Studio Visit with PADMA RAJENDRAN

Curated by Varia Serova

2021 © Zephyr and Maize

Padma Rajendran working in her studio © Courtesy of Padma Rajendran

Through the years, Padma Rajendran has maintained a devoted and energetic multidisciplinary artistic practice. Rajendran's joyous colour rich textile works unfold on the walls of her studio space, revealing silent dialogues and manifesting craftsmanship and notions for experimentation. As Rajendran states very well herself, her artworks reference “the duality and contradictions of culture and the multi-facetted definitions of universal heritage.”

With the potent restlessness, Rajendran produces one wide-eyed and joyous body of work after another, rearticulating the world in her unique terms; not portraying the details of life, but the imprints they leave. In her creative world, light is spoken through colour, movement through media and process, narrative through form.

On the development of her interest in working with textiles, the artist comments:

"My interest in textiles felt more intuitive and came from a consumer or domestic interaction that I initially thought as separate from my studio interests. We all have a relationship with fabric since we all wear clothes and consistently engage with a myriad of textile objects that hold different functions. My time living in Riyadh and when visiting family in India made me conscious from an early age of the performative elements of textile, specifically what and how we wear it on our bodies and the selection of acquiring textile. Much of this interaction is about unfurling and the reveal. In graduate school, I became more interested in questioning and understanding the notion of home and belonging in an effort to feel more connection to this idea of Homeland (India) and needing to redefine my relationship to a place despite never having lived there. My investigation stemmed from a common language of ritual, repetition and symbolic structure found in architecture and continued as coded space for communicating ideas and evidence of regionalism. Soon I decided not to simply reference textile pattern and structure within my prints on paper but work directly onto the material itself."

At the moment, Rajendran is working on finishing a larger dye piece that she started a couple of months ago, but had to put on pause, as well as on artistic collaborations with a Mexican designer from the Yucatan and with Clay Pond Studios.

Padma Rajendran was born in Klang, Malaysia. She studied at Bryn Mawr College and received her M.F.A. from Rhode Island School of Design. Rajendran has exhibited at the International Print Center New York, Ortega y Gasset Projects (Brooklyn), INDEX (Los Angeles), Beers London (UK), Field Projects (New York) and September Gallery (Hudson NY). She lives and works in Catskill, NY and teaches printmaking at SUNY Purchase. Her work has been featured in New American Paintings, Art Maze Magazine, and Maake Magazine and is currently on view at BRIC Arts Media in Brooklyn, NY.

Direct application of Jacquard ready made dyes and textile paint to silk with resist drawing previously applied © Courtesy of Padma Rajendran

Sketching a guide for additional resist drawing on denim © Courtesy of Padma Rajendran

Padma Rajendran working in her studio with direct painting method with ready made dyes © Courtesy of Padma Rajendran

Padma Rajendran in her studio © Courtesy of Padma Rajendran

Studio view of 'Keys to Home', 2020, dye on silk, 95 x 108 in. Dyes directly painted onto stitched silk surface © Courtesy of Padma Rajendran

Dye and resist on silk paintings - 'Untitled (Flower Comb)', 2021, Dye and resist on silk with stitching, 15 (h) x 11.5 (w) in. and 'Untitled (Mountain Cup)', 2021, Dye and resist on silk with stitching, 15 (h) x 10.25 (w) in. © Courtesy of Padma Rajendran

Indigo ink drawings on paper and dye on silk © Courtesy of Padma Rajendran

Studio view of 'Curved Palm', 2020, Dye and resist on silk, 100 x 79 in. © Courtesy of Padma Rajendran