Anjolie Ela Menon (b. 1940)
Oil on Masonite
48 x 36 in.
Circa early 90's
Born of mixed Bengali and American ancestry, Anjolie Ela Menon has long been a towering figure amongst India’s second generation of Modernist painters, with her work spanning five decades and continuing undiminished to the present day. In Seated Woman, we see the artist at the height of her conceptual and emotional ingenuity, with the overall composition evoking an uncanny meditation on the female form and feminine creativity. Painted on Masonite, Menon’s preferred medium for major works, the scene resounds with an intense dream-like quality that asserts the quiet imaginative power of the female artist at a time when Menon’s more successful contemporaries were comprised mostly of men.
Menon’s studies in Paris in the 1960s exposed her to the techniques of medieval Christian iconography, leading her to a muted palette of translucent colors and finely textured surfaces creating a glow reminiscent of medieval icons. As her style evolved, Menon continued to experiment with the distinctive features of early Christian art but took the solitary female figure as a frequent subject. The result is a dynamic relationship of eroticism and melancholy, enhanced by frequent appearance of black crows, empty chairs, windows, and hidden figures.
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