Fragments And Fragmentation
Through an incremental accumulation of marks, colors, shapes and surfaces, fragments of detail coalesce and disperse in the embroideries of Gopika Nath, and in the paintings of Kathryn Myers. While Gopika often suspends the recognizable appearance of quotidian objects by evoking the essence of form through her material or meditative processes, the architectural structures that Kathryn constructs are a fusion of factual and fabricated information based on the journey undergone by materials, process, and imagination. The modest scale and painstaking techniques that both artists employ necessitates a magnified focus, which, alongside the minimal physical movement required to create their art-work, provokes a state of hyper-reflection. Using paint to construct, abrade and erase; the stories unfolding in Kathryn’s spaces evolve in cycles of appearance, fragmentation and dissolution. Distilling emotional cycles through her technical processes of stitching together fragments of abraded, pulled, torn and burned fabric, Gopika’s embroideries, which serve as catalyst for psychic catharsis and material ingenuity, may also be viewed as remnants of an enterprising exploration of mind and material.
Coming together for this exhibition, Gopika and Kathryn celebrate a friendship initiated by their Fulbright Fellowships, of Gopika to the United States and Kathryn to India. Discovering the common ground and contrasts in their subject matter, methods and materials, and acknowledging how Indian art, culture, geography and daily life have informed their work in diverse ways, the current exhibition, showcasing their work side by side, presents these parallels and contrasts through fragments that form part a larger body of work, and exploration of their respective focused studies of the internal and external world.
Gopika draws upon her textile design background and study of Indian textiles to develop her embroidery in a fine-art context. She often channels through her materials and methods a conversation, with events unfolding at a distance and in intimate proximity. Through her blog Garam masala chai and her online Stitch Journal she has fostered a dialogue about art and culture while also connecting a global community of embroidery artists and enthusiasts. Her teaching workshops help provide a new sense of relevance for embroidery traditions in an increasingly electronic world. Through her writings that reflect on her work and process of embroidery, and her poetry inspired by the work themselves, Gopika opens up the possibilities for a new language of thread. Using thread as a metaphor for living, she lends a contemporary dimension to this philosophical thread prevalent in ancient texts such as the Rig Veda and also in the poetry of saint poets Kabir and Namdev, among others.
Kathryn has studied diverse types of Indian art over the past fifteen years through numerous visits to India, including Fulbright fellowships in 2002 and 2011. Through her role as a professor of art at the University of Connecticut, she has shared her connection to India with her students and colleagues by hosting visiting Indian artists and scholars, curating exhibitions, creating new art courses, and more recently her Regarding India video interview series featuring Indian artists. Her artistic and educational community has been likewise broadened and enriched by opportunities to exhibit her work and direct workshops in India. As aspects of Indian art and culture have been integrated into her life and work, her association with India has immeasurably transformed Kathryn’s creative practice, which encompasses painting, photography and video.