Of photorealism and treescapes

Image Source: IANS News
Image Source: IANS News

New Delhi, January 18 (IANSlife) A new exhibition titled 'If A Tree Falls (Somewhere In Northeast India)', curated by Waswo x Waswo, features the recent woodcut prints by Chandan Bez Baruah at Gallery Latitude 28. The artist fuses spiritually romantic longings for beauty, solitude, and the sublime, with a postmodern awareness of chaos, politics, and lived experience.

Chandan's works are meticulously carved upon medium density wood-fibre matrixes; these woodcuts nonetheless spring from the digital photographs which Chandan has earlier captured for reference. The artist's inspired translation of these photographs, and highly skilled hand craftsmanship, is astounding. The photorealist style he painstakingly employs is complicated by the chaos of the scenes; a chaos unlike the orderly compositions one might expect in more traditional and pictorialist vocabularies, yet which holds a graphic beauty of its own.

Devoid of human figuration or wildlife, Chandan unashamedly subscribes to the notion of the solitary observer, or, as the American photographer Ansel Adamas once put it, 'To the complaint,'There are no people in these photographs,' I respond,'There are always two people: the photographer and the viewer.' Yet, there are many more than two people in these woodcuts. There are multitude, says the curator.

"Chandan's stark, mountainous undergrowth exists within ecologies and geographies of history, culture, and contemporary conflict. The artist has skillfully coaxed these images out of wooden boards because the woods itself is asking for revelation. There is an intimacy to these images, as if the artist has trekked us through the jungle to his most favoured haunts, asking us to stay silent and observe what he treasures and wishes to reveal."

The exhibition runs from January 15 to February 25.