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Solo exhibitions by Chitra Ganesh and Simone Leigh on view at Tilton Gallery
Chitra Ganesh installation at Tilton Gallery. Courtesy Tilton Gallery, New York.

NEW YORK, NY.- Tilton Gallery is presenting two solo exhibitions, The Ghost Effect in Real Time by Chitra Ganesh and jam packed and jelly tight by Simone Leigh, on view through June 23rd, 2012.

Chitra Ganesh is known for her paintings, drawings and large installations that take inspiration from the traditions of mythology, science fiction, Bollywood films, and comics. In beautifully executed narrative works, she reveals and comments upon many of the underlying, often concealed, issues such as those defining femininity, eroticism, or violence that pervade our culture. The Ghost Effect in Real Time features a new body of large scale charcoal drawings and a mixed media photographic collaboration between Chitra Ganesh and Christopher Myers.

Ganesh's charcoal drawings are inspired by the early silent cinema productions of India, Germany, and the U.S. These works examine the relationships between intertwined threads of science fiction, epic myth, and Orientalism that repeat themselves as iconic moments of a lost silent cinema world. Using both compressed charcoal, and loose charcoal dust and brush, Ganesh's drawings pulse with a painterliness that echoes the loose aesthetics of early film.

Based on photographic documentation of spirit mediums, séances and ectoplasm (pseudo-scientific term for spiritual matter) popularized in the 1920s and 1930s, Haunted Documents explores the roots of photography as a doorway to other worlds, recording the ephemeral and the liminal, archiving experiences of spiritual and geographic crossroads. Chitra Ganesh and Christopher Myers reference contemporary languages of magical realism, combining large format photographic prints with material interventions that fracture and extend the dialogue about spirituality, anthropology, surface, and document.

Chitra Ganesh is a Brooklyn based artist. Her work has been widely exhibited both locally and internationally, and is included in public collections such as those of the Saatchi Collection, London and The Museum of Modern Art, New York. She is the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including a 2012 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship in the Creative Arts.

Simone Leigh engages in an object-based, sculptural exploration of female African American subjectivity, informed by both ancient African and African American object-making. Her work is at once highly abstracted and grounded in timeless recognizable objects, such as the pottery jar or cowrie shell. Using pre-historical ceramic techniques, Leigh challenges the boundaries between art and craft, between past and present. Her ceramic objects, often juxtaposed with emblems of modern technology (such as the television antenna), simultaneously evoke archaic and futuristic forms. Past, future and present are compressed into a single artwork.

Leigh's sophisticated contemporary sensibility turns her own evocation of the past on its head. She not only challenges our current prevalent attitudes towards ceramics as a decorative art, but subverts it entirely by pushing her images to the conceptual edge of contemporary abstraction.

A deep interest in the anonymity of women's piece-work has evolved into an obsessive repetition of form, whether in the hand-crafted roses, made petal by petal, that crown both sculpted heads and abstract shapes, or in the glazed and fired cowrie shells made from watermelon molds that join in over-sized hanging chandelier-like sculptures and evoke both ancient artifacts and open-ended metaphors for the female body. Leigh has seemingly assimilated all of the female history of object-making into her own art-making process. Her installations convey a sense of timeless drama, while revealing the intensity of her own subjective struggles.

Simone Leigh recently completed a one-person exhibition at The Kitchen, New York and has shown her work at the Sculpture Center, Queens, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York and the Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna among many other venues. She has been an Artist in Residence at the Studion Museum in Harlem as well as at Hunter College and the Henry Street Settlement. In 2011 Leigh was the recipient of a Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant for Sculptors and in 2012 received the Creative Capital Grant for Visual Arts. Leigh lives and works in Brooklyn.

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