Shipra Bhattacharya has made her presence felt on our art scene since her first solo show in 1981. In her early works she portrayed life-scapes she saw everywhere around, with an immense zest for the figurative idiom and a finesse in execution. Her subject was ordinary people, mostly women folk of the urban and non-urban milieu, painted with loving care in oil and mixed media for their formal and conceptual contours. These were remarkable pictures peopled by diversely positioned figures designed in a richly complexor simple structure and in schemes of piquant colours with splendid tonalor lineal flair. Her drawings done in the mid-80s and later were by no means related to her paintings except in their well-honed execution. The figures and forms in them, evoked in meticulous filigree of pen-and-ink hatchings, had strange awesome elfin looks. They enacted minor fantasies with lively gestures unlike any of the characters in her paintings.
The current series look so fresh unlike her images of the 80's. But these canvases evolve technically and conceptually out of her earlier works. The crowded life-scapes she once painted are missing here. Nevertheless, in portraits of individual faces and figures they delve into the life within. The characters are all women - each with her secret passion seeking fulfilment or innervoid of unfulfilled desire. They are placed either in landscapes of a tender fantasy or fairly realistic urban settings, indoor or outdoor. Oblique visual clues to her subject, often of symbolic and metaphorical nature, enrich Shipra's figurative idiom. What makes her oils most delightful are her smooth brushwork, glowing tonalities of complementary hues often with a soft sensuous sheen; tender dreamy painterly stillness in the faces of her characters, lineal flow fleshing out the beauty of her homely women and their bright colour saris in rhythmic furrows of fold and pleats. No doubt, in less than two decades Shipra's art has scaled a new height.