The chronicle of an analytical artist
Alamgir Huque steps into 67
Published : Wednesday, 16 January, 2019 at 12:00 AM Count : 511
Alamgir Huque, an accomplished artist, was a familiar figure in Bangladesh art circuit of the '80s. In that period he excelled both in painting and printmaking, especially in the latter, he established a personal hallmark through the use of some unique techniques displayed in his semi abstract works. From the beginning, Alamgir's works bore the marks of a penchant for novelty and innovation. He was born and raised in Laxmibazar, one of the historical parts of Old Dhaka, an over-populated and very congested area. The place is also recognised for its architectural heritages. His close encounter with a place where the footprints of time could be the most strikingly observed, led him to absorb these changing images of urban life, the socio-economic structure, especially the gradual spatial reconfiguration of his beloved city with the eager appetite of an apprentice. An emotive, painterly response to the exteriority of his surroundings found meticulous expressions in his early semi-abstract paintings. With time, Alamgir continued to refine himself and harness a medley of skills, consequently, new lines, techniques, forms and different types of objects were incorporated into his works. Alamgir suddenly left the country for Canada (Saskatchewan) in 1990.
Prior to his departure to Canada, Alamgir engaged himself as a semi-abstract painter and his themes ranged nature to his immediate ambiance; political turmoil as well as weal and woe of the masses to say the least. However, his stay in Saskatchewan, triggered the artist's inclination towards nature. Air, water and soil - all natural elements - in his view remain essentially the same irrespective of places and regions, therefore nature was addressed in its uninterrupted universatality in his works. His recent works have completely transformed and opened a new window for the viewer. The changes are composition, technique and texture- oriented. Sometimes it seems he is more conscious about space and forms. The forms give a cerebral and contemplative look to his works. His works are very expressive due to the effective use of space in his paintings. Various fragmented shapes and scattered strokes are very noticeable in his works. His works look very
distinctive and individualistic because of his meticulous use of colour and deliberate composition. Presently his works can be regarded as abstract- expressionism where colour is most dominant aspect and forms synchronise well with colours, spaces and compositions. His distinctive techniques and compositions make him stand apart from his contemporaries. But repetitiveness in his compositions is a major flaw in his works.
Alamgir is not a figurative or objective painter. He portrays nature and its mysterious phases through his personal notion, experience and thought process. It can be easily said his paintings have been recorded through his inner feelings and intense observation of his living place, life and reminiscence. He uses sweeping strokes, which bring an animated hallmark to his works. His strokes, lines and sprinkled dots are simultaneously natural and create a language which is alien to us. His colour is mellow and appears rich and smooth. His soul is always on the look out for space where the green, azure, red, crimson, off-white and yellow are filled with great joy and ecstasy. Remarkable forms and various suggestive lines create a unique language in his paintings.
Alamgir is a cerebral printmaker. Many of his prints are composition and form based -- rectangular, vertical, horizontal, half-curved and full curved. The artist has brought many symbols into his prints. Scattered shapes are noticeable in his prints. Space division in his compositions is dramatic; with big spaces kept flat while smaller areas have several tiny patterns. It is obvious that the artist has spent a considerable time to create the illusion of space.
In recent times, Alamgir has readopted collage as a medium which lends him a fresh avenue. He engaged himself with the medium during different periods of his career. He did several collages in the mid '70s. After a long hiatus, he again resorted to the medium in 1994 with a repertoire that exhibited technical excellence. Alamgir shuffles between mediums intermittently, each time returning to one with renewed interest and deeper enquiry, and each time striving to bring a novel vision to it. Last several years (from 2008 to date), Alamgir has been experimenting with varied kinds of papers and materials in his collages. He has used corrugated boards, fragments of jean, rag paper, kujo paper, various handmade papers, decorative papers, linen cloth, pieces of wood, sand paper to name a few. In our country, a number of artists have also plunged deep into this laborious medium.
Collage in the modernist sense began with cubist painters Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso. Picasso was the first to use the collage technique in oil painting. Braque took up the concept of collage before Picasso, applying it to charcoal drawings. Surrealist artists have also made extensive use of collage. Alamgir's collages are meticulously executed and have opened a new window of visual experience for the viewer. He is very much precise and balanced in his use of acrylic shades and molding pastes. Acrylic provides more flexibility and creative freedom than any other type of paint. The molding paste has added textured relief to many of his collages and has helped create thick impasto layers, especially when it intertwines with other stuffs. Many of his collages provide a translucent look as molding pastes are water-based and non-toxic by nature.
Besides being a good painter, Alamgir is also a good craftsman, if you may. He has experimented with techniques and materials and brought them to a happy osmosis on rag paper. Sometimes it seems he is more conscious about space and forms. The forms lend a contemplative quality to his works. Presently, in his works forms synchronize consciously with colours, spaces and compositions in a somewhat cognitive prefiguration. Alamgir portrays nature and its mysterious phases through his personal notion, experience and thought process. The abstraction in his works comes naturally as he has adopted a unique language for his own way of expression. His collages are chronicles of his inner feelings and intense observation of his living space, life and reminiscence. His manipulation of forms, scattered drawings and rough brush strokes create a language simultaneously natural and contrived. His palette swings between mellow and bold, strokes between rugged and controlled conjuring up a visual playground for joy and ecstasy.
Many of his papers, which have been used in his collage, are in different sizes like rectangular, vertical, horizontal, oval, half-curved and oval-curved. The artist has brought many symbols into his collages. Space division in his compositions is dramatic; with big spaces kept flat while smaller areas have several tiny patterns. It is obvious that the artist has spent a considerable time to create the illusion of space.