Nature Morte Berlin is pleased to present a group show of five artists entitled “Speaking in Tongues.” .
On view will be a range of works that use the tools of language, graphics and styles to put forth both individual identities and address larger issues. In each case, the artist employs symbols and images that are inherently hybridized, confused from the start and often loaded with contradictory meanings. This may reflect the subjective viewpoints of the artists but also their personal histories of traveling between and through a variety of cultures and traditions.
Mala Iqbal was born in and currently lives in New York. She received an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1998 and a BA from Columbia University in 1995. Her small-scale paintings evoke plein-air landscape painting, specifically that of the Hudson River School of upstate New York. Yet, her colors and techniques are wholly contemporary, more connected to digital manipulation and urban street art than anything observed in nature. What the eye first interprets as straight-forward scenes of the American wilderness quickly turn suspicious through the artist’s use of synthetic colors and a handling of paint that is full of trickery. Seemingly demure in both their scale and subject, Iqbal’s works are actually sinister reminders of environmental degradation and all human folly.
Bari Kumar was born in 1966 in the central Indian state of Andra Pradesh and has lived in Los Angeles (where he studied at the Otis/Parsons School of Design) since 1985. His life in two distinct places and cultures has informed his painting and choices of iconography. Inspired by Modernist painting, Mexican retablos, Indian miniatures and commercial street signage, the artist crafts puzzles in which identity and language are slippery and elusive. His icons are chosen precisely for their ability to be mis-read when transported to different contexts, making the viewer highly aware of the inherent risks of translation or interpretation of any sort of cultural artifacts.
The work of Aditya Pande achieves a pleasingly demented farce through the collusion of painting, print-making, graphic design, collage and draftsmanship. The artist weaves tangled webs of synthetic line work together on the computer, prints them on to large sheets of paper, then adds small objects, additional drawing and painting, or photo-elements. The result hovers between Abstraction and Figuration, with references to science fiction but also art brut. Aditiya Pande was born in 1976 in the city of Lucknow and now lives and works in New Delhi. He studied both art and design at the prestigious National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad, India.
Samraendra Raj Singh was born in Lucknow, India in 1967 and now lives and works in New Delhi. A student of art history, archaeology and conservation, his paintings are lush composites of imagery taken from a variety of cultural sources. Unabashedly sumptuous and almost psychedelic, the works communicate something of the cacophony of urban India while retaining a sense of the traditional. Vignettes of realistic portraiture are held together by geometric devices, resembling the collage of images and experiences which have come to constitute contemporary life anywhere in the world today.
Grant Stevens was born in Brisbane in 1980 and holds a PhD, BA and BFA from the Queensland University of Technology there. He now divides his time between Los Angeles and Australia. Primarily working in video, on view will be a number of Stevens’ short pieces which use language and images culled from Hollywood cinema. His works tread a fine line between irony and sincerity, examining the psychological and emotional impact of words and phrases as they have been empowered by both marketing acumen and the collective unconscious. Stevens’ works reduce Spectacle to its lowest common denominator; distill both horror and pathos into crystallized forms.