Shrimanti Saha is an Indian artist working with drawings, animation and sculpture. Her practice reveals a highly cognitive and deeply perceptual understanding of the world at large, which she approaches through historical and contemporary sources and systems of knowledge like news reports, Indian miniatures, science fiction, literary criticism, cinema, European art history, comic books, architecture and natural almanacs, among others.
Her long-awaited solo exhibition Reveries in the Atelier is an expression rooted in both creativity and chaos. Leaving the viewers with open-ended interpretations that intimate a secret beginning in the artist’s subjectivity, her paintings read as a novel or a poem subsumed in camouflage as much as reveal. Her posterity and futurism is explored through an autobiography in her cohesive and animated oil works.
Her paintings juxtapose vibrancy and rupture, and pedagogy and humour. Using her imagination to enter, interpret and edit a plethora of these impressions and references, Shrimanti maps alternative histories or futures in the viewing frame of the present, effectively offering up bold and dynamic dreamscapes with possibilities of truth for the questions that matter — particularly around the global ecological crises, human interventions in knowledge and political manoeuvres of control.
The artist's magical realism supports a world built on organic creatures, visceral characters and fragmented structures, yielding surrealist manifestations in imagery much of which repeats in her narratives as poetic vocabulary. Her ruminations on form come from natural history books and imperial archives that detail the flora and fauna of colonized nations, as well as quotations from European art history, cultural imagery and media interventions.
Reveries in the Atelier presents stirred characters implementing haphazard gestures surrounding issues of identity, control, gender, representation and ecology in a kind of theatrical diorama. Her forays into oil consider traditions of Euro-centric painting in India alongside the relevant materiality of oil as a medium and adopt a more personal voice. Her art explores esoteric themes recreating an alternative origin story of the woman, addressing inequalities in feudal systems and commenting on the supposed Westernization of India.
Shrimanti's solo exhibition will be on view till the 14th of April at Vadehra Art Gallery- D-53, Defence Colony, New Delhi.
You can follow her work here.
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