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Born: 1977, Bangalore, India
Lives and Works: Bangalore
With a precisely tuned sense of the symbolic and sacred potential in both organic and man-made materials, Ranjani Shettar makes art that functions within a broad dynamic of metaphysics and aesthetics. Her work draws inspiration from beliefs embedded in Indian culture and traditions, and entreats physical objects to be interlocutors with spiritual and intangible dimensions, a feature common to many religious and magical rites. Yet the substances the artist has employed are rarely emotive or precious. She often incorporates coconut fibers, resin, mud, cotton, plastic, terra-cotta, wax, twine, and metal in her work. There is an acknowledged resonance in Shettar's art with the high-tech economic growth that is taking place in her home city of Bangalore, a leading force in the burgeoning IT and Internet sector. In light of Shettar's engagement with spiritual connectedness and highly skilled craft, the global networks and dexterous labor of new technology offer a more secular paradigm for considering the consciousness of her art. Her work often demands a sensory and emotive response, and it frequently presents us with joyous compositions that appear to conflate biomorphic forms and scales as in Just a Bit More (2006), a delicate room-sized web of thread and hand-molded beeswax.