1. Introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your practice?
I was born in New York City, but I grew up in Nepal and Bhutan, cultures where both worship and meditation were (and are) an integral part of everyday life. It is probably because of this that my artistic practice is fundamentally mystical, and a constant sense of the sacred permeates my work. I conceive of my paintings as explorations of the ephemeral and the unseen. As my work has developed over the years, I have allowed abstraction to take the unseen and express it more viscerally. Now I move back and forth between abstraction and the figurative, but the aim is the same: to give visual form to the forces of nature and states of mind which cannot be visualised directly.
2. What are you currently working on?
For the last year, I have been working on an abstract body of work called the “Blue and Red Series”. I use bold primary colours to draw together disparate parts of my own existence. Red symbolises blood, passion, desire, the world and the forms we assume and live in physical reality. Blue represents the ‘mystic’ side, the robes of the Virgin Mary or Sophia, heaven, the sky, higher states of mind. The series seeks to bind and bridge the disconnect between my physicality and my inner self: to find the mystical in the world of forms, and to solidify the spiritual. Painting, for me, is a way of exploring the tension between the transcendent and the material.
3. How do you spend your time when you are at the studios?
I listen to a lot of music, which helps me reach a more meditative and subconscious state. It is important to me to be able to leave intellectual thought behind, to focus on expressing my direct and visceral experiences. I experiment with all sorts of media and work with forms, shapes, letters, pictures: anything that can help me develop and push myself beyond my own limits. But as I develop, I increasingly see that the sense of play is fundamental. Where there is play, there is joy, there is release, and there is no judgement. Creating art is very hard work, so this sense of a playful state of mind gives a fundamental sense of balance to the process.
4. What are your other (work) commitments if any?
I work in academic libraries, including the exquisite Bodleian Old Library. Working in intellectual environments where scholarly thought is appreciated and revered is a very inspiring place for an artist to be. The Old Library is a constant source of wonder and aesthetic joy.
5. How does having a studio at Magdalen road support your work?
Being in a space where I can freely experiment, make a mess, make mistakes, freely fail, and then fail yet again has been fundamental in developing my practice. Having other talented and experienced artists at hand for feedback, advice, commentaries, critiques, and friendships has also been invaluable for my work.
6. What are you hoping to achieve over the next year?
An important sign of achievement would be to continue to consistently exhibit my work, and to reach larger audiences. Artistically, I am hoping to continue to develop my work to reflect the changes going on within and without me. The majority of my paintings in the last year have been works on paper using ink and watercolour, and I would like to paint again with oil on canvas, as well as experimenting with different sizes of works. I also see that I am beginning to move slightly out of the world of red and blue, and I would like to transition from this series into new territories. I am very interested to see what my next artistic phase will be!