Sonia Mehra Chawla Biography

Sonia’s artistic practice is concerned with the construction of ‘nature’ that is defined not just as the physical world around us but also, and especially, the conditions of our physical, metaphorical, social and ecological interactions with it. The artist develops new tools and strategies through her practice that unsettle conventional wisdom about our relationship with and within nature. Such investigations take on a notion of turning inwards into a phenomenological experience of life. As a result, there occurs both a sense of disorientation and identification with the feeling one has of being inside one’s own body.

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The artist endeavours to transform everyday earthly images into phantasmagorical visions; landscapes that could be from Earths primordial past or vistas from distant planetary surfaces we are yet to encounter. She creates worlds in which boundaries between the fictitious and factual, existent and imaginary are blurred and where strange hybrids and fantasy formations are the products of imaginary desires; where science fiction and futuristic visions might operate alongside more familiar accounts of the world. Often, the images are presented as a disjointed, dislocated sequence that fails to communicate any stable idea of narrative trajectory or space, but seems instead to create spaces or gaps through which to reflect upon certain recurrent themes and preoccupations. Time and space are impregnated with a sense of heightened reality. Hybrids of plant, animal and polyp populate the surface and infuse a living vitalism. The images are at once generative and sensuous, macabre and degenerate, opulent and awe-inspiring, carrying within them the vitality of the living, and the vulnerability of decay. Evolution through dynamic growth and transmutation is fundamental to the imagery.

Sonia’s practice involves working intimately with various mediums: painting, printmaking photography and video. Working consistently with combining these mediums enables her to traverse the limitations of any single medium of execution. What interests her is how a fragmentary component of a biomorphic section reveals the colossal configuration in nature. The imagery is often inspired by microphotographs and electron micrographs of single-celled organisms exquisite in their ornamental morphology, and displaying complex patterns of growth, reproduction, movement and mutability. Within these simple configurations, the entire mechanics of evolution is revealed.

Text courtesy Exhibit 320.

Sonia Mehra Chawla In Related Press

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