On view are recent works where Shettar extracts the possibilities of wood. Dominating in the front gallery is Meandering lines, searching rivers – in which graceful lines in wood gently rise, bend, converge and turn to create a sculptural drawing on the wall. In another work, two vertical and angular forms in wood appear to be dancing with their feet barely touching the ground. Tendu hugs a corner in the gallery where hundreds of strips of bent walnut wood join in as if coming together to push the walls aside and not caving in. In the other major work, How long is a mile on two wings, organic forms in burnished red created from steel and muslin hover like flowers freed by wind gusts floating in midair. Inhabiting the space, it invites the viewer to come in closer – immersed in it, one becomes part of a larger, dynamic whole, a totality whose rhythms and cadences can be felt viscerally. Ranjani’s approach establishes the kind of revaluation of the relationship between humanity and “nature,” the consideration of the earth as more than an extractable resource or a surface for construction. The deep respect and even affection for the natural world so evident in Ranjani’s work is not, however, a nostalgia for a bucolic idyll. Her work may be whimsical, entrancing, beautiful—but they are not Romantic in their conceptions of nature. Hers is an ethical as much as an aesthetic commitment to the natural world, a philosophical framework as well as a way of life.
Ranjani Shettar’s works have been the subject of several museum exhibitions including solo presentations at The Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), Boston, MA (2008); The Modern Art Museum, Fort Worth, TX (2008-9); The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMoMA) (2009); National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia (2011); Hermes Fondation, Singapore (2011) and BDL Museum, Mumbai, India (2012). Her works have also been featured in exhibitions at Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), NY (2010); Kiran Nadar Museum, New Delhi (2011, 2012, 2013), 5th Moscow Biennale (2013); 10th Liverpool Biennial, UK (2010); 55th Carnegie International, Carnegie Museum of Art, PA (2008); 9th Lyon Biennial, France (2007); 8th Sharjah Biennial (2007); 15th Sydney Biennale, Australia (2006); Artpace, Texas (2006); Cartier Fondation, Paris (2005); Wexner Center, OH (2005) and The Walker Art Center, MN (2003). In 2012 in collaboration with The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York the artist created a limited-edition project, Varsha.