WHERE SHE COMES FROM
Ashwini Bhat, Janhavi Khemka, Neha Puri Dhir, Falaks Vasa and Kushala Vora
Curated by Pia Singh
Oct. 3-28, 2022
"Where She Comes From" traces the corporeal experience of five femme artists from India, with varying degrees of connection to America. Questioning the material and ideological place from 'where' they take their stand, works on view explore the nature of being in-between two, embodying the ‘both/and’ while acknowledging the fractured, precarious nature of state and social hegemonies.
Collectively navigating spatiotemporal relationships in relation to identity, the artists research culminates in forms of writing, sculpture, photography, textile, performance and video, creating a bio-psycho-social terrain where viewers are asked to step away from anthropologizing the (former) third-world female figure. As the effects of environmental racism and colonialism continue to unjustifiably impact bodies of color, how can we bear witness through the metaphysical, mythological, spiritual, and ecological frameworks s/he relates to? Could s/he be a site beyond gender, a diviner between past and future? Is s/he an embodiment of radical hope and dissonance, or a site between the speculative and the scientific?
Kushala Vora is a dreamer, community organizer and an interdisciplinary artist working in sculpture and drawing. In and through her practice she loosens the exertion of power on oneself, another and the landscape that we reside with. Kushala received her Master of Fine Arts from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She holds a postgraduate diploma in Modern and Contemporary Indian Art History and Curatorial Studies from Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum in Mumbai. Her work has been exhibited at Museum of Fine Arts, Nagoya, Japan; Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit; Mana Contemporary, Chicago; Harvard University, Cambridge; Chicago Artist Coalition among other places. She has been an artist in residence at Skowhegan School of Painting and Drawing, Vermont Studio Center, ACRE Residency, Søndre Green Farm Norway, Chicago Artist Coalition and Anderson Ranch Art Center. She is the cofounder of Atmo, a reading + praxis forum.
After 35 years in Southern India, Ashwini Bhat lives and works in the California Bay Area. Coming from a background in literature and classical Indian dance, Bhat now works at the intersection of sculpture, ceramics, installation, video, and performance. She often introduces radical but somewhat familiar forms to suggest a complex interplay between the landscape and the body, the human and the non-human. Bhat is a recipient of the Howard Foundation Award for Sculpture, Pond Farm Julia Terr Fellowship, and the McKnight Foundation Residency Fellowship. She is represented by Shoshana Wayne Gallery, Los Angeles.
Falaks (they/she, b. 1995) is, first and foremost, a goof and a fool, both in being and in practice. They seek, channel, and produce joy for and with those whose Joy has been systemically stolen. Falaks is, second and scoremost, an interdisciplinary artist, writer, and educator currently based in Providence, Rhode Island. She graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with a BFA (2018), and is currently an MFA candidate in Literary Arts at Brown University (2023). They have also attended artist residencies at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (2018) and ACRE (2017). Falaks has published a chapbook of poetry with the unnamed zine project, worked at the Brooklyn Children's Museum as an educator, and shown their artwork internationally at spaces like Elastic Arts, Chicago, the Queens Museum, New York City, the Queer Arts Festival, Vancouver, and Danzkafe Sowieso, the Hague.
Born in 1993 in Varanasi, Janhavi Khemka is an interdisciplinary artist in India and Chicago. She attends the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in pursuit of a master of fine arts degree in print media. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Painting and printmaking from the Faculty of Visual Art, Banaras Hindu University in Varanasi, India (2015) and a Master of Fine Art in printmaking from Graphics Kala Bhavan, Visva Bharati University in Shantiniketan (2017). She has participated in a number of international and national exhibitions, and print exchanges.
Neha Puri Dhir
Neha Puri Dhir is a textile artist from India, exploring various resist dyeing techniques on hand-woven textiles since 2013. Having worked extensively with the Indian craft sector, Neha has been passionate about design education since graduating from the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, India, in 2007. She then pursued a Master's in Strategic Design at Politecnico di Milano, Italy (2008) and attended a one-year program in MA Design for Textile Futures at Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design, London (2010). She has showcased her work in solo and group exhibitions in both India and Canada, Mexico, Latvia, USA, Australia and Portugal. Her work has been acquired by the Bass Collection (USA), Tapi Collection (India) and Mark Rothko Art Center (Latvia).
See, Shade, Shape
Aug. 22-Sept. 25, 2022
Monika Plioplyte is presenting a collection of drawings, prints, and collages -- a body of work that began developing during Covid lockdown in 2020 as a way to respond to recurring but blurry fragmented bits of her dreaming mind that were defying all narrative logic, trying to make sense of the bizarre and uncertain pandemic reality. Daily, she began to obsessively create patterns out of inkblots by folding paper over and over again. The resulting drawings became a material for mixed media collage works which were arrayed around and created on her studio floor. Thinking about symbols, the body, the striking symmetry of inkblots, and the various interpretations they conjure has led Plioplyte to playfully invent her own interlanguage that communicates through an accidental code, whether it's the unexpected expressions of inkblot, or her own body as a sigil. Her daily walking meditation around these pieces on her studio floor connected to her ongoing interest in ancient labyrinths that were believed to trap malevolent spirits or act as defined paths for ritual dances; which resulted in her own type of labyrinth-like installation.
The poem incorporated in this exhibition is from the publication "The Inkblot Record" by Dan Farrell published by Coach House Books in the 2000s. Monika discovered this poem around the same time she began creating the inkblot drawings and has turned to this poem frequently over the past few years for inspiration.