Over the past ten years, Chitra Ganesh has gained international recognition for her multi-directional drawing-based practice producing lush, explosive narrative works animated by a striking line quality and the insistent exploration of mythic narratives and female subjectivities often relegated to the margins of literature, history, and art. Ganesh draws from a broad range of visual and literary languages that seek to or tease the macabre out of everyday life, and push the visceral boundaries of the human form. Ganesh’s work encompass art historical referents such as German Expressionism, Kalighat painting, Surrealism, and Yu-Ki-O-E woodblock prints, and draw from literary forms of folk tales, fairy tales, song lyrics, and Buddhist, Hindu and Greek epic myths.
Flickering Myths marks Ganesh’s first solo exhibition on the West Coast, introducing the audience to a rich offering of the artist’s work across media, including digital collage comic prints, mixed media works on paper, animation, and a large-scale wall installation executed on site. The works in this exhibition show the artist’s current work at the intersections of science fiction and myth. Apocalyptic visions, inspired by science fiction elements, 1960s and 70s psychedelia, are generated in part by the artist’s recent visual research of erotic and political manga supported by the Art Matters Foundation. Ganesh’s emergent focus on science fiction considers the genre as a vital and ubiquitous form of contemporary mythic narrative, one which frequently poses timeless questions around the nature of human destiny, power, and time, while highlighting contemporary issues of great urgency such as environmental devastation, and the proliferations of technology and present day imperialisms.
By overlapping a variety of palettes and visual languages, and incorporating sculptural and textual elements that puncture the works’ surface, the artists seeks to invite her viewers to consider alternate mythologies of sexuality, femininity and power, where untold stories rise to the surface. In the process, Ganesh has developed a unique visual lexicon marked by the proliferations of swarming eyes, bursting wounds, winged weapons, fractured bodies, and much more. The artist’s fantastical distortions of the female form mark envision alternate femininities and buried histories, as potent sites of transgression, contemplation, and transformation.
Ganesh’s large format digitally rendered comic-based prints seamlessly integrate her own pen and ink drawing with appropriated fragments from the Amar Chitra Katha and other comics. The Amar Chitra Katha (ACK), a series of Indian comics created in the late 1960s, which continue to enjoy wide popularity and international distribution today, functions as a key point of inspiration and visual referent for these works. Digital collages on view in Flickering Myths are selections culled from a recently executed 2012 series of comic works commissioned by the Gothenburg Kunsthalle in Sweden, now on view for the first time in the United States at Gallery Wendi Norris.