For both Buddhadev Mukherjee and Vidha Saumya, drawing is the primary mode of expression, a critical observation of body and gesture their subject. Their protagonists - however - inhabit space in entirely different ways. Whereas Buddhadev usually restrains the figure on isolated ground, Vidha's populace congregates. Where his fluid brush drawings have an imperceptible weight, her cello-gripper pens impress the image onto the parchment's surface, like tattoos onto skin.
Vidha Saumya's suite of seven large diptychs in the current show titled 'Messes of the Afternoon', allude to the experimental film 'Meshes of the Afternoon' (1943), celebrated for its overlapping flavours of the surreal and the mundane. Afternoon is the second twilight zone of the day, when ambiguity of all kinds - emotional, luminal, bodily - seeps in. The gender-fluid bodies of Vidha's characters are cast up against indigo skies, jade green sheets, and jewel-red patterns as they interlace seamlessly.
Buddhadev Mukherjee on the other hand, directs the gesture inward. With an economy of line and contour, he achieves complex constellations and explores hidden dramas, in the sixty works from the series 'Man', each measuring 8 x 8 inches, which he presents in the current exhibition. The contained and intense nature of these works is only underscored in the vast triptych 'Jana Samudra', which depicts the obsessive, overlapping repetition of the human form.
Neither of the artists would settle for subtlety. Their work is also linked by the rare breed of humour they bring to bear upon their characters. This humour does not allow us to escape the vagaries of daily life into aesthetic oblivion or ideological abstraction. It keeps us anchored in a twilight zone, where zoological divides are surgically removed, genders meld into each other, graphic patterns aspire towards a language and bodies enmesh themselves into oneness.
Buddhadev Mukherjee was born in 1976 in West Bengal. He attained a BFA in Painting at Kala Bhavan, Santiniketan, and an M.A. in Printmaking at the Faculty of Fine Arts, M.S. University, Baroda. In 2012-13 he spent a year at the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou on a Chinese Government Scholarship, and in 2013 he was Artist-in-Residence at the Da Wang Culture Highland in Shenzhen, China. Exhibitions include Visualized Truth II, Ramybes Gallery, Lithuania (2013); Epines d'Eden, Galerie Dubois Friedland, Brussels, Belgium (2014); and a solo presentation at the India Art Fair, New Delhi, by Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke (2015). He lives and works in New Delhi.
Vidha Saumya was born in 1984 in Patna. She holds a B.A. in Painting from the Sir J. J. School of Art in Mumbai and a Diploma in Visual Communication Design from the Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology in Bangalore. During 2007-08 she undertook an Independent Study Programme at the Beaconhouse National University, Lahore. Exhibitions include Song of the Sirens, Grey Noise Gallery, Lahore (2010)(Solo), and Touched by Bhupen, Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Mumbai (2013). She lives and works in Mumbai.