Professor Matlub Ali is simultaneously an artist, a lyricist, a critic and an essayist. He has shown outstanding evidence in both creativity and skill in each branch. Sincerity, dedication and depth of knowledge have helped him to reach his present position. He claims to be introverted and has little interest in interacting with others. He has held only a few solo exhibitions though his works are many, as he has been working without a break all his life. He was the former dean, Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Dhaka. He now divides his time between New York and Dhaka. The artist has worked in watercolour, oil, acrylic, pen, pencil, mixed media and prints.
Matlub's next solo exhibition will be held in New York.
As a nature lover, the painter likes to play with vivid colours. From the beginning, the critics have waxed eloquent about his works for their bright colours such as emerald green, red, orange, black, violet, white and purple.
In his portrait sketches, the artist is profoundly true to the characters. He has always tried to articulate the inner essence of nature in many of his works. It is remarkable that he has a deep capacity to feel and respond to the beauty of nature in his works. He does figurative work -- rural men and women in varied moods, street children, working class people, boats, crows, indigenous flowers, people at leisure and much more. His landscapes transport the viewers far away from the hectic urban life. He has set the motifs in different combinations of light and shade.
An introspective and imaginative painter, Matlub has taken his colours from nature and that is why colour is the most significant aspect in his works. He likes to experiment with colours in all its various facets. He applies colour directly, piling up thick layers on the canvas. He has concentrated on applying colours. Deep layers of colours provide a unique texture to his paintings and that is why his canvas carries a singular hallmark. His paintings create an expression on the essence of a colour and what the colours really means. Over the years, Matlub has developed this technique, which is very expensive and time consuming, requiring immense effort and devotion. He has used nature's colour as his principal source for motifs and forms. The delicacy of his lines, forms and colours are derived from the natural world and have evolved from a more traditional style to abstractions that intensify panoramic views and imagination. His canvases are lavish in abstract images of colour. But this abstraction does not in any way obstruct the viewers' perception of the artist's feeling.
Throughout his illustrious career, the artist has worked on varied themes, portraying them in his personal style and technique. His themes have always been closely connected to the soil of Bengal and its people. Many of his works delve deep into pure abstraction. The themes emerge in his works symbolically and at times according to his paintings' characters. The painter feels that nature come into view in his works through his personal observations and experiences. He also likes to paint semi-realistic images (focusing on horizontal, vertical lines and compositions). In some of his works he has sought to incorporate various symbols and signs of his expressions -- denoting realism, semi-realism, pure abstraction, abstract expressionism and neo-expressionism.