Viraj Mithani 

     Artist Statement:

        I make paintings and prints that attempt to encompass the historical and autobiographical history of art within a single frame. My artworks revolve around several distinct cultures and traditions; drawing influence from Indian miniature and Warli paintings, Chinese opera art, Japanese woodcut prints, and European/ American western art movements, to name several. As Roland Barthes suggests in his essay “Rhetoric of the Image,” each image has both a coded iconic message and a non-coded iconic message. My images have a literal linguistic meaning, relating to the physicality of medium but are simultaneously ciphered with personal content. At the heart of my practice is a relationship between deep-rooted world techniques like lithography and new world technology like digital printing. For example, I paint on plexi-plate and then run it through the press. I repeat the process with specific adjustments made to the pressure of the printing press amounting to overlapping of the image. The mono print is then layered with translucent images/patterns, a technique called Giclee.

       My works explores the many conflicting ideologies including abstraction versus representation, the epic versus the everyday, flatness against the depth, materiality versus illusion, and gestural versus sharp line qualities. In today’s world of interdisciplinary and cross cultures, the boundaries often get blurred between the mediums. For instance, a sculpture can be viewed as a painting while a painting can be viewed as a sculpture. My goal is to strike a balance between the traditional and progressive. Color psychology and color symbolism play an integral role in my prints and paintings. I intent to create visual semiotics of motifs that are borrowed from several of these mentioned art traditions. I attempt to relate my art to how it affects the viewership (audience reacting to colors, imagery and symbols) and in turn, the stimulation and psychological response it produces.

 

       These medias extend human perception, which result in private space no longer being personal. Developing medias blur the boundary lines of space and mediums. Media is not limited to digital products. Body, objects, text, mark making and other elements are also medias for space phenomenon. From traditional to progressive mediums, I create a conversation and study between the privatized space and the imaginary private space, which also includes various dimensionalities (2D, 3D and 4D).

 

       My works are produced on traditional materials like canvas and paper, but also on unconventional matter like fabrics such as felt and vinyl, each featuring a blend of representation and colorful abstraction. My prints and paintings consist of blocks of color, splatter, loose grids of varying line weight, washes and deft use of found materials. I also aim to build intimations of depth but in a distinctly painterly manner, with great sensitivity to facture and tonality. These works are a hybrid of discarded materials, available techniques— both old and new, tying them back to the source of my inspirations. My goal is to retain my traditional artistic background and culture while embracing the constant change that impacts my practice.

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