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"Project Series 21: Sandeep Mukherjee" Opens at Pomona College Museum of Art

“Project Series 21: Sandeep Mukherjee,” an exhibition of a new, monumental drawing installation, will be on view from January 20 through February 22 at the Pomona College Museum of Art. An opening reception will be held at the Museum from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, January 24, with a music and dance party provided by DJs DME beginning 8:30 p.m.

For the last several years, Sandeep Mukherjee has created drawings and installations that extend figurative drawing and minimalist painting to new realms. Mukherjee links playful intent and sensuous materiality with an intellectual rigor, exploring through evocative figurative abstractions the illusive terrain of subjectivity, cultural specificity, and hybridity. He brings together a multiplicity of references—the Baroque, Pop Art, Minimalism, Pattern and Decoration, Indian miniature paintings, illuminated manuscripts, classical figurative sculpture—to explore phenomenological relations among light and space, to question traditional notions of representation, and to alter profoundly our expectations of art and consciousness.

In fields of glowing color, Mukherjee draws exquisitely rendered figures and forms that hover and float through an enigmatic space. The artist creates these poetic visions with a precise and painstaking process—sheets of Duralene (a translucent vellum-like paper) are airbrushed with brilliant hues, then the opposing surface is delicately drawn with fine pencils, and both sides are embossed with scribing/etching tools. The embossing breaks the plane of the surface and creates a kind of linear relief sculpture. Light striking the surface transforms the embossed line into dimensional form and creates spatial relationships to the painted and drawn elements.

Born in India and raised in Los Angeles, Mukherjee continues to negotiate a wide range of cultures, genres and media. For this exhibition, Mukherjee presents a new drawing installation that further expands the scope of his project by adding new layers of meaning and new devices of scale. Using the same techniques as previously, the artist has now shifted his content into an arena that conflates Asian landscape painting conventions with a postmodern image of subjectivity as presented through the shifting scale of the figures and the poetic ambiguity of the narrative content.

“Project Series 21: Sandeep Mukherjee” is the twenty-first exhibition in the Project Series. Organized by Museum Curator Rebecca McGrew, the Project Series presents Southern California artists in one-gallery exhibitions. The purpose of the series, now in its sixth year, is to bring to the Pomona College campus art that is experimental; that introduces new forms, techniques, or concepts; or that may be difficult to show in other venues. During each exhibition, participating artists spend time on campus working with faculty and students in relevant disciplines. The Project Series is supported in part by the Pasadena Art Alliance and Pomona College Museum of Art Advisory Committee member Sarah Miller Meigs.

The Pomona College Museum of Art is located in the Montgomery Art Center, 330 N. College Avenue, Claremont. The Museum is open to the public free of charge Tuesday through Friday, from noon to 5 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. For more information, call (909) 621-8283 or visit the museum’s website at www.pomona.edu/museum.

The Pomona College Museum of Art collects, preserves, exhibits, and interprets works of art. The Museum houses a substantial permanent collection as well as serving as a gallery for the display of temporary exhibitions. Important holdings include the Kress Collection of 15th- and 16th-century Italian panel paintings; more than 5,000 examples of Pre-Columbian to 20th-century American Indian art and artifacts, including basketry, ceramics, and beadwork; and a large collection of American and European prints, drawings, and photographs, including works by Francisco de Goya, José Clemente Orozco, and Rico Lebrun.