Last Friday night I was invited to Sunil Howlader‘s art exhibition opening reception. So I ventured down to Old Lyme and was excited when I finally found the Fresh Ayer Gallery and Gifts. As I entered the space, it was almost overwhelming seeing every bit of wall space be filled with a painting.
As I walked toward the back of the gallery, where I suspected I might find Howlader’s work, the owner of the gallery, Jan, introduced herself. She was very nice and seemed very passionate about what she does. She explained her gallery hosts a new artist each month as she invited me to have a glass of wine. What an enticing greeting.
Finally, I spotted Howlader finishing up with another guest to come to greet me. He was very gracious for my presence showing his humility, which is something I admire in people but even more so in artists. We then walked over to his collection which was mostly contained within a small room. He didn’t need to show me his paintings, I can tell his style a mile away. Finding a style in which you can depict your point of view beautifully, and, at the same time, branding yourself different but recognizable…that is what Howlader has done with his paintings.
The artist explains his style as a fusion of expressionism and abstraction. This description is easily distinguishable when you look at his paintings. His backgrounds usually exist as the language he uses to portray his emotions as well as setting up the scene for his viewers. Then, you get to the subject of his paintings, which usually comprise of a figure and just as you see and recognize the figure your eye might or might not catch the glimpse of abstraction that happens within his subjects.
Sunil Howlader paints both from memory and from photographs. He confessed that he is constantly taking photographs everywhere he goes. I can relate to this almost compulsive need to photograph the beauty that you see around me which others don’t seem to notice. This impression he paints in an expressionistic style leads to the outcome of a dream-like essence, and for a dreamer like myself I could not ask for more beauty from a painting.
Another aspect of Howlader’s paintings that I really like is his use of color. Being from Bangladesh, an enchantment of colors must reside in his memory, and he has learned to use color in his paintings very skillfully romanticizing his paintings just the right amount.
Take a look at his work, meditate on it, and make sure you go back for at least a second round because you will find something new each time.