In what seemed at first a monster's colonial dream, leprechauns of amber body and agile mind blew west wondering what it would be like to leave land, ocean, bird, bear, feline and the bounty of horned beasts, to leave our nature for culture | New York, Rockefeller Plaza | mixed media on panel | 182.2 x 121.3 cm
“By juxtaposing organic and plastic objects [...] she concocts fairytale worlds that are both enticing and subtly menacing.”
Rina Banerjee forces fabric, feathers, shells and all manner of organic and constructed ephemera into a conjured cosmos all her own, evoking fairytale, fantasy and, often, a hint of dread. Her fetishistic deference to her diverse materials enchants the eye, inviting us to linger a while inside her labyrinthine compositions. As she has said, “I could never be a Minimalist artist: I am interested in corrupting fine art with everything I wish for.”
Banerjee received an M.F.A. in 1995 from Yale University, where she studied painting and print making. But she didn’t begin her professional career as an artist. Before art school, she studied polymer engineering at Case Western Reserve University, in Cleveland, graduating with a science degree in 1993. Soon after, she worked as a polymer research chemist, consulting for NASA and Dow Chemical.
Since abandoning chemistry for art a few years later, her mixed-media artwork has risen steadily in prominence and market value. Her work has been showcased at The Whitney Biennial, the New York Museum of Modern Art’s P.S.1 exhibition space, and the Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, in Brisbane, Australia. At the time this was written, her work was also slated to appear in the 2013 Venice Biennale. Solo exhibitions of her work have appeared in major cities around the world, including New York, London, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Paris, New Delhi and Brussels.
Along with fellow Indian artist, Bharti Kher, Art + Auction named Banerjee one of the world’s “50 Next Most Collectible Artists” in June, 2012, noting that “The sale of a large installation by Banerjee at Art Basel in 2008 and her solo exhibition at the Musée Guimet in Paris in 2011 were major catalysts for her European market.”
Banerjee was born in, Kolkata, India. Her inaugural exhibition at L.A. Louver, in Venice Beach, California, is scheduled for May 2014. She lives and works in New York.