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SHIBU NATESAN  /  EACH ONE TEACH ONE  /  May 24, 2007 – June 29, 2007  /

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Installation View, 2007

Each One Teach One
May 24 – June 29, 2007
Opening Reception: Thursday, May 24, 2007, 6:00 – 8:00 PM
Opening on May 24, 2007, Jack Shainman gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of paintings by Indian artist Shibu Natesan, who divides his time between Baroda, India and London, England. Natesan has received several prestigious awards, among them the Uriot Prize from the Rijksakademie van Beeldende in Kunsten, Amsterdam, where he completed a two-year residency in the late 1990s. He has participated in numerous group exhibitions including Parallel Realities, Asian Art Now, Blackburn Museum, Lancashire, England (2006); Parallel Realities, The Third Fukuoka Asian Art Triennale, Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Japan (2005); Under Construction, The Japan Foundation, Tokyo, Japan (2001); Ars 01 – Unfolding Perspectives, Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Helsinki, Finland (2000); and the Sixth Bharat Bhavan Biennale of Contemporary Art, Bhopal, India (1995). This will be Natesan’s first exhibition in New York and will include several recent works on canvas.
In large-scale paintings, Shibu Natesan combines media images with natural vistas that typically include wild animals. Using unexpected combinations and sources, Natesan confronts the viewer with symbols that are vaguely familiar on their own, yet in juxtaposition to each other evade direct connections to the real world. Familiar images are combined with bold, colorful palettes to enhance Natesan’s unique, collage-like compilations – the result is a mixture of hyper-realism and fantasy.
After studying at the College of Fine Arts in Trivandrum, India, in the 1980s (a period marked by a visual rebellion against the art establishment), Natesan’s first series, entitled “The Futility of Device,” was based on photographs of archaeological remains. Later, during a residency at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam, he created the “Missing” series, rendered in the painstaking photo-realist style that would become his trademark. In his most recent works, Natesan continues to challenge preconceived notions of recognition and memory by expertly displacing and recontextualizing familiar symbols.
Each One Teach One (2005) is one of several works in the exhibition that measure approximately 6 x 8 feet. The painting depicts a boxer, up to his ankles in water, sparring with a herd of zebra. Simple, yet jarring in its flawlessness, the painting has the quality of a collaged photograph. Many of Natesan’s works explore themes of social and political contradiction, as well as symbols of power. Bob Marley, who is credited with helping to spread the Rastafari movement’s beliefs worldwide, is the subject of a painting entitled JAH Love (2005). He sits, arms crossed, between two orderly rows of young girls holding what appear to be hymnals. Two portraits hang on the wall behind him – one in the image of Haile Selassie, former Emperor of Ethiopia, whom members of the Rastafari movement accept as God incarnate, or Jah. Another painting in the exhibition, Jerome (2005), shows a young man atop a modernist rectangular “pedestal.” As three lions attempt to scale the pedestal, the young man sits in a meditative position, eyes closed, suggesting that the interaction between man and beast exists only in fantasy – or perhaps only in the painted world.
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