Anutosh, painterreviews cv

Seeing a couple of Anutosh's recent paintings inspired me to ask myself a question: how would they work together in a space where – except for these – no other art was to be seen? And if all the works would be placed horizontally, close together and in line? The example that came to mind to help my imagination was – of course – the room in the orangerie at the Louvre in Paris, where Monet’s water lilies are the only works on display. This is a world of apparent sensory perception – water lilies, water, light – contrary to what Anutosh's paintings evoke. But in his case it would be a world as well, a unity that would surround the viewer in all its various manifestations.

To be perfectly clear: we only get to see a glimpse of this unity in each painting. However large these canvasses are, the world they bring into our line of sight always exceeds the limits of the painting. A section, a fragment or a scrap is all that can be captured within the margins – as is shown by the many shapes that are cut off by the edge of the painting. Yet at the same time, these very cut off shapes evoke a certain limitlessness, as a fragment of cloudy sky does when it is blocked out by a window frame. This evocation is supported by the depth of the layers in the image. That which is happening within our view is indeed situated in a world where forms can move freely, like fish in the undivided expanse of the sea. Sometimes these forms are very sculptured and can therefore exist only in a three-dimensional space, or it turns out that they are able to contain a whole architecture of colourful surfaces within themselves. So even the eye of the viewer can go on a journey there, lured on through and along the prospects of a landscape where he has never been before.

However, the picture does not in any way want us to forget that we are looking at a piece of painting. Among other things, this means a length of linen daubed with paint and – therefore – a flat surface. There is no need for the eye to allow itself to be deceived, because the painter has laid his cards on the table. It is the paint as such, both in the ways it behaves as a substance and in the contrasts between those behaviours, that creates a feeling of space; in some places it is the brushstrokes themselves that create the sculptural effect, and the colours as such that transport us to other worlds. And whatever realities are evoked by the forms that pass before our eyes – one viewer will see creatures of the deep sea, another a world of micro-organisms, the third the mushrooms of an autumnal forest – in the end, most of them are not really depicted at all.

Paradoxically, while the paintings are concrete or purely abstract, very few people will think of them as a mere play of forms. The paradox has to do with Anutosh's fascination with painting as a world of visual and tactile possibilities, with that which can be evoked and achieved with paints and brushes alone and with mere colour and form. In one painting he may use – for instance – both brushes and spray cans; forms and touches both carefully placed or brought about by coincidence; transparency and opacity of pigments and colours side by side and overlapping each other.

But this as well is the cause of those spacious effects and the suggestion of crawling life. For Anutosh is also a person who keeps his eyes open, who has travelled extensively and who has absorbed a lot of information. Moreover he has formed a world view in which the forces of nature and spirit have a prominent place. His drawings in particular reveal that he is blessed with an imagination that needs very little encouragement to blossom exuberantly. Of all this, more than enough ends up in the paintings, which are also explorations into the possibilities of painting.

What is true painting? To me it is painting which establishes its legitimacy using its own means and yet succeeds in depicting something else, something personal. In short, the sort of painting of which Anutosh's is an example – and an excellent one at that.

Hans Sizoo