Penetrating Silences and Spaces
Ritendra Roy’s work evokes a desire to enter into the world beyond the painting, to try and penetrate the silence that engulfs the vast spaces in his canvases. Like Alice, the viewer seems to fall into his painting, trying to navigate the magical places/ spaces that lead towards a doorway at the far end. Beyond the doorway lie secrets; concealed, mysterious and beckoning; compelling in their illusory elusiveness. In Roy’s oeuvre on display, one can see three main thematic streams; architectonic, narrative and lyrical, however, they are united by treatment, texture and colour.
The built environment, suggestive of interior and facades of architectural endeavors, can be seen at times interacting sometimes with the natural spaces. The works are marked by repetitive patterns that form symmetries of space, balancing the various elements in the composition. There are pathways, stairs going up and coming down, pyramidical halls and walls dividing the spaces, suggestive perhaps of freedom, ether and eternity.
Though one can see familiar design elements such as arches, stairwells, chequered floors and the like, these are not real structural entities but reconstructed elements that have been distilled from aggregated and varied visual experiences. One such work, painted in monochromatic shades of grays, is imbued with serenity and calmness, evocative of an oasis that a person seeks especially at the time of personal and emotional crisis and disturbance.
His concerns all along have been in trying to engage in a visual dialogue between the interpretation and explorations of different paradigms of landscape, both internal and external. In many of the works, the human, with concomitant conflict, tension and emotional upheavals is suggested, rather than manifest, through silhouettes, objects of use, and parts of human bodies. Often he inserts a human figure to create a narrative within the architectural environment. This personage may be the artist himself, or people he relates to, who like him are in search of order and identity.
The natural world while being implicit in many of his works becomes the dominant concern in some. Such work contains a latent lyricism in them. Single objects are the focus of his smaller works on rice paper; here there is a trace of whimsy, where disparate items are juxtaposed to each other.
Roy’s paintings are characterized by symmetrically aligned strong colours that have been subdued by texture that instill a degree of density in most works. This density is relieved by a web of textured, marbled surfaces that overlays the solids, breaking the geometrical planes with poetic patterns. The textures resemble swirls, seen in textiles or metamorphic rocks, creating a sense of continuum in these painting of nature in the form of time, eternal rippling water as well as weft and warp of the fabric, suggesting human intervention.
The selection on view communicates to the viewer a sense of visual equilibrium; signifying accumulation of emotional experience as an underlying sub-strata. The narratives are those of silence and there is a presence in absence where the silence itself is not a mere absence but a throbbing yet calm poignant presence.
Dr. Seema Bawa
Ritendra Roy (born 11th March, 1972, U.S.A) received his training in art from two heritage institutions based in West Bengal. He earned his Bachelor’s from Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata in 1997, and subsequently his Master’s from Visva Bharati, Santiniketan in 1999. After having a meritorious career as a top-grade student of Painting he then caught the attention of the discerning observers of the art scene through his numerous expositions as a professional. His imaginative faculty and technical virtuosity have brought him recognition through notable Awards and Scholarships from the Government and different Institutions. Along with his practical experiments he has demonstrated considerable interest in research activities and teaching assignments and has contributed articles on art. His works are now in various collections and continue to evoke much interest among art lovers. He is a resident of Kolkata.