A review of my Solo Show titled 'NEFELIBATA' -Blouin Artinfo NYC
" Walter Wickiser Gallery, New York presents “Nefelibata,” a solo exhibition of new works by Preeti Varma.
“Nefelibata,” roughly translated from Portuguese as “Cloud Walker,” the bold colors and forms come off as abstracted maps of the unconscious, though they are in fact drawn from the external world. With a nod to the French modernist Jean Dubuffet, who found beauty in “what lies at our feet,” Preeti Varma’s unorthodox representations focus attention on what we do not usually see, what she terms as “physically present, but visually absent objects.” Varma’s fascination with portraying the unnoticed developed in response to dramatic shifts in her surroundings, as she moved first from India to Singapore, and then to the New York City. Here, the overlooked objects are Manhattan’s ubiquitous fire hydrants. The Indian artist sees the commonplace hydrants as not just necessary fixtures of the urban landscape, but ones that are worthy of our admiration, with their own distinct patina—peeling paint, dog stains, graffiti—announcing the passage of time and experience. In this series of paintings, Varma continues to shake off the dullness that might otherwise cloak the familiar props of urban landscapes by lingering—just like a cloud walker—in the aftermath of fleeting visions.
Preeti Varma is a visual artist who explores interdisciplinary genres in her art practice such as painting, mixed media, photography, and sculptural installations. She seeks inspiration from within the concrete jungles in which we live and integrates elements of everyday existence, both visual and experiential, into her work. The artist has said, “The sensory experience of our fast-paced lives in sharp contrast to this quiet multitude of the quotidian ignites my curiosity and informs my work.”