War Horses TriptychPhilosophy of War Triptych
Philosophy of War - IV,V,VI TriptychInvisible Forces - IV
War and the Universe

Indrani Baruah

Berkeley, CA

Artistic Disciplines:
Visual Art

Artist Statement:

Letter of Interest

My work evolves from a lifelong aspiration for exploring connections between the universal and the personal. Universal themes like natural events, apocalyptic narratives and the cosmos have intrigued me and I seek to portray them in relation and in contrast to the personal and the human. I seek to discover patterns that are rooted in ancient cultures - yet raises questions and sheds light on the diversity and complexity of contemporary existence.

Indian cultural icons, stories, philosophies form the context of my work. Through the process of deconstructing the interwoven patterns of Indian mythology and cultural history, I hope to discover ideas that have a universal, cross-cultural resonance. The timeless philosophies embodied in the epic text Bhagwad Gita form the literary source and the starting point for most of my work.

My process includes layering splashes, drips, dots, marks, brush strokes, sprays and pours of color and building up a pattern that emulates ‘natural systems’ in the Universe. Quasi-figurative elements derived from stories, epics, mythologies are juxtaposed into this ‘system’ as a metaphor for spiritual harmony of living beings and the universe. I use a combination of drawing, drafting, text and painting techniques to create these embedded figures. The figures sometimes emerge and other times coalesce into the background, creating tensions that symbolize forces, that sustain the fragile balance of the natural world. 

The three bodies of work that I am working on concurrently:

Philosophy of War, War Horses, War and the Universe:
I began these series in late 2009. The starting point for this series is the conversation between Krishna and Arjuna taking place on the battlefield before the start of the Kurukshetra war. Using historical and contemporary philosophical digressions on the philosophy of war, this body of work will raise questions about the ‘inevitability of war’ – ‘war as a bane on humanity’. The works in this series will attempt to deconstruct the epic, larger-than-life mythologies through a graphic re-telling.

Invisible Forces: This ongoing series explores the idea that matter, energy, time, space and everything beyond in this universe is also our very consciousness; identifiable with the self or being. I am constantly amazed at the underlying ‘systems’ and ‘structures’ that govern everything in nature that otherwise look fluid and organic. The circular diagrams - representations of sun-stars and astrolabes, are metaphors for this idea. Quasi-figurative forms evoking the cow metamorphosize into energetic strokes in a vast cosmic atmosphere, while the circular diagrams represent ‘structure’.

Evolution: As a cultural icon, the cow forges connections between the material and the spiritual. In this body of work, I explore nuances of the ‘Cow’ and the Universe. The cow permeates the Indian sub-continent at many levels – social, religious, political, historical and mythological. Through this series I also explore my interest in the duality between the figurative and the abstract and the resulting mysterious quality.

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