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Artist Crush: Suchitra Mattai

March 28th, 2011 · No Comments

Suchitra Mattai is a Guyana-born, Denver-based artist whose work is currently on view at grayDUCK gallery in Austin. I was immediately drawn to the color in her work: the flashes of florescent pinks, oranges, blues and greens. It’s one thing to use bright colors but it’s another to use them well, with meaning, which Mattai does. Suchitra uses color to highlight the interwoven and sometimes clashing patterns and cultural symbols (airplanes, babies, ski lifts, telephone polls) in her work and to provide a sense of absurdity.

My most recent drawings and installations involve a playful destabilization of the utopian ideals implicit within contemporary American self- understanding. I offer a subtle critique of our social ideologies while simultaneously acknowledging the basic human need for meaning and purpose. Formally speaking, my imagery derives from a multitude of sources, such as memory, popular culture, fairytales, Indian textiles, Persian miniatures, and Japanese prints.

The landscapes that ensue betray a precarious sense of unity woven together through the webs of pattern, ornament, and empty space. The fragmentary and disoriented effects of this synthesis serve as a metaphor for the fragility, and oftentimes, the absurdity of the social-political ideas of our times and the psychological confusion that follows.