“VARQ: Sona, Chandi, Tamba”
Nature Morte is pleased to present a solo exhibition of new paintings by the New Delhi artist Mona Rai. In a cultural context known predominantly for figurative art, Mona Rai has remained steadfastly committed to abstraction throughout her long career as a painter (her first solo show was in Delhi in 1974). “Varq: Sona, Chandi, Tamba” declares the foundation for a suite of new works that are ambitious in scale, materials, and approach. A grid of metallic leafs (gold, silver or copper) acts as the structure for each of these large paintings, then manipulated by the artist to arrive at multiple destinations. With the addition of paint, mirrors, fabrics, and strings, Rai crafts elaborately detailed surfaces that resemble exotic textiles, kaleidoscopic vistas, ancient mosaics and antique veneers. In works composed of multiple panels, they recall Japanese screens and city lights; in single-canvas works the references include carpets, tapestries and even gardens. The works seem to glow from within and Rai’s touch is both delicate and assured, resulting in astonishing levels of variety and subtlety in the works. In the end, geometry battles an organic fecundity and painting becomes something both architectural and commemorative.