Spotlight: Artist Suchitra Mattai Weaves Myth and Memory Together in Her Dazzling Mixed-Media Works

Artnet News, February 17, 2022


The artist's exhibition “Herself as Another” recently opened at Hollis Taggart in New York.


What You Need to Know: Denver-based artist Suchitra Mattai recently opened “Herself as Another,” her debut solo exhibition with New York’s Hollis Taggart. The exhibition showcases Mattai’s most recent mixed-media works, which seamlessly blend elements of painting and sculpture with found objects and embroidery and weaving. In this most recent work, Mattai explores the ways in which society excludes and “others” certain individuals and communities, specifically those with mental illness, based on both real and misunderstood differences. 



Why We Like It:  Mattai’s paintings and sculptures tap into the folkloric narratives deeply embedded in cultures, exploring the symbolism of monsters and the fears they represent. Through her works, Mattai seeks a way of acknowledging these heritages, while expanding our own ability for inclusion and understanding. Some of her paintings are based on old family photographs, others include pieces of her own jewelry or bits of vintage fabrics or textiles. Vividly colorful and materially fascinating, the works in this exhibition collide at the intersection of memory, myth, and fantasy.


According to the Artist: The materials I use have history and aura. They are often very personal. The necklace in the work Herself as another, for example, is my own ‘aum’ pendant and necklace. I tell stories based on oral tales passed down to me to create space for unwritten histories. Using folktales my grandmother told me and combining them with Western folklore and myth, the works are meant to be grounded in the stories I know, but hopefully speak of universal human experiences of otherness.” 




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