BIJAN PAUL is a name in contemporary art world which has made news and stood for certain valuesin art all the while. A bold and vocal personality Bijan Paul always leans on the sides of bumanism and treats his characters accordingly. His dramatis personae are emotionally rich and bear with their environment whether human or otherwise. His portrayal of men and women and their human or environmental situation is full of depth and emotional richness that is rare in the realm of modern world of art. And the most interesting thing is that his characters are from real life, from ordinary middle class which produces feeling full personalities capable of bearing both pain and pleasure alike yet not abandoning its class character. That is why it is full of dreams, hopes and aspirations those lower down the ladder would not have.

Needless to say, Bijan Paul’s canvases breathe of life. The strong line in these works provide strength to both the characters as well as the figurations. Indeed, it is difficult to imagine Bijan Paul canvas without the strength of his line that is both the fort and fetters of his strong imagery. Color seems to secondary to his works though it is what creates the atmosphere his men and women live in and the sun and the moon and the stars prefer to band in above. His configurations are sometimes linear (geometrical) and some times lyrical, depending on the theme or the subject he is handling. But they are sensitive all the same. And this is a quality which ought to be lost site of. There is of course no uncertainty about his line and therefore no fudging and his attempt to use full vibrancy of his color results in strong visual impact.

With the above mentioned characteristics of imagery, the human drama in Bijan’s canvas finds a strong footing and the porttraid character linger in one’s mind long after the canvas is removed from one’s view. In other words it would be said that his character and environment Bijan creates lives on the outsides the limited canvas space and transcends the barrier of time. And then there ios the whole gamut of human emotions to observe and relish. Hope, dreaming, agony and pain and both visually as well as emotionally dramatic. It will of course not be incorrect to say that the emotional depth and degree of human drama decides the impact of Bijan’s canvases. A dreaming female will enliven your joyous mood for quite a while. A saddened female face will haunt you for weeks together. This lingering quality of Bijan’s characters is indeed appreciable.

But all this comes from the humanism and sensitivity of the artist to the human situation. The emotional investment on the part of the artist in his creations is a factor to be reckoned with. And nothing in art could be achieved without such personal investment by the artist famed or otherwise. However, there is a tendency to stick to an academic approach to art, in that the expression is contained within certain parameter and not exaggerated unduly. So everything is controlled up to a point in Bijan Pual’s work. That is why there is no loose ends and no negative spaces in his works whether it is portrait or an interior setting with a female with in it. The character and the themes may vary, but not the sensitive approach to image-creating which is the life and lure of artist’s canvas. Very often it is the division of the his picture-space that achieves dramatic results. And there is the allotment of color areas which in certain case may approximate the flat color areas of Mughal or Rajasthan miniatures. Blues, reds, yellows or glaring white might strike one as feit accompile. But then these are there to support and strengthen an already strong image.

However, it may be mentioned here that there is no attempt to overdo things on the part of artist. And since there is a sort of neatness about his figurations, Bijan Paul need not do what is not needed for strengthening the imagery. A certain sensitivity to structuring is also visible in Bijan Paul’s works. The compositional quality when mixed with the keen sense of architecture creates a more durable image that tends to have its own life. And Bijan is very much conscious of it… of whatever he does. And to the surprise of his friends and fans, is also profoundly vocal about it. There is no sophistry on that side.

And Bijan Paul is no ‘koop Mandak’, or fish of a small pond. He has travelled far and wide and has imbibed many a sensibilities and influences that have gone in to the formation of his personality. Ha has seen the society of Europe and America and has learnt many a thing that are worth learning (and a at times with emulating). Bijan has known what freedom artists in those countries enjoy and what facilities they could claim as artists. Also , how they are respected in their respective societies. Paris, London, New York,… Germany, U.S. A., Canada, Japan, Singapore have all been part of his itinery abroad. And Paul has not only visited these places but also exhibited there and sold his works. That too on the bases of merit alone. Indeed, he has that daring spirit in him that could crash through the barriers and have his way. In some places he has exhibited along with his fellow artists and other times solo, in the western art galleries.

Nearer home, he has exhibited his works almost in every art center of the country. An eary as 1980 he has the opportunity of exhibiting his works both at home and in London. Bombay, Kolkata, Delhi, Baroda and Indore are some of the metros that can be easily counted. The exposure at home has made him see the wider reality of India and yet at same time made him familiar with the regional and national reality of Indian art. And though he is basically a figurative artist, ha has worked in all the media available to an artist whether with in academic campus or with in world of art (facilities outside it). Still life and landscapes too have handled by him with equal mastery and depth. And these are not fine works and endearing too. It is a tendency which exacts most from an image and does not allow the image to have loose fringes. Certainly the practitioners of the ‘abstract’ would pitch for more freedom. But then, they are not treavellers of same path and therefore may be quite off the mark where in the figurative art is concerned. And what Bijan Paul is known for is his style and his typical approach to his art. And this while being positively modernistic. A work like ‘Diolue’ (between two women) could display such intensity of communication and such richness of human emotions. The dramatic in Bijan’s works is something one has to reckon with. Without this dramatic approach there would be no Bijan Paul.

And there is an element of design which engage the critical eye most . This design is of course not pre-determined. Bijan creates it as he proceeds with his imagery, certain things come to mind and the structure emerges of its own accord. Bijan also deals in powerfull symbolism. Trees, plants, moon, flowers and flower vases, birds and huts and animal on the rural scene. All these are appropriately represented and meaningfully add to the central image (and of course to the message the work gives.) However, it may be noticed that such symbolism as Bijon is never overbearing. It is just additive of a supporting nature and that is the beauty of it.

It is also interesting to note that Bijan Paul retains a folkishtouch in most of his works like the vertan Jamini Roy and makes the depicted characters a real life phenomenon. These men and women and situations they are in are not the product of the artist’s mind but have come from the very lively fabric of life on which the artist has condensed his creative vision and produced  an imagery  that is full of life and vigour. No matter what the mood or the  situation. This at times makes the viewer nostalgic (if he is from rural back ground). But that is a healthy dimension of Bijan Paul’s work. For he is certainly not the artist of Bizarre and cold urban scene (and probably would not like to be). He is close to a cultured millied and keeps close to it.

Another dimension of Bijan’s character is that he is unusually bold and wasn’t shy of exhibiting his work on the pavement of Paris where he had lived and worked for a while. And he wasn’t shy walking into the house of a bigwing in New York or Washington and show the occupant his best works though in a small format. And because of his boldness he very frequently found buyers who wouldn’t have been there had he not confronted them with his works. Bijan is also hugely vocal about what he feels about the contemporary art world in the country (or rather the art market). And it is treat to hear him in terms of when and how a plethora of questions about his work and the way of the contemporary art world.

Needless to say Bijon Paul’s work have found room in many a private and public collectioins both at home and abroad. And this has made work comparatively familiar (and familiarity in what counts). But he is not much that aspect of his existence. For he likes to ahead and leave behind what has already been achieved. Bijan founly recalls and incident from his paris days when a passerby asked for the price of one of his displayed works. He told him, that it was what he could pay. And his first work was sold something pleasant to remember.