Atish Mukherjee is a multifaceted artist who moves effortlessly between mediums and styles – from pen & ink drawings on tea-washed paper to acrylics on canvas, from tempera on stretched cloth to terracotta works, from metal sculptures to puppets, and from realistic to semi-abstract to completely abstract forms. Figurative works feature most prominently in his practice. The many birds, animals, human figures and living things he depicts in these works express his love for nature and his desire to showcase the influence of environment upon human feelings, instincts, and relationships. Mukherjee’s works reflect his deep understanding of folk art styles; whether the Madhubani of Bihar, the ‘patachitras’ of Midnapore, or the Warli of Maharashtra, he reinvents and redefines them in experimental ways, while remaining true to their traditional patterns. Colours are used emotively in his artworks, often to positive effect, including the dominant red of his canvases that he associates with joy and passion.
Mukherjee’s works range across the spectrum, not only in process but also in theme, concept and tone. Some seek to highlight the stories of his subjects, while others engage with abstract and philosophical thought. From the brimming positivity of his bold colours, happy faces and themes of unity to a profusion of motifs that raise open-ended questions and interrogate the known and unknown fears and failings of life, his pieces present both sides of the coin – joy and sorrow in equal measure.