SPELL: Sandeep Mukherjee Works on Display in Nichols Gallery

Claremont, Calif. (December 20, 2007) Known for his mural-scale, lushly colored paintings, engineer-turned-artist Sandeep Mukherjee has concocted an exhibition of paintings and drawings made specifically for the Pitzer Art Galleries. Serene and hypnotic, this exhibition is appropriately named Spell.

Spell, however, is a striking departure from previous exhibitions by the artist. Withheld is the rich floral effusion of color by which he is known. Instead we see the razor sharp elegance of the work’s restraint. Restricting his palette to black and white, Mukherjee’s new work is striking in its frugality but expansive in its reach. Three massive horizontal works, that function in concert as well as singly, allude to the natural landscape but never conspicuously. The paintings pivot back and forth between the tangible and the ethereal, pushing and pulling between figuration and abstraction. The result is a tension between the pastoral and fantastic that attracts viewers with its peculiar magnetism.

Spanning three walls, each enormous panel—the largest measuring 13 feet wide—is made from a translucent vellum material resembling tracing paper. Mukherjee’s meticulous process involves the use of acrylic ink that is painted, blown, and dropped upon the surface of the works before being removed and reapplied. A sculptural aspect is created as the vellum is folded and creased into a series of pleats that weave their way across the surface in multiple directions suggesting a dissonant accordion. The effect produced—wide expanses of virgin vellum and fields of flat color with a jagged undulating surface—excites and confuses the tension of the surface, intensifying the kinship of the visual and the tactile.

Sandeep Mukherjee was born in India in 1964 where he attended Manipal Institute of Technology earning a BS in industrial engineering and operations in 1986. In 1988, he received his MS in industrial engineering and operations research from the University of California, Berkley. Later, he went on to earn his BFA from Otis College of Art and Design in 1996 and his MFA from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1999. Mukherjee has exhibited in many group exhibitions, including, Humor us, Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, Barnsdall Art Park (2007); Rouge Wave, L.A. Louver Gallery, Venice, California (2007); Darling, take Fountain, Kalfaya Gallery, Athens, Greece (2007); and Symmetry, The MAK Center at the Schindler House, Los Angeles (2007). Mukherjee has participated in many solo exhibitions, including Sister Gallery, Los Angeles, California (2005); Pomona College Museum of Art, Claremont, California (2004); and Margo Leavin Gallery, Los Angeles, California (2002). Mukherjee has been the recipient of many awards, including the Fietelson Arts Foundation Scholarship (1999); the Werner Hirsch Award, UCLA (1997); and the Ellen Battell Stoeckel Fellowship, Yale University (1995). Sandeep Mukherjee is assistant professor of art and art history at Pomona College and currently lives in Los Angeles.

For more information contact Pitzer Art Galleries at [email protected] or (909) 607-3143.

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