EXUBERANCE OF JOURNEY
As embrace of the élan vital, prana of the natural, and surrounding cortices flow through the work to date of Shuchi Khanna. An unusual range of technique, individual application and medium bespeak a personal drive for creative manifestation on all levels of her existence. Similarly reflected in her deployment of myriad anatomical parts in the actual process. She enters fully into the physical embodiment, using her hands, fingers, elbows and nails, with colours unfolding as chakras from points to lines to elliptical realms of energy. Shuchi's pratibha, her individualist creative energy imbues a vision and imagination of a larger cosmological whole. As an arts educator, Shuchi faces the transformative, daunting prowess and possibilities of the arts. In order to draw out her student's creative confidences, she attests to her own; her intuition grasps paper, canvas, ink, acrylic, charcoal, pencil, tea, watercolours, and ceramic relief work. Starting from the architectonic space of her personal living domain, her temperament has coloured all angles of that interior design, then onto the murals she designed in the courtyard of the Sanskriti School in Delhi. She imparts, "I do not restrict my students" for "there is a myth that only this works with that." As the XIIth Kuanding Tai Situpa wrote, "Any act of creation is in its own original way just creating a whole universe…(and) that the secret of the whole thing is in every small thing." (Relative World Ultimate Mind, Ch. V, 1989, and 2007 exhibition catalogue at the Kumar Gallery in New Delhi).
A series of smaller pieces echoes this vibrant connection. In one, a female form is borne and bound by blue and red tree roots, a placenta growing from the earth with its tendril canopy reaching astride to the sky. These images are synergistically figurative and intrinsically abstract, as life, thought, emotions. Note their expressions in ancient civilizations. Strokes and hues stir the memory of fresco paintings and tribal caves, not to mention the much later landscapes of the Barbizon School. Furthermore, the painterly planar compositions compose an intimacy of miniatures, images from l'art naïf dance with dramas of the Progressive School. Her portraits are classic and contemporary, replete with romantic verdure. In another tableau, two female figures are cradled by hues of green, scenery bethinking Henri Rousseau. Her landscapes herald this lyrical song of timelessness, carried from one canvas to another by lines of poetry. Horizons mark the meeting of sun and earth, of land and sky, just as the sweet light vanishing point brings the mind's eye from sea to clouds. An incarnate symbolism weaves tapestries (cf. The Peaceable Kingdom) of creatures and nature: fish, parrots, horses, flowers, trees, and human beings. Uniting the mind and body reintegrates Shuchi's personal language and elements with an order of fused energy. From within her own cognitive reality, this artist juxtaposes realms that recount picturesque mythical and natural elements. In Desire, with its tonal qualities of blues and purples, emerges a dance of male and female, through a configured bliss of constructivist angles and Palladian strokes. A fitting utterance of the envisioned spirit of this artist's life makes its euphonic appearance in her work.
Art historian, curator, poet and writer, Elizabeth Rogers has lived, studied and worked on creative endeavours across the globe. For the last few years, she has resided in New Delhi and written on Buddhist art and contemporary Indian and Pakistani art and photography for museums, galleries and publications in India and abroad. Graduate of Harvard University (B.A. magna cum laude, Harvard College), Institut d'Etudes Politiques (C.E.P.) and Institut des Civilizations et Langues Orientales (Paris) (M.A.), Beijing and Fudan Universities (P.R.C.), Yale (M.A. and M.F.A.) and Oxford (Phd. candidate) Universities, she has worked on Far Eastern art in museums including the Metropolitan Museum (New York), the Musee Guimet (Paris), the Musees Royaux (Brussels), the Groningen Museum (Netherlands), the Ashmolean Museum (Oxford), the Sackler Museums (Harvard and Beijing), the Japan Society and the Asia Society, the Hermitage Museum (St. Petersburg), and the Gotoh and Suntory Museums (Japan). She was the Assistant Director of the Museum at Japan Society (New York), the Director of the Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art (New York), and worked at the Museum of Tibet House (New Delhi)