In the June edition of Spike x Liste Expedition Monthly Picks, the Berlin-based writer Olamiju Fajemisin pinches and zooms in on selected works by Srijon Chowdhury and discovers ambiguous feelings.
Peering at the 13-inch screen of my laptop, I tap the “increase brightness” button until it reaches the highest setting and squint. Using my fingers to pinch and scroll, I zoom in on high-resolution images of paintings by Srijon Chowdhury so that I might imagine viewing them to scale. The works, all oil on linen, swallow my screen as I search their surfaces for traces of reason amongst the artist’s preferred motifs: Chiaroscuro, botanical devices, and naturalism command the scenes of this painted, metaphysical dimension. The images are wont to suggest a religious interpretation, though this is quickly realised to be an illusion projected by the sheer banality of each scene as Chowdhury imagines the contemporary through his mythic, Mannerist style. The artist was raised in the US and Bangladesh, where he was born in Dhaka to a Bangladeshi father and an American mother, and now divides his time living and working between Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon . One might also describe his style as coming after miniature, or Mughal painting, which developed in the Indian subcontinent as royal patrons encouraged painters to assume the principles of the concurrent European art, producing highly detailed, pictorially flat images of histories across the personal, moral, romantic, religious, agricultural, royal, pastoral, mystical ….