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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. The landscapes are locales where leitmotifs such as hope for peace, utopian dreamscapes, loss of innocence and millenarianism, as the vertical intrusion of the sublime in the horizontal flux of cyclical time, play out.
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, usually an idyllic locus of timeless beauty or cyclical time. The idyll remains a stunning portrayal of meta-art in which bits of reality, of human agency, are interspersed. The lines between the idyllic and the real are blurred in a manner that the works, while simultaneously portraying beauty, are spaces imbued with conflict. Through the inhabited landscapes and the wild mountainscapes we see the merging of an amalgamation of sublime and pastoral landscape traditions in his works.
In the year 1991 a solo exhibition of his egg tempera and watercolors 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 harbored 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.
His works have been exhibited in a number of prestigious solo and group shows within India and abroad and have received widespread critical acclaim. His works have been collected worldwide by some of the best art connoisseurs.
Suman Gupta lives and work from his studio in Jammu.