Arpita Singh has long been celebrated for the large, figurative paintings - vibrantly colorful and iconographically dense, these works gesture towards mythology and folklore, while drawing on the expressiveness of the line and textures evolved and developed during her seminal period of 1973-82. Singular in their allusion to contemporary Indian life, Singh’s works forge a unique visual vocabulary and narrative sensibility that have had major influence on the generations of artists who have followed her.
The 1973-82 period with predominantly abstract compositions on paper, principally reliant on line and primarily monochromatic—lay the formal foundations of Singh’s oeuvre and create an aesthetic bridge to her later and better known works. It reveals both a serious curiosity about line, depth and space, and a playful improvisation—a willingness to suspend certainty in the search for new. These tendencies continue into and indeed sustain Singh’s till today.
“Images in which the comic and the tragic seem interchangeable, are characteristic of work that has made Ms. Singh one of the best-known contemporary artists in India. They are also evidence of an art gradually darkening in tone and lightening in form, a rewarding way to go in this remarkable painter's hands.”
The New York Times
Arpita Singh was born in 1937 in West Bengal, India, and moved with her family to Delhi in 1946, where she has since lived and worked. She attended School of Art, Delhi Polytechnic, and after graduating, she worked as a textile designer at the Weaver’s Service Centre, part of the Handloom Board of India. Her work has been featured in exhibitions around the world, including Pompidou Centre, Paris; Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan; Museo Nacional de Centro Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain; Museum of Fine Arts (MFA), Boston, MA; Kiran Nadar Museum of Art (KNMA), New Delhi; Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Japan; Kunstmuseum Bern, Switzerland; Royal Academy of Arts, London; Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA; Asia Society, New York; Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW), Sydney; Rose Art Museum, Waltham, MA; Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi; National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), Mumbai & New Delhi; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Guggenheim Bilbao Museum, Spain. In 2019 a retrospective of Singh’s works was on view at The Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi.