Siji R. Krishnan’s paintings are rich with the texture of the surface that she meticulously prepares with smooth over layering of fine rice paper on canvas. The paper lends an organic quality to the painting that is reminiscent of the brittle quality of dry leaves, and the tautness of stretched hide on amrudangam. The surface lends a sensation of sound that seems to emanate unknowingly from dark empty rooms or from still water bodies. This surface is then layered with gentle tones of pale watercolors. Slowly, as the image assumes intensity, darker layers are added and sometimes scrubbed in, to create undulations on paper, almost like wrinkled skin. The surface arrests the dark interiority of incubatory spaces. This process of modeling with paint is so frail, that it blends and seals into one single surface of cloth paper, as a membrane reverberating with a lot that has been firmly secured in it.
This near sculptural surface is juxtaposed with another flimsy layer, that of approximate projections. Recording sensations of body and its memory, painting, for Krishnan, is a simultaneous act of recovering experiences from the past and chronicling sensations in the present. She neatly blends the figural and the gestural on the paper, the surface resonating a thin film of inferences, like a very fragile projection of dreams under our eyes, while we sleep.
She visualizes this interiority as an abstract space of reflection, concentration, transformations and discoveries. Perhaps it is the painter’s studio that becomes an insulated cocoon for undertaking mental voyages. And the painting, the painted surface becomes that device which helps in activating the zone.
- Excerpted from catalogue essay by Rakhi Peswani
Press release courtesy Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke.