IAAC Exhibition of Contemporary Indian Art of the Diaspora 2014

Sunil Garg
Smrita Jain
Sunil Garg

I am an experimental and experiential artist. I amalgamate my scientific and technical experiences, my involvement with environmental and waste management issues, and musical and art and performance experiences in my art work.

I employ lightweight materials such as wire mesh, expandable foam, discarded plastic bags, and packaging materials in interaction with light and air currents to create work that invites the viewer to reconsider orthodoxy about devotion, duplication, reproduction, mass, gravity, optics, contours, waste, myth, religion, social symbols, sound, smell, environment and things and consumerism.

The work submitted is part of the ongoing and developing “Creation Myth” series. Conceptually, the series is based on the idea that creation was catalyzed by the pouring upon us of life giving materials, knowledge and ethics by the divine being or creator. I use hands as the metaphor for the divine and the human since hands are uniquely capable of translating concepts and thoughts, whether uplifting or dark, in to objects and actions. Each of the works has at least a duality of meanings.

I grew in to art without any formal art schooling. I began painting, drawing and playing music at a young age in India. I studied in the age old “guru" system in India - becoming an itinerant apprentice if you will, with established artists, sculptors, commercial painters, textile and fabric designers, and musicians. I learned techniques of material preparation, oil and linen painting, classical sculpture and music.

After high school, I earned a B.Sc. (with honors) in Chemistry while apprenticing and participating in art groups and shows in New Delhi. My efforts culminated in a One-Man Show of my paintings at the Shridharani Gallery in New Delhi. The show was well received and extensively reviewed in the media, both print and broadcast. I studies Sitar with Uma Shankar Dixit at Triveni Kala Sangam.

I came to New York City to pursue a Ph.D. in Polymer Chemistry and Physics. Contemporaneously, I got immersed in the 1970’s avant-garde Jazz scene in New York City. I performed in clubs in NYC and did live gigs on stage and radio with several well regarded musicians such as Beaver Harris, Dave Burrell, Cecil McBee, Ornette Coleman, Archie Shepp, Hammiett Blueitt, etc. Our Jazz band, 360 degree Musical Experience, recorded two well-received collections – “From Ragtime to No Time” and “In:Sanity Suite” (Black Saint Records). Performing was a growing and freeing experience.

After earning my doctorate, I worked in R&D developing new materials and processes for consumer, textile and electronic applications as well as in product development and marketing. I later earned a J.D. in law and practiced corporate, environmental, solid waste, energy and natural resources law. I now devote my time on art and creation. I have studied at the Art Students League, NYC, NJ Center for Visual Arts, Summit, NJ, and the National Academy Museum and School in NYC. I have been accepted into the Studio Intensive Program at the National Academy.

I amalgamate my scientific experiences, my work with environmental and waste management concerns, and musical and art training and performance experiences in my art work now. I have an increasing interest in creating movable, light weight 3D art. I want to create art that adapts and changes depending on environmental conditions and visual point of view and that challenges the viewers' preconceptions and biases and that invites the viewer to reconsider orthodoxy about devotion, duplication, reproduction, mass, gravity, optics, contours, waste, myth, religion, social symbols, sound, smell, science, environment and any importance of things and consumerism.

So far, I have not made a conscious effort to develop a style; I have let it happen to me since I am an experimentalist, I feel. My significant growth has emerged from my concern with interaction and experiences of life leading to an individualized projection of pulsations and throbbing of life. I feel that the essence of life is movement and that experience – conscious or subconscious, emotion and interaction can be represented through it. Through this axis, I personally try and synthesize the group and self and nature and the self.

I incorporate and amalgamate, my strong experiences in science, technology, social and environmental issues and music and movement in an effort to create art that does exactly that. I am particularly interested in exploring amorphous images and visions tugging at my subconscious, particularly when I awake from sleep and meditative states.

Recent Projects: In 2013, I have shown in juried shows at the Grounds For Sculpture, Hamilton, NJ, NJ Center for Visual Arts, and Summit Public Art show in Summit, NJ. I was selected by the jury and have an ongoing current large scale installation at the NJ Law Center, New Brunswick, NJ to run through October 31. I have installed two large scale site-specific 3-D works in a 1600 sq. ft. by 12 feet high space from September 28 – November 13 at the International Textile Show, Art Factory, Paterson, NJ.
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