Shyamal Dutta Ray's body of work demonstrates a major turning point in the history of the Bengal school of art. Credited with adding depth and intensity to the medium of watercolor, Ray's saturated hues stand out against the Bengal School's tradition of light and diluted colors. His melancholic and pensive works reflect the contradictions of life in Calcutta, illuminating the happiness, sorrow, struggle, strife, poverty and hope of the city. The works also exhibits a sense of the surreal and ironic in its awareness and depiciton of a society in transition. The poignant imagery in his paintings stems from his personal experiences and it is the visual world around him that he tries to reveal on his canvas.