The artistic expression - Painting with time and space
Mohammad Eunus steps into 65 today
Published : Thursday, 16 January, 2020 at 12:00 AM Count : 311
"Painting is an art. And art is a power that should be aimed at developing the soul. If art does not do this job, the abyss that separates us from God is left without a bridge," said internationally acclaimed Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky. Art generates spiritual power, contemplation and eternal truth. Art always lives with time and space and without those, art will not exist enduringly. Art enriches and broadens our soul. It develops the aesthetic sense and enriches the quality of human beings. Art helps us to live and makes our life more meaningful; it develops our cultural and social level. Art is greatly connected to our economic and cultural ambiance. The soul is always modified by the revolutionary changes of cultural, social, political and economic structure.
Feted artist Mohammad Eunus' paintings hit me like waves of power, truth and revelation. He paints romantic landscapes, nostalgia, social turmoil emblematically and primeval mythological motifs before he sets his canvases on the floor or easel, throw and flick and drip paint on them. Then he minimises the amorphous forms and shapes and added an aesthetically balanced appearance. As an intense onlooker, Eunus closely scrutinises the changing socio-political and economic conditions of the country. His manipulation of forms, scattered muted drawings and cognizant 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. His paintings are of inner and outer space. They intuit a complex reality that cannot be put into words. This makes Eunus one of the most dynamic artists in Bangladesh art milieu.
Presently his modes of expression are pure abstraction and abstract expressionism. He frequently changes the arrangement of his forms and compositions as well as the overall structure of his paintings (included oil, acrylic and mixed mediums on hardboard, canvas and paper). Oil is one of the finest and toughest medium which has been rarely used by our painters but Eunus successfully runs the medium with its all hurdles. From the onset of his career, he has worked in the oil for bringing up the media's effect steadily. The medium also allows an artist to create a sense of serenity. For Eunus, oil provides more flexibility and creative freedom than any other type of paint.
At his works, a harmonic relationship is visible through his lines, forms and textures marking an individual mode. He also frequently searches the boundaries of expressions with diverse geometric and architectural shapes. Squiggles, uneven lines, arrows, broken lines, loops and curls, squares, oval and other aspects are also included in the artist's works. He has meticulously gone through various phases of experimentation with colours, textures, lines, and tones. For Eunus, media is very significant in his mode of expression. He likes to experiment with different mediums.
It is very apparent that Eunus has now hooked himself with bright colours for bringing the internal articulations of concrete formations of paintings. Besides this, the painter also constantly experiments with materials. Using of lots of materials is the key element in his paintings. One of the prime causes for his experimentation is for exploring the dimension of the materials. The artist enjoys his liberty to recognise himself with his using of the materials that are apparently harmonised and technically phenomenal. He strives to proceed with a certain style that has become a personal hallmark for his works. He intermingles sensation and intelligence, believed to utilise abstract expressionism, in his paintings. His paintings emerge to be sparkling and dynamic because of the use of profuse shades and evocative textures.
Eunus bears witness to the insanity of current times in an eruption of vicious colours in different layers. The eruption of colours is accompanied by contrast, and the reality of texture is created in his abstract expression. It has also been observed that the artist meticulously blended the essential elements of his paintings. His paintings can be explained in many ways where one can find the touch of mysticism; some can get the taste of harmony, melancholy or despair. His mode of expression have been changed a number of times, but the painter successfully established his personal trademark through all his creations. His style is unquestionably unique, individualised and expressive. In his paintings, one feels the lament of a lonely soul, an underlying sorrow or a feeling of bareness.
Eunus always feels that drawings are an appearance of the thoughts, the inner world and what literally makes the daily life of an artist. His works show the world the way he sees it, and manifest the essence of the things he has seen. His paintings are also mirror of his mind frame. His lines signify the modern mode of expression.
His expression features varied structures, oval, encircled and doodle forms, symbols, triangular and rectangular shapes and lines that appear to be taking over the canvas. Geometric structures and architectural views also give a new perspective to his works. Cracked columns, wrecked pillars, ruined walls, rusted pipes, wrecked guitars, wheels, broken windows, slabs, scattered papers are recurring objects in his works. Some of the other motifs in Eunus' paintings are ancient edifice, cactus, vessels, hills and sky. Some of his paintings clearly highlight pure composition.
