Bholanath Rudra is a contemporary Indian painter known for his large-format watercolours representing humanity’s deep crises from the destruction of nature and ecological balance. A graduate of Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata, he has developed his signature style by adapting his painting to the possibilities offered by the medium of watercolour. Using the hues of colour, layer and layer, to explore watercolour’s soft, luminous and transparent quality gives his work a compelling presence. The work of Abanindranath Tagore and Shyamal Dutta Ray inspired him. Like the two great watercolourists, he treats the painting process not just as a matter of skill – a means to an end – but as a means of penetrating the surface appearance of reality to capture its essence.
Bholanath’s recent work is concerned with the crises of the Anthropocene era. Issues like deforestation, the rapid growth of urban civilisation and man’s increasing violence toward nature are common themes he explores in his paintings. However, they do not appear directly like a poster; the vast desolate space, the spread of fluid and bright colours and scattered, often symbolic imagery across the picture plane give his work an exalted quality of the sublime. While carrying grim contents, his paintings do not appear as shocking images but as surrealistic, dream-like spectacles that captivate us.