SHARMISTHA RAY, Mythic Beings, Oil on canvas, 72 x 96 inches, 2015
Sharmistha Ray Studio unveiled Mythic Beings, the first figurative painting by the artist at the fourth edition of Bellevue Salons held at the artist’s studio in Mumbai last Friday. The painting combines the figurative and abstract modes in the artist’s practice to explore themes of gender, self-discovery and representations of beauty. Well-known performing musicians Joi Barua and Geetu Unplugged were invited to compose and perform original songs around the key themes.
“Bellevue Salons started as a way to empower the artist to engage directly with a selected public,” says Sharmistha Ray. “There aren’t many social spaces in the city that elicit meaningful engagement about art. The salon is a conduit to thinking more innovatively about sharing a body of work at different stages of its development, rather than at the very end.”
Prominent personalities from the city’s culturati gathered at the artist’s studio on Friday evening for an exclusive viewing of a large oil painting depicting a monolithic nude flanked by recognizable icons from Indian, Asian and western cultures. “As a painter, I’ve always been fascinated by the scale and ambition of western history painting to capture a Zeitgeist,” says Ray. “Mythic Beings is predicated on the problematic intersections of female identity with culture, history, sexuality and modes of representation in our society at this very moment. I hope this series, which has its beginning with this painting, forces us to look at ourselves more critically.”
Sharmistha Ray is a Mumbai and New York-based contemporary artist with numerous international solo and group exhibitions under her belt. The recipient of notable awards including a TED Fellowship (2009) and Montblanc Young Artist World Patronage (2012), Ray has also worked on special art projects with leading institutions and corporates like Berklee College of Music, JSW, The Godrej Group and Mahindra & Mahindra. She is an occasional art writer and founder of Bellevue Salons, a mobile cross-cultural salon that aims to augment participatory modes of engagement with contemporary art in surprising new ways.