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Suhasini Kejriwal

Indian Contemporary Artist
Born 1973, Kolkata
Lives and works in Kolkata

Born in Kolkata in 1973, Suhasini Kejriwal's work reflects her keen eye for detail, a strong imagination, and an ability to explore and evolve as an artist. Kejriwal received a Master of Fine Arts from Goldsmiths College in London in 2006 after receiving her undergraduate degree from Parsons The New School of Design in New York City. She returned to Kolkata, where she currently lives and works. She is known for her intricate canvases covered with unexpected detail, whether depicting a fantastical botanical scene or the lively streets of Kolkata. However, she has branched out and now creates mixed media pieces and sculpture as well.

Education

2006

Master of Fine Arts, Goldsmith's College, London

2000

Assistant Graduate, Goldsmith's College, London

1999

Post Graduate Diploma, Goldsmith's College, London

1998

Bachelor of Fine Arts Parsons School of Design, New York

VIEW     Selected exhibitions     Text      Awards      Selected images      View all

LIFE AND WORK

UNDERSTANDING Suhasini Kejriwal

Communication with the viewer is a vital component

For Kejriwal, the image created by the artist has the power to interact with its viewer in a complex, layered manner. This view is apparent in her 2007 project, Untitled. Each piece contains colorful, intricate jungle imagery with lush leaves and flowers in reds and pinks and blues. However, on closer observation, one notices the prominent eye of a reptile, the raised texture of the embroidery work and other mixed material, or the layer of white space that lurks behind the shapes and patterns.

Kejriwal layers her work intentionally. The non-verbal language of the interaction between viewer and artwork is what allows for the art to communicate many ideas at once, she has indicated. Less direct and perhaps, therefore, less confrontational than more targeted messaging, art and its images occupy the aesthetic dimension, and so can have profound influence over and impact on cultural and other social systems in a subtle way that slowly absorbs into the viewers' consciousness. In this way, she encourages those engaging with her art to linger, and engage deeply.

Suhasini Kejriwal, Untitled, 2007, oil on canvas, 83 × 48 × 1/2", Image Courtesy: Nature Morte.

New perspectives brought about a shift in Kejriwal's subject

Kejriwal, born and raised in Kolkata, explored unfamiliar terrain when she moved from India to study design in New York City. Her education and pursuit of a Masters in Fine Art also took her to London, where she finished her degree in 2006. Her return to India after her MFA, and specifically to Kolkata, inspired a shift in her work's expression. While she did not consider herself as an outsider, the familiar streets and scenes had changed, and this new perspective created a distance. It was the awareness of this distance, and the blurring of the familiar with the unfamiliar, that inspired her most recent work, Eden, the subject of her spring 2014 solo exhibition at Nature Morte Gallery in New Delhi.

The paintings and sculpture on display at Eden at once epitomize her layered, intricate style while taking on a new subject matter: the real. Kejriwal's work demonstrates a shift from the fantastical fiction of the jungle to paintings that depict street scenes from Kolkata, reflecting Kejriwal's personal observations as she studies her native city. She explores the details of the streets' realities, covering her canvas with many overlapping focal points, playing with the viewer's ability to distinguish object from person, and allowing the familiar and the unfamiliar to coexist and blur.

Suhasini Kejriwal, Eden IV, 2012, acrylic on canvas, 183 x 305 cm.

Suhasini Kejriwal, The Thinker, 2013, acrylic on canvas, 60 x 48".

Referencing art history in her work

Kejriwal enjoys referencing art history in her pieces, a reflection of her education. In doing so, she adds to the many layers of detail that comprise her work. The title of her Spring 2014 solo show Eden, for example, is both a biblical reference as well as one to Kolkata's cricket grounds. She may also be referencing her own prior works, many of which handled beautiful foliage and jungles with dark details lurking through the colors. She describes this conversation her work has with other artists quite natural to painting, and seems to enjoy engaging in it.

View of Exhibition Eden at Nature Morte, New Delhi

Use of extreme detail, strong colors, and lines

From her sculpture to her paintings, Suhasini Kejriwal's work allows the eye to feast on detail, presenting many parts that together create a whole. She gives her viewers little respite, requiring the observer to move from one overlapping detail to the next.

When she works in color, she uses a bright and broad palate, as in the bright pinks and blues in her 2007 untitled series of jungle reptiles and birds. Even in her more recent work Home, which does not use color so liberally, the viewer's eye jumps from a child's blue towel draped over his shoulder to the bright green upholstery covers of a bicycle rickshaw to torn, red streaks of an old advertisement on a wall. When she works in black and white, she uses lines and details to carry the viewer to various points on the canvas, as with her use of the filigree line to depict intertwining foliage in her 2006 untitled piece, as well as the variety of shapes and lines in her more recent 2010 untitled piece depicting a man and a boy in a cigarette shop.

Suhasini Kejriwal, Home, 2013, acrylic on canvas, 60 x 48".

Sculpture as a new medium

While Kejriwal earned her MFA in London, she began experimenting with sculpture. Early sculptures include cacti of mixed media, with budding flowers, clusters of needles, and colorful leaves, as well as a fiberglass, wire, and resin sculpture of a pink flower and a flat leaf. Sculpture is now part of her repertoire and is often layered and quite detailed. Her recent exhibition Eden in New Delhi displayed a sculpture as its central work: a fiberglass pyramid with a base of discarded consumer goods such as sandals and cheap bricks, a center of fruits and vegetables resembling a vegetable cart in a market, and an apex made of children's toys. Titled Monument, the 8-foot sculpture seems epitomize many of Kejriwal's themes: it references the other paintings in the room, it connects each painting to itself because of its subject matter, and ties together many parts in a continuous line upwards.

Suhasini Kejriwal, Monument, 2014, fibreglass and acrylic paint, dimensions variable.

Bibliography