“Landscapes of the Colorado Plateau is a body of work that brings together the vast, verdant and wildly varied expanses of this regional treasure that stretches across the United States’ Four Corners. It is a region that has irrevocably inspired artists, writers and poets all over the world as well as the region’s earliest settlers (and surely those native tribes before them). Alternatively it has been a recurring subject and object; an ideal of constantly transforming beauty that artists like Maynard Dixon and Georgia O’Keefe have come to epitomize and in the process have subsequently extended Modernism under the spell of the West.
Enter Sangeeta Reddy, who’s precocious interest in Van Gogh had her copying the Dutch artist’s black and white reproductions in color at the tender age of five. Her mother, a classically trained sitar player (a student of the Maestro Ravi Shankar) and avid gardener and her father, a photographer and photography enthusiast encouraged her early on in their hillside house that overlooked Hyderabad, a rocky South Indian city of about 1.2 million around the 1960’s (it is now over seven-million). In the middle of what became an informal gathering hub for India’s top classical musicians including Ravi Shankar who regularly frequented their home and played impromptu concerts there, her musician mother, amateur photographer father naturally encouraged their daughter artistically. Reddy received her Bachelor of Arts in English literature with a minor in Philosophy at Mumbai’s Sophia College, before taking up fine art. She married and moved to the United States in 1972 in a move that dramatically impacted her aesthetic concerns. Reddy enrolled at Denver’s Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design and pursued the figure in her paintings as well as a kind of abstract Sanskrit calligraphy that emerged and submerged out of what became Reddy’s pursuit of abstraction emphasized by rough-hewn surfaces, unconventional materials and content fueled by Reddy’s command of color and form as well as a connection to humanity, revealing the grittier and darker side of it as projected in the media.
Color and form have been the signature of Sangeeta Reddy’s aesthetic vision; one that has become increasingly grounded in a purification of intent by way of reduction. This quality is best viewed in the artist’s monotypes where both elements are combined to astonishing effect, producing a radiant light with color and form that verges on the sublime. Reddy’s Modernism is one that is inflected by the colors, vantage points, childhood memories and architecture of India’s marvelously, diverse, rugged, chaotic and poetic terrain, yet its soul is forever governed by those voices of ancient Indian philosophy, whose abstract notions of spirituality and God have been a constant underlying impulse.
All of the above qualities—Reddy’s colorful upbringing, the atmosphere of music that she absorbed, the family garden that she continually re-arranged, the inevitable life experience, and the education— combine in her debut exhibition of landscapes as well as her debut exhibition on the West Coast in all of their complexity, uncertainty, clarity and inventiveness: Throughout the last two decades, Reddy has traveled extensively throughout this region, both with artists, her family, friends and alone as she catalogs, documents and sketches these stretches that straddle New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona and Utah. It is upon this occasion that she has amassed a body of work that, between their organic, rhythmic and undulating forms, color (Reddy’s main character) bursts out from these monuments and monumental stretches that reinvigorate what a vision for a Modernism of the West is in the twenty-first century, adding mostly, that one of its legacies; the embodiment of a pure state of mind, where the essences of nature and humanity combine to formulate an artist’s singular vision, are very much alive and well. Through the vital interaction of color and geometries that make up the artist’s abstracted landscapes, we see the artist firmly championing the very structures of what makes us tick. Reddy states that, “…for the first time, the physical object is the physical object. It’s the first time in any of my work I’m dealing with depth and volume and movement, although they sometimes merge and change: the front gets flattened the physical becomes the metaphysical.”
For more information and work, please visit the artist’s website at: www.sangeetareddyart.com
The information above has been written specifically for Homesthetics and sent to us trough email along with the photos by Pranay Reddy; photo courtesy to Sangeeta Reddy