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Sheela Gowda, Yamini Nayar – Arrested Views (Works)

Selected Works

Sheela Gowda, Yamini Nayar

Sheela Gowda, Yamini Nayar – Arrested Views
April 7 – May 9, 2009

Sheela Gowda, Yamini Nayar – Arrested Views Press Release

Thomas Erben is pleased to present a two-person exhibition, which juxtaposes new photoworks by Yamini Nayar with Private Gallery, a 1999 sculptural installation by Sheela Gowda, which was part of How Latitudes Become Forms, a seminal show at the Walker Art Center in 2003.

Both artists involve extensive research in their process, with Gowda condensing content through the formal outcome and Nayar articulating a territorialized space wherein fragments recombine, engendering multiple, parallel readings.

Sheela Gowda’s Private Gallery presents us with a large, rectangular structure of two Formica “faux marble” sheets, set into a corner to allow on each side a narrow passage. In the interior, the viewer is confronted with painted references to canonized genres: vistas seen from the artist’s car, a still life, portraits of domestic workers, migrants from other regions of India to the city and some part of the artist’s household. The conscious positioning of the artist within the work’s articulation is echoed in the way she constructs the viewing situation to physically engage the visitor. With a similar aim, she evokes conflicting reactions through the proximity of thumb-sized pads of cow dung wallpapered on the inside of the structure. For Gowda, the nod to minimalism, as well as her conceptual use of materials, are key aspects in this work and of her practice.

For her photoworks, Yamini Nayar wryly builds transitional objects and architectural spaces out of found and raw materials. Therein, through process and image fragments, she combines references from early to mid 20th century historical sources exploring themes of cultural ambiguity. The exhibited photographs articulate a formal language within states of flux. They are carefully structured, yet open ended, engaging levels of recognition as a device to hold the image. Truth and meaning are historically linked to both the history of photography and vision itself. We have learned that photography’s “truth” is malleable; however, can we suppress assigning meaning? Without the need to arrest it, Nayar works within exactly this dichotomy.

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