Sundaram Tagore New York brings together two established artists well known for their innovative use of materials: Indian-born Sohan Qadri and Israeli-American Nathan Slate Joseph.
Sohan Qadri (1932-2011), who spent much of his working life in Copenhagen, Denmark, was a poet, painter and Tantric yogi. He is considered one of the world's preeminent spiritual artists. Deeply influenced by Buddhism and the act of painting as part of meditation, he created brightly colored abstract works on heavy paper that combine Tantric symbols and Western minimalism.
Qadri abandoned representation early on in his long career, instead focusing on abstraction as a means to achieve transcendence. He would bathe paper in water and once it was swollen with liquid, he would rhythmically serrate, puncture and score the surface with various gouging and cutting tools as part of his meditation practice. Imbued with inks and dyes in vibrant hues, the serrated surfaces take on a sculptural quality and appear to pulse with energy and rhythm. In Qadri’s hands, the very nature of paper was transformed from a flat, two-dimensional surface into a three-dimensional medium.
The work in this show represents the last great body of paintings Sohan Qadri produced before his death. Sundaram Tagore Gallery has recently placed work from this collection in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto and the Zimmerli Museum in New Jersey.
Sohan Qadri was born in 1932 in Punjab, India. He received his MFA from the Government College of Art in Simla, India. In 1965, he left India and traveled through East Africa, North America and Europe. He eventually settled in Copenhagen where he lived for forty years. His work is included in the Peabody Essex Museum, Massachusetts; the Rubin Museum of Art, New York; and the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi; as well as the private collections of Cirque du Soleil, Heinrich Böll and Dr. Robert Thurman.
In 2011, the noted Italian publisher Skira published the monograph Sohan Qadri: The Seer, the definitive record of the artist's work since the 1950s.
Nathan Slate Joseph, who has been an integral part of the New York School of Art for more than forty years, blurs the boundaries between painting and sculpture. Well known for his raw and tactile works that allude to issues of globalization, immigration and climate change, Joseph welds recycled steel plates into intricate, dimensional arrangements.
Joseph begins his creative process by collecting discarded steel shards. After staining them with raw pigment and acid, he exposes them to outside weather conditions. In the process, the steel acquires a unique, rich patina and varied textures. Joseph then cuts the steel plates into various shapes with an acetylene torch and then spot-welds them together.
The rich, saturated colors of Joseph’s work reference his international roots. Born in Israel to an Austrian father and a mother whose family originated in Afghanistan and Uzbekistan, he settled in New York City in the early 1960s. Much like contemporaries Frank Stella, Carl Andre and John Chamberlain, Joseph began his career by experimenting with scrap metal and other found objects. A shift toward his dramatic color palette was inspired by a visit to Mexico in the 1970s and consolidated Joseph’s contribution to the junk art movement.
Nathan Slate Joseph has collaborated with the renowned architect Adam Tihany on multiple projects, and his work is installed at Jean Georges at the Trump International Hotel, New York; Inagiku at the Waldorf-Astoria, New York; and the Dan Eilat Hotel, Eilat, Israel. He was awarded an Art in Architecture Award from the American Institute of Architects in 2003 for his work on the Harlem Patchwork Building.
Notable private collectors include artist John Chamberlain, singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell, and chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. His paintings have been acquired by the Art in Embassies Program, Washington, DC, for United States embassies in Cyprus, Mexico and Turkey. His work was most recently acquired by the Zimmerli Museum in New Jersey.