Chitra Ganesh. Away From the Watcher

7 Jun 2024 – 12 Jul 2024

Regular hours

10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00

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Hales is delighted to announce Away From the Watcher, Chitra Ganesh's second solo exhibition with the gallery. In the first exhibition dedicated to Ganesh's print works, the show brings together linoleum cuts, digital prints, and screen prints made over the past decade, highlighting this integral strand of her practice. Ganesh is currently featured in the Sydney Biennale (through 10 June 2024) and will be included in the Bangkok Biennale opening in October. Her first comprehensive monograph will be published by Distanz this summer, along with a major multi-disciplinary public commission by Art at Amtrak in Penn Station New York and Moynihan Hall opening this July.

Ganesh (b. 1975 Brooklyn, New York, USA) has over a twenty-year practice developed an expansive body of work rooted in drawing and painting, which has evolved to encompass printmaking, immersive installation, animation, collage, and sculpture. Her multidisciplinary practice and expansive visual grammar weave together influences as diverse as feminist iconography, science fiction, surrealism, and South Asian visual culture.  Ganesh subverts potent visual imagery and collective iconographies, seeking to disrupt conventions of gender, sexuality and power. Her works center empowered femme subjects and speculative storytelling, where "the female figure functions as a vehicle for transmitting visions of alternate presents and futures." [1]

The exhibition takes its title, Away From the Watcher, from a piece in the four-part series Architects of the Future (2014)The works on view draw upon rich histories of politically engaged printmaking and graphic art, evoking a lineage of artists, such as Elizabeth Catlett, Emory Douglas, Franz Masereel, and Nancy Spero. Complex layered worlds are created through distinct processes, materiality, and textural surface. Digital prints in rich colors speak to popular culture and comic book imagery whereas black and white linocuts nod to the medium's historic use within social and political movements. In imagined universes, Ganesh depicts a time outside of our socio political and geopolitical sphere, drawing the viewer into a space for personal and collective discovery. Through the lens of history, literature and science fiction, Ganesh considers a longer arc of time where non-linear narratives are set in expanded futures.

Ganesh's engagement with textuality is a key anchor for the works on view. Her own poetic texts, developed through a process of automatic writing, appear throughout in speech and thought bubbles. This commitment to language also informs Sultana's Dream (2018), her provocative interpretation of seminal 1905 feminist utopian text written by an early Bengali writer and social reformer, Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain. Sultana's Dream is created in a print form that has been historically foundational to the idea of public discourse and, in the artist's own words, 'comments through form and content on this fraught moment in world history, demonstrating the enduring relevance of feminist utopic imaginaries in offering an invaluable means of envisioning a more just world.' [2]

Architects of the Future draws on visual languages of futurity from the 1960s and 1970s, and combines epic myth with futurism.  Multiverse Dreaming (2020-2021) is a suite of twelve prints, forming a complete comic series which considers the power of collective dreams and consciousness. Both Architects of the Future and Multiverse Dreaming take the long running comic book series Amar Chitra Katha (immortal picture stories)as a point of departure to present a focus on themes of reflection, regeneration, togetherness, and desire in times of uncertainty.[3]

Large scale works from 2023 depart from the seriality of comics to situate the viewer in a singularly immersive scene. Protagonists exist in energetic connection with environment and alchemy, and experience transformative states of becoming. In composition and concept, the works are in conversation with art historical themes such as surrealism and the sublime. Ganesh's speculative iconography explores temporalities and liminal spaces between life and death to reveal both the precarity and generative possibility of our contemporary every day.  

Works presented in Away From the Watcher have received broad institutional recognition, exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art; Contemporary Calgary, Alberta, Canada; Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Art, Miami FL; Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, St. Louis, MO; Sharjah Art Foundation, Dubai, UAE; Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi, India; and the Bronx Museum of the Arts and others. Collectively, the editions in this exhibition have been collected by numerous museums internationally including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, NY; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA; Whitney Museum of American Art, NY; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington DC, among others. 

Ganesh's work has been widely exhibited in the United States and internationally, select solo shows include Brooklyn Museum, NY, USA; The Kitchen, NY, USA; Contemporary Calgary, Canada; Rubin Museum of Art, NY, USA; Gothenburg Kunsthalle, Sweden; MoMA PS1, NY, USA; and Andy Warhol Museum, PA, USA. Her work has been exhibited in important group exhibitions at Whitney Museum of American Art, NY, USA; Baltimore Museum of Art, MD, USA; The Queens Museum of Art, NY, USA; Hayward Gallery, London, UK; New Art Gallery Walsall, UK; Sharjah Art Foundation, UAE; ZKM Center for Art and Media, Germany; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Shanghai, China; Museum of Art and Photography, Bangalore, India; National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul, Korea, among others. Her work has been included in many international biennials, including the Kochi Biennial, India; the Dhaka Art Summit, Bangladesh; Hawai'i Triennial; Asian Art Biennial, Taichung, Taiwan; and the Sydney Biennial, among others.

Ganesh's work is represented in prominent  international collections including the Museum of Modern Art, NY, USA; Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, CA, USA; Art Institute of Chicago, IL, USA; San Jose Museum of Art, CA, USA; Baltimore Museum of Art, MD, USA; Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, CA, USA; Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, PA, USA; Kiran Nadar Museum, Delhi, India; Samdani Foundation, Dhaka Bangladesh; Saatchi Collection, London, UK; Sun Pride Foundation Hong Kong; Ishara Foundation, Dubai, UAE, among others.   

Ganesh is the recipient of numerous fellowships and awards, including a Ford Foundation Individual Artist Grant (2022) Anonymous Was a Woman Award (2021), Art Matters Grant (2020),  the Pollock Krasner Foundation (2018); the Hodder Fellowship from the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University (2017); the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship in the Creative Arts (2012); the Joan Mitchell Foundation Award for Painters and Sculptors (2010) and many others.    

Exhibiting artistsToggle

Chitra Ganesh


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