Tanya Goel: Octaves
November 9-December 23
Jessica Silverman is pleased to announce Octaves, an exhibition exploring ground and materiality by Delhi-based artist Tanya Goel. The artist’s first solo show with the gallery will present a selection of watercolor and hand-made pigment works from her signature “Mechanisms” and “Botanical studies” series. Deeply connected to her home and the histories of India, Goel investigates the foundation, complexity, and integrity of urban sprawl. At demolition sites, she collects materials like mica and glass directly from the ground. After “grounding the ground” she meditatively organizes these pigments into highly geometric abstractions of color. The resulting large-scale and multidimensional paintings echo the conflicting histories of nature and urbanization within India’s capital.
In her “Mechanisms” paintings, the process of making mimics the dynamic build of a cityscape. Goel begins by drawing an urban grid onto the canvas, appropriating the Cartesian system employed by large cities like New York and New Delhi. She then applies pigments in a randomized order, according to an algorithm that adopts the layering of weaving. The accumulation of layers begins to rupture the grid beneath, much like the evolution of a city, and it's within this evolution that Goel’s materials spring to life. Mechanism 18 (2023) incorporates the iridescent material of mica, India’s largest exported resource, alongside crushed glass and paper silk, producing an archive of past and contemporary civilizations.
Goel is a master architect of color. She has a personal connection with organic and inorganic pigments and fabrics due to her family’s history in the textile business. After completing her MFA at Yale University, she returned to India in 2012 and studied traditional miniature painting in the city of Bikaner. Her “Botanical studies” series explore the life cycle, symmetry, and radiance of hybrid flowers like plumeria, red roses, lotuses, and others native to Delhi. Goel begins by gathering flowers and observing and recording their color behavior throughout the course of a single day. Lotus Flowers (2023) highlights the radial symmetry of this aquatic flower: concentric rings of varying hues of fuschia expand and vibrate, hypnotizing the viewer.
Goel’s artistic practice prompts inquiry into the constant flux of natural and man-made spaces. Her paintings remind us of the life cycle of not only flowers but also cities. They reflect urban turnover: the destruction of historic buildings in order to pave the way for innovation and hyper-capitalization. Modern in their performance of urban growth, and ageless in their natural splendor, the artist’s paintings remind us of the ephemeral spectacle of all things.
Tanya Goel (b. 1985, New Delhi, India) studied at the Faculty of Fine Arts, MS University, Baroda and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, before completing her MFA at Yale University in 2010. She has enjoyed solo exhibitions at Nature Morte, New Delhi; Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Mumbai; and at the Highline Nine Galleries, New York. Her works are in the collections of The Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi; The Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA; The Art Gallery of Alberta, Canada; the UBS Bank, Zurich; Istanbul Museum; Louis Vuitton Collection of Art and The Lalbhai Museum. She was a participating artist in the 2018 Sydney and Gwangju Biennales. She lives and works in New Delhi, India.