IAAC Exhibition of Contemporary Indian Art of the Diaspora 2011   

Shobha Menon
Shobha Menon


Artist Statement

As an artist, I like to capture mood and emotion, internalized memories of myths and narratives, complexities and subtleties of human experience. Deep rooted images of Indian culture and fast moving technology of this present world tend to impasse me in a cultural synthesis, where I am confused and in a process to evolve a new idiom of visual language in canvas…

I consider that every art work maps transitions: the transition from reality to its representation, transitions between shades of color and light or different materialities, between object and space, or the artwork and the audience. The construction of meaning is obviously always dependent on contextual information and informed by our personal and cultural background. The visual idiom of an art work is to be judged by the onlooker; read the universal language of art that maps the transitions, defining the moments of our time and space.

Though I prefer to work with oil, I do experiment with mixed media, mainly using acrylic and oil to create different layers; using the fast drying effect of acrylic and exploring the unending possibility of oil pigments. I also amused and enchanted by the power of virtual painting, using a stylus on a graphic tablet… For me, each layer and each medium in an emotional sphere demands a certain medium for accurate expression. By combining techniques I feel that I can extend the range of expressiveness -- a larger dialogue between my intention and the colors in the process.


Shobha is a Philadelphia based artist, having studios at Philadelphia and San Francisco. Shobha was born in Cochin, Kerala, India. After receiving her MFA in Art History and Aesthetics from M.S. University Baroda, India, and 3 years of PhD research, she taught Art for 2 years. Later she worked for about 10 years in the IT field as graphics/IT consultant. She is also trained in Animation, Web Design and Development.

Shobha made a conscious decision to move back into the world of creative art in 2001, after she migrated to Philadelphia, USA. Since then she has done more than 500 works and has been affiliated to two art galleries by juried selection. Within a short period of time, Shobha has won many awards and was selected in numerous juried shows in the Mid Atlantic region and prestigious international shows in USA and Dubai.

Her awards includes Philadelphia Tri-state AE- Friends Award (2007- Juried by James Penland), Main Line Arts Centre Award (2005, when international fame Sam Maitin was the Juror), MCGOPA-SPP gallery Award (Juror: Helen Meyrick, Director and Owner of Projects Gallery in 2009 and in 2010).
Shobha also finds time to work for the artist community in the Philadelphia area. She is one of the board member of MCGOPA- Montgomery County Guild of Professional Artists, located at SPP Gallery, Philadelphia Inquirer news paper building, Conshohocken. She was the Director/ Board Member and Chair of Outreach programs of Philadelphia Tri-state Artist Equity Association, Inc. during 2006 to 2009, (also known as Artist Equity) one of the pioneer groups that works to advance the profession of Visual artists in USA, started in 1949; now serving them in the advisory board. She has also worked in the capacity of a Juror for Tyme Gallery Annual Exhibition in August 2010.

She has extensively written articles on Art and society, and her recent papers includes, "Visual Artists in the Digital Age" and "Fair policy of original art & original print vs. reproductions and copies"; prepared for Artist Equity's outreach programs.

Shobha believes that the years she worked actively in other fields helped her to look at the society/world with a wider perspective and to recreate them in visual metaphors, a cosmos of dreams, reality, and emotions tempered by an inner reasoning, both contemporary and primordial.

Shobha says: "I like to capture moods and emotions internalized memories of myths and narratives, complexities and subtleties of human experience. The concept of core images that represent psychological dynamics has been an important one in guiding my work with mythology."

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