we are all islands comprises painting, drawing, sculpture, photography and installations. Ray’s new body of work marks a new conceptual direction for the artist, unveiling a bold merger of concepts and practices she has been experimenting with over the last few years. Solo exhibition at Nine Fish Art Gallery. Mumbai, 1 October – 6 November, 2016.
Seasons of Wildflowers is the largest of the ‘wildflowers’ paintings, a thematic concern for Ray since 2013. The wildflowers are an extension of the ‘crushed flowers’ series she began the year prior. While both series derive from the symbolism of flowers, the nature of the painterly strokes are markedly different between the painterly subsets. Ray remodels the flower through a feminist lens, fragmenting wholeness into kaleidoscopes of color and gesture. Private Commission, 2016.
On the Seashore of Endless Worlds is Sharmistha Ray’s first painted sculptural installation. Inspired by the eponymous poem by Rabindranath Tagore, Ray transforms the hard industrial metal of steel into a sensory three – dimensional painting for public art space. Commissioned by JSW for the occasion of Kala Ghoda Arts Festival. Mumbai, 7 – 15 February, 2015.
la mer reveals a trajectory of Sharmistha Ray’s formal and conceptual concerns highlighting the connection between gendered and organic representations and their deeper philosophical roots that point to the transitory nature of experience. Exhibited by The Loft at India Art Fair. New Delhi, 29 January – 1 February, 2015.
In Search of Rainbows is a new painting in a rich impasto that employs the color spectrum to open up new aesthetic, formal and conceptual directions for the artist. Symbolizing unity in diversity, the rainbow is also a universal signifier of hope and freedom for people around the world. This painting provides the inspiration for a light installation by Ray with the same moniker, exhibited in we are all islands a few years later. Studio painting, 2014.
Cursory Glances is a site-specific installation with painted elements in which the erotic body is magnified for display in a commercial shop window. In a direct, yet understated, challenge to the illusion of contemporary beauty – bound as it is with material culture of finery and fashion – is the erotic body, unadorned, with just its skin on display. Commissioned by WAA (What About Art?) for Palladium Mall. Mumbai, 2014.
Return to Innocence is a large triptych painting that interprets the theme of spiritual awakening akin to moving through a panorama of color and sensation: from a deep, dark forest of broad gestures and sombre hues to a bright, neon-esque color field of quick inflections of paint. Private Commission, 2014.
Higher State of Consciousness is a large diptych painting in which the artist expresses duality as a meditative state in which complex polarities coexist in eternal balance. Sahasrāra and Maṇipūra chakras are represented by the associative chromatic spectrum. Private Commission, 2014.
Liberation is a time-lapse video in which the artist renders a representation of the female body with charcoal and ink washes in a continuous three hours of drawing is synthesized into a few minutes. Capturing Ray’s gestures, the camera embeds the viewer in the space as both viewer/voyeur. This video was produced by Gaysi Family as a public service announcement for their YouTube channel on gender and sexuality. Mumbai, August 2014.
Sweet Surrender comprises of recent paintings that canvas Ray’s concern with the interstitial spaces between abstraction and figuration, returning again to the idiomatic landscape as primary subject. A collective series of non-literal events, moods and spaces together form a mnemonic archive for the spirit of a place. Solo exhibition at Galerie Steph. Singapore, 14 January – 01 March, 2014.
Touched by Bhupen commemorates the artist Bhupen Khakhar’s work and continuing relevance on the tenth anniversary of his death. It brings together works specially made for the occasion by 26 artists whose lives have been touched by Khakhar in some way. Group exhibition at Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke and Galerie Max Mueller. Mumbai, 30 November 2013 – 06 January, 2014.
Reflections + Transformations is an exploration of the metaphysical emergence of the autonomous female in transitioning states between abstraction and the figure. Alternating between layers of ambiguity and suggestion, the reflexive voice emerges at times in the form of naked flesh, and at other times, it is fugitively buried under paint. Solo exhibition at Aicon Gallery. New York, 24 October – 30 November, 2013.
States of Arousal marks the artist’s return to figuration after more than a decade. The ubiquitous and solitary female nude depicted in graphic tones departs from the overt sensuality of the paintings, laterally entering into zones of realism. Exhibited as part of the Solo exhibition Reflections + Transformations at Aicon. New York, 24 October – 30 November, 2013.
OUT/OFF is an exhibition bringing together artists engaged with Indian textiles within the unconventional space of a well-known textile store in Mumbai. The exhibited paintings Crushed Flowers and A Midsummer Night’s Dream blur the boundaries between painting and textiles with their color patterning, surface qualities and tactility. Group exhibition organized by Chameleon Art Projects. Mumbai, 27 February – 31 March, 2013.
The Valley of Eternal Blessings exists in the liminal space where “occidental” and “oriental” genealogies related to spirituality and the afterlife overlap. Painted during a challenging period of a paternal grandparent’s decline and passing, this deeply personal painting re-imagines the afterlife as a valley of darkness and light through which the soul travels in its journey across time/space. Exhibited by Aicon at India Art Fair. New Delhi, 25 – 29 January, 2013.
Their Blood Is On The Wall was a one-day intervention at a derelict warehouse in an industrial compound in Mumbai. Ray woke up at that morning to the news of the school shooting in Connecticut, to whose young victims she dedicated the temporary structure. The gesture plants the seed for later works by the artist that address social memory. Organised by India Culture Lab, Godrej Industries. Mumbai, 15th December, 2012.
The Infinite Dome takes the snow-laden landscape of the Alpine mountains as a starting point and transposes the Montblanc five-point star logo upon it in a way such that both layers synthesize into one plane, creating both a physical and metaphorical unity in form and meaning. This painting was commissioned by the Montblanc Young Artist Worldwide Patronage Programme and is now a part of their permanent collection.
The Erotic Impulse 2 is the depiction of an abstract landscape of eros. It predates City of Eros, the second painting made by the artist on the subject in 2013. Oil paint stands in for human skin, expanding and contracting with each encounter. Group exhibition for Mumbai Gallery Weekend. Sponsored by Citibank. Mumbai, 31 March – 1 April, 2012.
hidden geographies references historical styles like Romanticism and Impressionism and the lyrical agency of female vanguard painters, while positing a contrary paradigm to Western art historical ideals. Ray’s metascapes are suspended in time between mythos and reality exposing an intimate topography of the subconscious mind. Solo exhibition at Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke. Mumbai, 18 January – 18 February, 2012.