The Embryonic Plants and Otherworlds
10 Chancery Lane Gallery is excited to present the first Hong Kong solo exhibition of female Indian artist Sonia Mehra Chawla, The Embryonic Plants and Otherworlds, in which she will exhibit a new series of paintings and videos that explores the passage of nature's cycle and the temporal flow of birth and regeneration.
For philosopher Michel Foucault, "heterotopias" designates real or imagined spaces of escape/departure, transformation, or revelation. The works explore a world or existence beyond earthly reality: The other realms of existence. The imagery is inspired by macro images of human anatomy and single-celled organisms, which are exquisite in their ornamental morphology, and displaying complex patterns of growth, reproduction, movement and mutability.
For Mehra Chawla, within the simple configurations of the single-celled organisms, the entire mechanics of evolution is revealed. She revisits the ideas of sensuous exuberance with an underlying sense of desire and decay, layers within the cyclical layers of life, forms within forms, worlds within worlds. In this latest series of paintings, the female form has an uncompromising centrality in the work, where the woman's body is at the centre of love, life cycles and decay in a surface populated with hybrids of plant, flower, animal, and polyp. It is within this constellation that organic composites calibrated between ripeness and rottenness exists, blurring the lines between human, animal, plant and object to produce complex emblems of sexuality. Images of beauty and exuberance are infused with a sense of the macabre and both time and space are impregnated with a sense of heightened reality.
Sonia Mehra Chawla (b. 1977, Kolkata, India) received her Bachelors Degree in Painting in 2001, and Masters Degree in Painting in 2004 from College of Art, New Delhi. Mehra Chawla has participated in studio-based projects at Tate Modern London, and in Public Art Projects at Khoj International Artists Organization, New Delhi and ET4U Contemporary Visual Art Projects, Denmark. She was a part of a year-long residency at Atelier 2221 printmaking and Edition studio in 2001-2002.
Chawla is the recipient of several prestigious awards including the National Award for Painting in 2004-2005, Lalit Kala Akademi, National Academy of Art, India, and National Scholarship, Ministry of Culture, India in 2004. Recent collection includes Kunst der Gegenwart, ESSL MUSEUM, (Museum of Contemporary Art), Austria.
The Embryonic Plants and Otherworlds is the first Hong Kong solo exhibition of Mehra Chawla and is her second showing at 10 Chancery Lane Gallery, after the group exhibition The Second Sex in 2009.