Magazine article Artforum International

Anju Dodiya: CHEMOULD PRESCOTT ROAD

Magazine article Artforum International

Anju Dodiya: CHEMOULD PRESCOTT ROAD

Article excerpt

In Aniu Dodiya's recent show "Room for Erasures," eight life-size watercolors, which she calls "studio-dramas," commandeered the exhibition space, turning it into a kind of theater. The paintings, depicting the artist's alter ego as a robed and coiffed samurai painter, like a figure out of the works of Utagawa Kuniyoshi, staged a serial melodrama projecting the internal conflicts inherent in artistic practice. In some, the heroine is pitted against her own worst enemy: a fractious, resistant self. In others, she succeeds in moving toward her vision, realizing a sense of ful fi llment, a taste of perfection. Beasts (all works 2012) finds her splayed on the studio floor in front of a red-spattered canvas as shadowy black beasts menace her body. The scene here seems to imply that painting is a blood sport, but the desire to take part in it is elemental, not to be denied. In Orange Chorus, the heroine stands in the guise of a Greek goddess, a tree of life bearing luscious ripe fruits emerging from her body. Elsewhere, in spiderlike gossamer attire, paintbrush between her teeth, she gazes up at the web she has created (Arachne). In Relay (for Mike Kelley), dedicated to the artist whose suicide was news as Dodiya was working on the piece, the heroine collapses, breathless, at a finish line, holding out a rolled painting toward a looming void. The works mingle lush hues and subtle tonalities with harsh charcoal incursions. Darkness, smudges, and watery blurs loom at the edges and lurk in the interstices of these images. They are reminders, perhaps, of the fragility of the painter's enterprise, which is a matter of marks so easily obliterated. And in case we were liable to forget this peril, on the wall adjacent to the suite of paintings, Dodiya mounted Altar for Erasures. In three large charcoal drawings, the artist's alter ego looks out, directly engaging the viewer. …

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