Prabhavathi Meppayil’s (b. 1965, Bangalore, India) wall-mounted panels and sculptural installations contain subtle yet assiduous gestures that articulate the qualities inherent to her materials and tools. Meppayil’s integration of craft-based labor and process-based art positions her work in unique dialogue with a complex history of material and artistic production, invoking artisanal legacies, affinities with Indian culture, and Minimalist and Postminimalist concepts.
Her work is held in numerous public collections, including the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, Delhi; François Pinault Collection, Venice; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and the Samdani Art Foundation, Dhaka, Bangladesh.
New York—Pace Gallery is pleased to announce Prabhavathi Meppayil’s first solo exhibition in North America, on view at 537 West 24th Street from October 28 to December 23, 2016. An opening reception for the artist will be held Thursday, October 27 from 6 to 8 p.m. The exhibition will feature a new body of work continuing Meppayil’s engagement of global legacies of modernism and Minimalism through artisan techniques.
Meppayil begins her work by creating heavily layered fields of white gesso. For this exhibition, her work then falls into two groups: in the first, she embeds these gesso fields with thin copper and gold wires in linear arrangements. The wires lend both a material and chromatic quality to the work, interacting with ambient light and transforming in texture and tone as the wires oxidize. In the second group of work, Meppayil marks the gesso with repeated incisions made by a thinnam, a tool traditionally used by goldsmiths to imprint bangles with ornamental patterns. Her new work reveals a heightened attention to musicality and rhythm. Engaging with seriality through triptychs and diptychs, she emphasizes the potential of the visual to encompass non-visual phenomena. These ideas span the sense of lyricism in her use of copper and gold wire to the abstraction of noise captured in her serialized thinnam paintings, which retain the faint echo of the artist’s tinkering with the metallic tools.
Kindred with the work of Nasreen Mohamedi who similarly developed a Minimalist style steeped in local interests, Meppayil’s approach to her work is forged through her family’s long history working as goldsmiths in Bangalore. Also in dialogue with Western postwar artists such as Sol LeWitt, Agnes Martin and Robert Ryman, Meppayil’s work investigates the material conditions and status of art. She expands upon these precedents and their attendant ideas around abstraction, craft, materiality and process, reconstructing themthrough an acute awareness of their histories as well as the potent sense of tradition petrified in her goldsmiths’ tools. The encounter between geographies, disciplines and histories at the core of Meppayil’s work prompts what Benjamin H.D. Buchloh identifies as “a latent desire to leave behind the parameters of pictorial space and its supporting surfaces, reaching for an ultimate sublation of the painterly rectangle in a numinous architectural space.”
Meppayil’s exhibition in New York builds on the momentum of her participation in the 2013 Venice Biennale and her presentation at Art Basel’s Unlimited sector. Pace will publish a supplement to the 2014 catalogue for her exhibitions at the American Academy in Rome and Pace London, which featured essays by Deepak Ananth, Benjamin H.D. Buchloh and Peter Benson Miller. This publication will feature an introduction to the Meppayil’s new work as well as images of the exhibition in New York and of tw/one (2016), her large-scale installation at Art Basel.
Prabhavathi Meppayil (b. 1965, Bangalore) studied at Bangalore University and Ken School of Art, Bangalore. She has exhibited widely in India and was the subject of a solo exhibition at the American Academy in Rome in 2014. This year, she presented major installations in Art Basel’s Unlimited sector, curated by Gianni Jetzer, and the Dhaka Art Summit. Meppayil’s work will also be featured in this year’s Kochi Muziris Biennale which opens December 12 and runs through March 29, 2017. Her work has been featured in numerous international group exhibitions including Horn Please: Narratives in Contemporary Indian Art, Kunstmuseum Bern (2007–08); Orientations: Trajectories in Indian Art, Foundation De 11 Lijnen, Oudenburg, Belgium (2010); Equator #1: Shadow Lines: Indonesia Meets India in the Yogyakarta Biennale (2011); and The Encyclopedic Palace, curated by Massimiliano Gioni, at the 55th Venice Biennale (2013). The artist’s work is included in the permanent collections of Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi; Mori Art Museum, Tokyo; Pinault Collection; and the Samdani Collection, Dhaka.
Meppayil lives and works in Bangalore. This is her second exhibition at Pace
The gallery will be closed for Thanksgiving. Have a wonderful holiday weekend. New York Prabhavathi Meppayil (537 West 24th Street) will close early today, November 23 at 2pm and Rothko: Dark Palette (510 West 25th Street) will close at 4pm. The galleries will reopen on Friday, November 24 for normal gallery weekend hours. Menlo Park The gallery will close early today, November 23 at 3pm and reopen on Tuesday, November 29. Palo Alto The gallery will close early today, November 23
2016. Pace Gallery. Pamphlet
14 pages: 6 color illustrations: 9 ⅞ x 7 ⅛ inches