Suman Gupta B . 1964
Suman Gupta paints landscapes, but for him the hills, rivers and the forests are not merely physical spaces to be consumed for their beauty but become sites for ideological interrogation of socio-political concerns in a seamless, non-intrusive fashion.Couched in his cultural roots relating to the mountains, the works of Suman Gupta are imbued with multi-layered meanings, rich in anthropological details. Using his memory and imagination as a tool, Suman goes beyond the scientific objectively and transforms real life situations to become visual documents of socio-philosophical significances, while pursuing his mind-images. Suman depicts people in everyday actions, objects, a tree here, a landscape there during his wanderings in the countryside, the hills and highlands of the place of his origin.By pairing of two or more disparate elements he achieves an ironic twist and inculcates an introspective mood and by this, Suman succeeds in creating haunting images. He portrays marginalized rural communities of Dogras of the Shivaliks, toiling, labouring, caught in the flux of change, along with traditional artifacts symbolic of native cultural practices, ethnic subtleties set into man-made and natural surroundings. Rendered to minute details, the paintings, while allowing the onlooker to feel the local flavours, also raise existentialist issues. It is this effortless gliding from the physical-psychological to philosophical planes that marks Suman’s works.
Born in 1964 in Jammu, Suman Gupta graduated with a Degree in Law from the University of Jammu in 1988. A self-taught artist, his practice revolves around landscapes encompassing the natural in his work, depicted through the world of Himalayan highlands and its people, In the year 1991 a solo exhibition of his egg tempera and watercolours at Jehangir Art Gallery in Mumbai launched the 27 year old artist’s career auspiciously with twenty three works selling by the end of third day of the show. The critics in Mumbai praised the ancient technique of tempera demonstrated so meticulously and argued that his works harboured profound emotional, subjective or spiritual content beneath their intensely realistic surfaces.
He was the first Indian artist ever to showcase his works in a one man show titled ‘The Mountain Mysteries’ at Palais des Nations, United Nations Office at Geneva, Switzerland during the ‘Year of the Mountains’ in 2002. He was elected to Lalit Kala Akademi, the National Academy of Arts, New Delhi as one of the Executive Board Members in the year 2003. He curated a show of contemporary Indian art in Cyprus in the year 2006 and also got nominated as one of the jury member for 52nd National Exhibition of Arts by Lalit Kala Akademi. He won the National Academy Award for ‘Blue River and the God of Fish’ in 2006. He was invited to participate in the 8th Edition of the Florence Biennale, Italy in 2011 and was awarded ‘Lorenzo Il Magnifico’ for his work titled ‘In Trance’. In the year 2012 he was invited to showcase his work at the India Special Exhibition at 5th Beijing International Art Biennale in China.One of his egg tempera titled’ Song of the river’ was short listed for ‘Figurativas 2019’ which was later also acquired by the ‘Museo Europeo de Arte Moderno ( MEAM ),Barcelona ,Spain .His works have been exhibited in a number of prestigious solo and group shows within India and abroad and have received widespread critical acclaim.
Suman Gupta lives and work from his studio in Jammu.