A public garden & cultural center

Chitra Ganesh

Outcasts: Women in the Wilderness
Glyndor Gallery | April 8–July 9, 2017

Pictured above:
Untitled, 2017
Mixed-media on paper and canvas
Courtesy of the artist and Gallery Wendi Norris, San Francisco, CA

Chitra Ganesh creates collage-and-drawing installations that refer to global icons, science fiction, comics and Hindu and Buddhist iconography. Her work draws upon mythological narratives that center feminine bodies as reaffirming, empowering resistance figures. Forms embody a politics of subversion and queer identities, evoked through the abstracted and contorted dimensions of the female figure. In a provocative, witty and nonlinear way, Ganesh disrupts the historically white European-American art canon by interjecting the traditionally missing presence of brown women.

As seen in the new work she created for this exhibition, Ganesh’s resistance to patriarchal constructions parallels Nancy Spero’s La Folie III and references to Kali, the Hindu goddess of feminine power associated with sexuality, creativity, death and violence. A captivating, matriarchal eroticism is evident in the gestures of catharsis revealed by Ganesh’s emphatic goddesses. The artist makes transparent the historical canon’s ineptitude in portraying South Asian women. She notes that the “visual vocabulary of resistance that accrues great beauty and power in our image-dominated age” is not matched by conventional portrayals of women.

Ganesh’s use of photographic images from mass media activates the relationship between antiquated historical figures with contemporary media. She unearths missing archival images that serve as portals to a collective, diasporic memory and, disrupts myths to reclaims cultural figures and representations.

Chitra Ganesh’s drawings, installations, text-based work and collaborations excavate narratives typically absent from official canons of history, literature and art. Her work has been exhibited widely, at the Queens Museum, Asia Society, Berkeley Art Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston, with solo presentations at MoMA PS1 and the Andy Warhol Museum. She has held residencies at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Headlands Center for the Arts, Smack Mellon and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Ganesh has received fellowships from Art Matters Foundation, Joan Mitchell Foundation for Painting and Sculpture and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. She earned a BA from Brown University in comparative literature and art semiotics and an MFA from Columbia University.

Support for the Visual Arts Program is provided by Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc., Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, New York Community Trust Edward and Sally Van Lier Fund, New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation, and by the Cathy and Stephen Weinroth Commissioning Fund for the Arts.