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.