about the exhibition
New Works 06.1
March 08–May 07, 2006about the artist
Ranjani Shettar explores the uneasy intersection of industry and the environment in installations that evoke technology’s encroachment on tradition. Transforming ordinary materials (wax, cotton, mud, PVC pipes, plastic sheeting) into ethereal sculptures that mimic natural structures such as beehives and spider webs, Shettar fuses the mundane with the metaphysical. Whether examining the nature of inhabited space or the confrontation between facts and ideology, Shettar’s intricate works collapse distinctions between art and craft, yet draw liberally from the histories of both.
Shettar’s three-dimensional, sculptural drawings fluidly string together particles of divergent material to reveal their biological inspiration. Creating breadth from masses of small parts, the elegant installations move beyond the scientific to suggest contemporary social, and even geo-political, relations.
Born in Bangalore, India in 1977, Ranjani Shettar received her MFA in 2000 from Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath, also in Bangalore, where she currently lives and works. Solo exhibitions include Talwar Gallery, New York, NY (2004); Gallery Sumukha, India (2003); and Chitra Art Gallery, Bangalore, India (2000). Group exhibitions include J'en rêve, Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain, Paris, France (2005); Landscape Confection, Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH (2005); and How Latitudes Become Forms: Art in a Global Age, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN (2003).
about the project
The two works in Ranjani Shettar’s project utilize biological research to lead a considered treatment of material. Both the three-dimensional installation and her framed, eight-foot tall print join with the local environment through incorporating native woods. The project is a subtle meditation on relational negotiations, particularly mutual symbiosis.
For the installation Shettar carved, sanded, and polished sections of mesquite into rounded sculptural nodes. Mounted on the wall, the wooden forms congregate into a larger shape, conveying the irregular balance of nature. Intermingling are ropes of watery green algae that hang from the ceiling and appear ready to host the wooden fungi. The algae, cast by hand from silicone rubber, is an additive process which complements the reductive act of carving, just as each element in the installation networks with the other to exist and be complete.
A five-color woodcut print similarly expresses harmony between the disparate in a more intimate and controllable medium. Rivers of brick red, brown, pink, and greens co-mingle and separate along the cedar grain, which Shettar allowed to guide her carving.
Ranjani Shettar’s works suggest the mutual benefits and beauty of sharing and cooperation over competition and combat.