayura Khot, Snehal Kulkarni, Vaishali Oak.
2010 ‘Sunrise Yellow: Homage to Vincent Van Gogh' an exhibition at Waves Art Gallery, Pune, 30th Mar. to 7th Apr. 2010, with Dhanashree Gosavi, Dibakar Das, Meenal Bhawsar, Santosh Shirsat, Vaishali Oak.
2010 'Calendar 2010' an exhibition at Waves Art Gallery, Pune, 8th Jan. to 16th Jan. 2010, with Anjali Moghe, Dibakar Das, Dilip Mitra, Jamini Roy, Jogen Chowdhury, K. G. Subramanyam, Nanda Dulal Mukherjee, Shrinivas Mehetre, Sujit Roy Burman, Taposhi Ghoshal, Vaishali Oak.
2009 ‘Tribute to Tyeb' a group painting at Waves Art Gallery, Pune, 2nd July to 15th July, Group of artists from Pune
2009 ‘Contemporay Drawings I' an exhibition at Waves Art Gallery, Pune, 6th Feb to 14th Feb 2009 with Jamini Roy, ,Jogen Chowdhury, Sunil Das, ,Laxma Gaud, Nandudulal Mukherjee, Dilip Mitra, Ashok Bhowmik,Shuvprasanna.
2009 'Calendar 2009' an exhibition at Waves Art Gallery, Pune, 2nd Jan to 10th Jan 2009 with T Vaikuntham, Shahbuddin Ahmed, Haku Shah, Paritosh Sen, Shuvprasanna, Akbar Padamsee, K G Subramanyam, M F Husain, Vaishali Oak, Jogen Chowdhury, S H Raza.
2008 ‘Suzlon: One Earth’ worked as an art consultant on the global corporate house by Suzlon, executed several large size art installations in various media by several artists from all over the country.
2007 'Selective Reality’ duo exhibition at Ravindra Bhavan, Lalit kala Akademi, New Delhi 15th to 21st Jan. 2007
2006 'Abstract 06' Group Show (four artists), Artspace India, 14th oct. to 28th oct. 2006, Kolkata, India.
2005 "Deccan Contemporary" Group Show, artists from Pune, 30th dec. 2005 to 5th jan. 2006, Ravindra Bhavan, New Delhi
2005 "Shiva" (from the series: In conversation with Ellora) an exhibition of Drawings, Waves art Gallery, 18th to 27th November 2005, Pune.
2005 “Shishir 05” an exhibition of paintings by various young artists from the city of Pune,at Sudarshan art gallery, Pune 17th January 2005. The show was visited by eminent artist S.H. Raza.
2004 “LCM” an exhibition of miniature size contemporary art by various artists from India, at Kamalnayan Bajaj Art Gallery, Mumbai, PART I 23rd August to 1st September 2004.
2004 “Drawings” an exhibition of drawings in India ink and acrylic on brown paper, At Waves Art Gallery, 24th July 2004, Pune.
2004 “Magnetism” a group exhibition by Vaishali Oak, Anjali Gobel and Raju Sutar, At Waves Art Gallery, 31st January 2004, Pune.
2003 “Art for Cause” exhibition of paintings to raise the funds for various cause, organized by Lions Club of Poona Kirkee Foundation, March 2003, Pune.
2003 “Âmrüt – Ânubhâvã” exhibition of paintings from the series called “I am that”, Gallery Art-scapes, Sun-n-Sand, Pune, July 2003.
2002 "Art at Basho" an exhibition of paintings at Cafe Basho, Koregaon Park, Pune in November 2002.
2002 "Waking in the night" an exhibition of paintings based on a haiku by 17th Century Japanese poet BashoMatsua at Cafe Basho, Koregaon Park, Pune in October 2002.
2001 “Van Gogh Picasso Studies” an exhibition at Studio S, Pune
2001 “æxhibition of City Scapes” an Artists Documentation of Architectural heritage using Dry Pastel on Paper
2000 “Old Face of New City” an Artists Documentation of Pune using Dry Pastel on Paper at Café Sunrise, Pune.
1999 “Art for Kargil” in aid of Kargil Victims along with M.F. Husain at Holiday Inn, Pune.
1998 “Art for Sustainable World” in the Aid of Narmada Bachao Aandolan held at Balgandharva kala dalan, Pune.
1998 “Art Exhibition” in the aid of Concern India Foundation at Holiday Inn Pune.
1998 “Give & Take India-Holland” exchange exhibition by and at Gallery 'ARTIMIDIAIR' The Hague, Holland.
1998 “Festival of Paintings” a group show of 12 artists spanning 6 months 2 artists a month at Café Sunrise, Pune.
1997 “India at 50” a show of Water Colors and Acrylic on Canvas, inspired by the Indian Flag, conducted on the occasion of 50th of Independence, at Ravindra Kala Kunj Pune.
1997 “Café Sunrise” an on-going exhibition at a Landmark Café in Pune.
1996 “Art Preview” organized by Lions Club Pune Parvati, at Royal Western India - Turf Club.
1995 "Rashtriya Kala Mela" at Bangalore.
1992 Participated in a Workshop for Preservation and Restoration of Art, by INTACH Lucknow at Pune University.
1990 “Four Dimensions” A Show of a Quartet of Artists from Pune, at Bal Gandharva Kaladalan, Pune.
2006 Conducted Workshop, for students of architecture, Aug. 2006, Sinhagad institute of architecture, Pune.
2005 Conducted Workshops, for various groups, Pune.
2004 Conducted Workshops, for various groups, Pune.
2003 Conducted Workshop, followed by an exhibition for under privileged children, 24th Nov. 2003, Waves art Gallery, Pune.
2002 Conducted Workshops and presentation at the Picasso Metamorphosis organized by NGMA & Soulkurry.com National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai in the year 2002.
1998 Involved in conceptualization of Indiaart.com – an ambitious On-line Art Gallery.
1996 “Diamond Ring” one of India's largest ‘Acrylic on canvas’ paintings at Gera Plaza Pune.
1996 “Aadhuree” a 15 Min. 11 Sec video assemblage dedicated to 100 years of Cinema & M. F. Husain. This was an innovative attempt to express “Art Phases” in 1996.
1995 “McBull at Motherland” a video about the visit of the eminent painter M. F Husain to his birth town Pandharpur in 1995.
1994 “Bull Head” A Steel Scrap Sculpture for the Pune Municipal Corporation Size 16' x 20' x 18', 1994
1993 “Informals Contemporary Art Activities” Group Paintings at various Public Locations in Pune during 1993.
“Homage to Miro” Dimension of Canvas 3' x 15'
“Breathe Art for Peace” on Mumbai Bomb Blasts 6' x 30'
“Pune Heritage” along with M. F. Husain on the opening of the Pune Festival 6' x 45'
1991 Art Direction for a Marathi Telefilm "Geet Gaate Indrayani" in 1991.
1991 “Homage to Picasso” a Live Group-Painting to celebrate the 110th Birthday of Pablo Picasso at a Saras Baug, a public Garden & Temple in Pune. Canvas Dimensions 5' x 5', 25th October 1991.
Acclaim & Recognition:
Junior Fellowship by Govt. of India, Ministry of HRD, Dept. of Culture in the field of Visual Art for 1997-99.
Bronze Medal in the All India Exhibition of Art at Ambala Cantonment in 1990.
Certificate of Merit for Creative Composition in 1989.
*Stopped Sending to art competitions since 1993
Lives and works in Pune:
B 204, Parmar Trade Centre,
Sadhu Vaswani Chowk,