Ram Kumar | Biography | Life | artworks
Ram Kumar, an important landscape painter, studied under Andre Lhote and Fernand Leger, and has obviously been influenced by the French Tradition.
In his earlier works depicting homeless humanity standing in streets against desolate buildings, the figures are dealt in anaplastic pseudo-molding obtained by the use of light and shade, which does not refer to the structure of human forms. The minimum delineation, though in strong lines of the human figures and use of perspective shows his interest in the simplification of formal structure.
From the 1960s onwards, the figure disappears and the images of the physical world. That is of land-forms, rocks, hills, houses, birds, stretches of water, sky, and cloud, nature in its totally with its varied physiognomy- seem to increasingly engage him. His landscapes, real (such as of Varanasi) or imaginary, offer scope for form-structure manipulation wherein the subject and style mutually support each other.
Formal art is far from imitative. It is a symbolic means for abstraction; the schematic presentation of an idea, without being a cold schematization or an inanimate effect. It is full of life and yet curiously balanced and ordered.
In Ram Kumar’s landscapes the abstract shapes, converging and diverging, created by angular brush and spatula strokes, are the rhythms that may be termed as inventive. They are a direct transcription of the emotion aroused by the landscape. But this subtle representation is, in fact, based on an understanding of the tonal values and planes and its application in a visually attractive manner.
Ram Kumar’s landscapes have a bas-relief quality. He lends to form a feeling of architectural stability and decorative value; the essence of volume without destroying the feel for the surface of the picture. This half real solidity of the scene is but an arrangement treated in a unique and carefully planned manner, which may not be appreciated by the uninitiated.
Ram Kumar seeks to investigate and exploit the relationship between his emotions and the medium of communication he employs. In the process, he may disfigure the human form or mutilate the calm landscape. But he replaces aspects of experience that are significant in themselves and relate to our aesthetic sensibility.
His work provides a remarkable illustration of how flat areas of light and dark are organized on the pictorial surface with three-dimensional considerations that are only referential. Though his paintings to be spontaneous, they are, in fact, carefully built up to achieve a simultaneous feeling of balance and unbalance in their design- a dynamic feeling of asymmetry.
Ram Kumar’s works are the physiological “forms” of his personality which structures perception and determines the limitation of personal expression. But how far his art and his language of communication relate to the individual or the culture of which he is a part, remains unresolved.