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Sullivan+Strumpf opens an online exhibition of works by Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran
Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran,

SYDNEY.- In his new body of work, Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran combines multiple elements into sculptures and plates to create figures with multiple personalities. Polymorphous Figures combines sexual, structural, animal and architectural forms – moving past his previous dualities into polymorphous figures that occur in several different forms and stages.

Such hijacking of hegemonic institutions is one of Ramesh trademarks. By carefully replicating and blending the appearance of these figures, Ramesh’s ideas and concepts transform into multi-faceted narratives that reflect the artist more than ever before. These concepts made in clay defy traditional representations of Eastern idols and Western tropes, offering an incomparable understanding of power and representation. Bold and multifaceted, colourful and confident, glazes and gestures mimic the artist himself.

Glazes are another unique feature of the Ramesh’s practice. This body of work pushes into an increasingly painterly style. More gestural and enigmatic, symmetry and smoothness make way for distorted forms and rough, mark making that signal the artist’s origins as a painter. Gestural marks give the impression of movement within the works, combining abstract markings with his figurative forms to soften the hard surfaces and infuse life into the clay.

Nithiyendran has proved adept at expanding the sculptural possibilities of ceramics in materially complex, visually beguiling, and entertaining ways. – Toni Ross, Artforum, 2020

Where some artists working with clay whisper, Ramesh shouts. Polymorphous Figures takes on the form of an army, with troops forming a loud symphony of colours and patterns – a bright beacon of joy to help us through these surreal times.

Within these new works, I have referenced smaller scale idols and figurative sculptures found in domestic, architectural and various other contexts. I have studied South Asian sculptural vernacular including figures adorning the exteriors of temples, contemporary iterations of sexual symbols as well as depictions of monkeys, birds and fish. I’ve explored a broad range of themes related to idolatry, queer politics and aesthetics, the polychrome and manual forms of production.

The series includes a large collection three-legged figures – all produced in 2020. This third-leg motif has been recurrent in my practice. I’m interested in this symbol as it is simultaneously sexual, structural, architectural and animal. When I look at the collection of works together in my studio – they seem sentient. They are at times an army, a series of warriors, mythical beings or deity-like forms.

Each sculpture is hand built and glazed in my studio in Rydalmere in Western Sydney. I’ve attempted to incorporate a more a painterly language in these ceramic surfaces. I’ve included coarse brush marks, drips, transparent layers and expressive lashes of glaze. This is reflective of my renewed interest in painting as a core methodology and language in my studio practice. --Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran, 2020

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