20 October, 2020

Portrait Of An Artist

Ram Kumar's sorrow-smeared oeuvre: a critique and reminiscence

Portrait Of An Artist
HIS book could turn a lay man into an art lover. The writing is crisp, meaningful and lucid and is uncluttered with critical jargon. The personality of Ram Kumar comes out vividly . The subterranean stream of his creativity and its subtly changing course as he gets on in years is transparent. And yet the converse is equally true. Ram Kumar indeed hides himself in his paintings, as Sham Lal tells us. His presence there is "so shy and unobtrusive as to come very near to an absence"

The reproductions are excellent, each stroke of the brush visible, as it were. The paintings exhale that air of muted tones, of silence rather than clamour, of introspection rather than dialogue. Yet there is a dialogue of sorts. A Varanasi cityscape seems to be lost in meditation and yet carries on a muted conversation with its own image in the still river.

Those who write about Ram Kumar write with abiding affection. He is that kind of a man. Sham Lal finds the word 'tragic' inappropriate for Ram Kumar. For the Indian it is the "void at the heart of things", a...



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