Chitra Ramanathan, in her own words:
Through my body of work I portray the subject of happiness as a visual interpretation. To achieve this goal, I employ intense, vibrant colors combining them with intricate textural materials, arriving at predominantly large collages that convey the universal mental emotion. Since happiness has no recognizable form, I refer to the hint of figures and circular ima...gery as 'formless forms", a phrase I have coined to describe the abstract imagery. As happiness is a lifelong pursuit and yet could be elusive as an ongoing goal in the human life cycle, I refer to the feeling as fleeting and temporary, comparing the emotion to continually evolving ephemeral garden blooms and cyclical seasons in nature, as both are transient, changing and evolving.
Though my current body of work is conceptual with mixed-media collage and acrylics as prime mediums, I am equally comfortable with portrait and landscape painting and drawing or painting with pencil, charcoal or oil since I have experimented with different mediums since early childhood.
Serendipity intervening however, some large public art commissions I have completed in recent years have been requested after viewing my conceptual work with organizations requesting that I replicate my smaller works by basically re-creating them as large sized versions. One such was the MGM Mirage that commissioned me to create a pair of signed, site-specific paintings each measuring 4 feet wide and 6 feet high, which have been permanently displayed in the Cafe Bellagio (on the event of the Cafe being remodeled in 2003-2004) located inside the Bellagio Conservatory indoor botanical garden of the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. This undertaking brought instant recognition for my work in 2004!
Similarly, a commission that was offered to me by the Washington Township School Foundation to complete a permanent wall mural for children in the front lobby of Crooked Creek Elementary School at Indianapolis, Indiana, USA which was completed in 2008, also expressed that I work in my "uniquely abstract" style.
Since my work is inspired by garden blooms and the outdoors and is colorful, it is suitable for all types of audiences and venues including hospitals or schools. For instance, the College of Medicine at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, USA has permanently displayed two of my large-scale paintings in their facility.
To access videos of these and other installations, please click on the link: http://www.chitraramanathan.com/publicart.htm.
To view images, exhibitions including 2011, magazine reviews, public comments, recent book publications that include my biography and images, academic affiliations and related links, please visit my website at http://www.chitraramanathan.com/
Aside from being a professional artist, I teach courses and workshops in Mixed-media and Acrylic painting in the United States, travelling for lectures as in the case of the Royal Academy of Arts at London-U.K, which invited me to present a talk and about my body of work with image demos, and conduct student tutorials at the Royal Academy Schools in 2005. All of the above have been unbelievable experiences, as unexpected recognition for my work.
Thanks to all who support my work worldwide!
Guided by flashes of inspiration, Chitra Ramanathan's images express her ongoing creative journey through a unique body of paintings which has produced delight, inspiration and peace to lovers and owners of her artwork. The artist's acrylics and mixed-media paintings, many of them very large, are uniquely characteristic of intense colors and multiple layers of varied textural materials that interact with light to "challenge the boundaries of their two-dimensional surfaces". They are inspired by short-lived garden blooms and cyclical seasons both of which the artist compares with the continually evolving, ephemeral, fleeting happiness' "formless form": a phrase she has coined to describe her concept. Hints of circles signify the human life-cycle which allude to trying times followed by happy phases, as a continuous cycle of life and rebirth influenced by her roots from India.
Painted on varieties textural materials layered on diverse surfaces be they canvas, plexiglas, linen, paper or anodized aluminum, viewers experience the illusion of the images extending beyond the confines of their otherwise two-dimensional surfaces under any light situation. Her work explores color, form and line that emerge as â€śformless formsâ€? as she calls her abstracted images that mysteriously peek out of colorful details, while hints at circles that are also an integral part of her work signify the human life cycle. As a whole, her compositions and assemblages present an ongoing dialogue that offers endless possibilities to the viewer imagination. A solo retrospective exhibition of a large selection from her body of work was invited for the Indianapolis Artsgarden, near Monument Circle, Indianapolis in January 2006.
Her completed invitational commissions to date range from:
* A permanent wall painting for children measuring 13.8 feet wide and 4 feet high for the front lobby of Crooked Creek Elementary School in Marion County, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA completed in April 2008
* A site-specific public art project made possible through a grant to Crooked Creek Elementary School in Marion County, Indianapolis in Indiana, USA, a project made possible through a grant to the school by the Metropolitan School Foundation, a public school district in Indianapolis
*A permanent site-specific public art commission for the MGM Mirage in 2004, for which permanent site-specific installation the artist created a pair of large-scale, signed paintings based on her earlier works, housed in the CafĂ© Bellagio located inside the Bellagio Conservatory indoor botanical garden of the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
* Five large-scale mixed-media paintings commissioned by the Arts Council of Indianapolis, Indiana, ... Read More