Artist : Viraag Desai
Title : Chimera Series 1-1V
Medium : Acrylic, paper, resin on canvas
Size : 12" x 12" each (4)
Year : 2018
Kolkata-born and Chicago-trained artist Viraag Desai’s new series revels in the unpredictability of found materials. He reclaims discarded materials that, for him, carry a history. In an occupation defined by solitariness, his canvasses are a connect to the outside world through materials.
Desai uses fragments of wall posters and billboard print, discarded tickets and coupons, wrappers and flyers. His canvasses speak of geographical, historical and natural worlds but continue to address the traditions of abstraction. This is his way of building bridges between the common and the elite, the organic and the artificial, to make the viewer think more broadly about the social implications of the material.
He moves between arriving at abstraction through structure—pictorial, architectural or cartographic—and arriving at abstraction through process. He gives physicality, but no figuration. He leaves traces of the body, but the body is not there. The subject reveals itself to the careful viewer.
Abstraction gives him the freedom to speak indirectly. He does this by elevating the humble scraps of paper and dried pigments to the heights of traditional painting. The materiality has finally been deconstructed. The layers of seemingly random paper scraps carry a wealth of urban tales. The grids amid maps are visible yet open-ended in interpretation. The form is abstract but the works are rooted in reality.
Therein lies the faculty of the artist.
The term ‘Chimera’ or “Chimaera” has come to describe any mythical or fictional animal with parts taken from various animals, or to describe anything composed of very disparate parts. It is used as a metaphor for the current inundated, cacophonic state of information and media in contemporary life. Using ‘found’ printed materials, and information collected from surrounding areas, the artist has presented the phenomenon of printed white noise – an omnipresent litter of our spaces and our senses. Through delicate drawing on a fine pool of resin the artist brings into focus a language that is all-pervasive yet not defined.