Despite living in Japan for a long time in pursuit of higher studies, Eunus has not been directly influenced by Japanese art. Japanese art is known for its soft colours, minimal expressions and meticulous lines and forms. His colours and forms clearly voice the dilemmas of our times. Melancholy, bliss, conflict, instable emotional states are often highlighted in his paintings. He tries to provide a psychological narrative. He wants to produce paintings that not only describe how we look physically but also capture mental, emotional and spiritual states.
When Eunus gets immersed with his paintings, he loses himself. He is recognised for nurturing enough gallantry to destroy his labourious productions if he finds them unsatisfactory and therefore to create a new pattern, as the world of painting surrounds him from all possible dimensions. He most certainly does not seem to relent and on the contrary cannot help but breathe life into each painting. In this very way Eunus applies colours and creates forms, lines and compositions. He puts layers upon layers of paint and draws forms and objects continuously, until he feels that he has achieved what he has been striving for. The outcome is a contemplative, subtly balanced arrangement of colours and space that does not fail to draw an art enthusiast's eyes.
A thoughtful and cerebral painter, Eunus has taken his colours, forms and materials from various ingredients of our surroundings and different aspects of environments. He likes to experiment with both colour and material in all its various facets. As an experimentalist, Eunus is fond of discovering the characteristics of the materials. Use of different materials helps him to create something novel and refreshing. He makes the ground of a canvas in a certain way. He applies colour directly, piling up both thick and thin layers according to the requirements on the canvas. Sometimes he etches the canvas with different tools and nails for creating uneven surface and amorphous forms. Rough ground assists to absorb colour and helps to create desired texture. Then he applies colour and again engraves the ground for finding his right imagery.
The layers provide a distinctive touch to Eunus' work and he has always deeply concentrated on applying colours and using materials. Deep layers of colours provide a unique feature to his canvas and his paintings create an expression building up on the essence of a colour and what the colours really mean. Over the years, Eunus has developed this technique, which is very expensive and time consuming, requiring immense effort and devotion.
Eunus' intention has been to hold the neglected or ignored sight of our surroundings and splendour of nature in transitory moments. He has used nature's distinctive colour as his principal source for motifs and forms. For example, many of his paintings feature damp or salt contaminated walls and sometimes feature cactus or blossoming flowers growing from moisture walls, which articulate volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity, harsh reality, inhumanity and social and political disorders in the universe.
It is noticeable that Eunus is extremely meticulous about using space and the painter superbly demonstrates texture according to the aesthetic requirement of the paintings. The paintings represent emotion and sentiment in a manner which clearly outline the fact that the artist wants to be universally understood, but in a non-figurative mode. The painter works with bright colours - azure, yellow, emerald green, mauve and crimson. It is clear that his observation is on the colours influenced by nature which is a very enthralling feature in his works where there are colours present in all kinds of mind-puzzling forms. Many of his images are abound with his use of deep droplets and various sprinkled forms, marked by the strong backdrop of colourful images that cannot be explained and rather have to be felt. For every single line, dot, sprinkle and profound colour on Eunus' canvas exude different moods and feelings.
In recent times, Eunus has readopted collage as a medium which lends him a fresh avenue. He has used golden paper and silver coated metal for brining a novel look to his collage. He engaged himself with the medium in different periods of his career. He did several collages in the mid '90s of the last century. After a long hiatus, he has again resorted to the medium with a repertoire that has exhibited technical excellence so far. Many of Eunus' collages have materials 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 and smaller areas left in several tiny patterns. It is obvious that the artist has spent a considerable time to create the illusion of space.
Eunus shuffles between mediums intermittently, each time returning to his subject with renewed interest and deeper enquiry, and each time striving to bring a novel vision to the subject. For the last several years, Eunus has been experimenting with varied kinds of papers, coarse clothes, pieces of tin, and materials in his collages. He has used corrugated boards, fragments of canvas, rag paper, decorative papers, pieces of wood, sand paper to name a few.
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. Eunus' collages are meticulously executed and have opened a new window of visual experience for the viewer. 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 Eunus' collages have materials 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 and smaller areas left in several tiny patterns. It is obvious that the artist has spent a considerable time to create the illusion of space.
Eunus is simultaneously workaholic and scholarly sound. Over the course of years, he has been doggedly experimenting. He gives a precise explanation to his forms and compositions which make a new meaning for his paintings. He always provides a new look for each of his new expositions. The painter is always driven to explore something novel. It breaks boredom for him and he believes art can be enriched through experimentation.
The writer is an art critic and curator.