In Ranjani's first solo exhibition 'Home' (2000), the ambition of the work was to capture the intrinsic beauty of the delicate fabrications made by birds, insects, bees or silkworms - cocoon-like forms, web-like constellations or clusters of berries. Yet made from plastic sheeting, rope and rivets, this work also showed the artists commitment to exploring all manner of industrial materials in order to create a form of correspondence to the natural world that we inhabit and that surrounds us.
The early pieces were followed by such work as 'Vasanta' (2004) in which thousands of hand-rolled beeswax nodes connect to a vast web of coloured strings. Reflected against the wall, they appear as a lustrous maze of cobwebs whose progressive changes of colour suggests that of the seasons. Soon afterwards, Shettar created 'Heliotropes' (2005-06) out of thread and latex, which responded to the light in her studio, and 'Just a Bit More' (2005-06), a room filled with a delicate web of thread and hand-rolled beeswax. More recently, 'Sun-sneezers blow light bubbles' (2008) was made with tamarind kernel powder paste and muslin used by local craft communities, as in the village of Kinnala, India, to make children's toys and religious idols. Shettar re-deploys these materials to create an immersive environment evoking the phenomenon whereby some people sneeze when exposed to the sun or bright light.
Through deploying this range of everyday industrial and natural materials, Shettar constructs environments that tacitly respond to the processes and forces shaping the growth and life of contemporary cities. This is nowhere found more clearly than in her own city of Bangalore, with its burgeoning internet business and high-tech economic growth. Trained in sculpture at Chitrakala Institute of Advanced Studies, Shettar creates a world that does not simply respond to the effect that industrialization may have on the processes of urbanization, or on the local ways of life intimately connected to those of the countryside. Rather, she creates a delicate formal language, a tenuous network of creative exchange and correspondence between materials and environment through which to envisage other spaces, a setting that holds the promise of a transformative experience beyond the material every day. 'Home is the body,' Shettar has remarked. 'The body is not the physical alone but the mental, emotional and the spiritual.'
Shettar's work belongs to a trajectory that is a counterpoint to modernist traditions, especially that of the Bauhaus. Significantly, this counterpoint has manifested itself most strongly and precisely in those countries where the influence of the Bauhaus has been more evident, such as Venezuela, Brazil, or Japan - in the art of Gego, Lygia Clark or Saito, respectively. Shettar's artistic project corresponds to these artists yet is distinctive in its form and trajectory. She proposes an extension into space that begins not by virtue of the laws of geometric abstraction but of a tenuous relation to a world in which humans as sentient beings immerse themselves and belong.