Reddy 's Indian Goddesses: Repelling or Resplendent?
On Ravinder Reddy's first solo exhibition in New York, 2001, Holland Cotter of the New York Times noted: "The spirelike roofs of certain Hindu temples in South India are a dizzying pileup of hundreds of brightly painted carved figures. Most are of deities, but the ever-changing mix can also include politicians, movie idols and even an occasional Westerner of local renown. This blending of religion and pop culture is a constant in Indian art, and it is the impetus behind the work of Ravinder G. Reddy.
His women, while commanding in scale and demeanor, have less-than-idealized features, closer to folk than to fine art. And while he titles some pieces for the Great Goddess, Devi, others are given ordinary Indian names, often ones popular in rural India. The result is a hybrid, with roots in the past but also in the pop cultural present. A heroic art with a common touch: kitsch for the ages." (H. Cotter, 'Art in Review: Ravinder Reddy', New York Times, 12 October 2001)
Employing the postmodern devices of appropriation, irony and humor, Reddy references ancient Indian sculptural traditions. He contemporizes images of traditional Indian goddesses, but he also uses local models to represent the traditionalism of everyday South Indian women. This combination of tradition and the new extends to his working methods -- Reddy builds models in clay before he casts them in fiberglass and polyester-resin. In spite of their imposing size and saturated colors, the artist cunningly imbues his sculptures with a sense of serenity and the brash faces remain docile and domestic. Reddy's women are gorgeous and sensual but at the same time repelling, reflecting his love, fear and fascination for the female form.
Reddy was one of the first contemporary Indian artists to draw critical attention in the U. S. following his exhibition with Deitch Projects, 2001. Most recently his works were shown at the Arken Museum of Modern Art, Copenhagen (2012) and the Smart Museum of Art, Chicago (2011).
Image rights: [Christie's](http://www.christies.com/sales/south-asian-modern-contemporary-art-march-2013/)
New York, Aicon Gallery, Mapmakers: The Evolution of Contemporary Indian Art, May - July 2012
S. Muhammad, 'The Old Vanguards of Contemporary Indian Art', Blouin ArtInfo, 21 May 2012, (illustrated, unpaginated)
Claiming “for me transient emotions and feelings do not play any role in the creation of an object. I am concerned with forms that are universally understood,” celebrated contemporary Indian artist Ravinder Reddy produces sculptures of the most universal forms of all: women’s heads and bodies. He has been pursuing his unending fascination with the female form since the 1980s. Often monumentally scaled, with wide eyes, blocky features, and garishly colored skin, Reddy’s sculptures of women are inspired by Pop Art portraits and modeled after traditional Indian religious statuary, depictions and descriptions of Hindu goddesses, and the local women by which he is surrounded. At once alluring and monstrous, they read as celebrations of the female figure in all its shapely variety and as parodies of the ideal of feminine beauty in traditional and contemporary Indian culture.
Indian, b. 1956, Suryapet, India