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 Dargh Sharif, Ajmer, by Kathryn Meyers

Both Kathryn Myers’ work and life have been influenced by her visits to India, including one in 2002 as a Fulbright Senior Scholar. A professor of art at UConn since 1984, she has organized the current exhibition at the William Benton Museum of Art: “Masala: Diversity and Democracy in South Asian Art.” She says of her experiences:
Woman at the Window, Nepal, by Kathryn Myers My paintings of India are of deeply focused acts of devotion and labor. Often I am not certain if there is a difference. Sometimes it is not a specific activity that I am looking for, just a nondescript or unremarkable moment. Through the process of painting I make translations, interpretations, projections and impositions. Little may remain in its original context as I remove or alter sites of occurrence, allowing gesture and form to be precise and ambiguous, incomplete and uncertain.
I am moved by a sense of surrender in ritual activity that I observe in India; simple or elaborate, at a temple, at home or on the street. I have often found myself envious of this generous and democratic human potential that I felt I did not possess.
In my work about New England and India I draw imagery from both places, attempting to find a common ground where as one form meets another it speaks both of where it came from as well as its potential to traverse time and culture, the material and the spiritual, the tangible and the intangible.
Fisherman, by Kathryn Myers For the past three years I have lived in a house with a long history that has welcomed me, luring me into its past. My house has a generous and welcoming spirit, offering comfort as well as a sense of belonging to something larger than my own small history. In New England, the past has a felt presence where every house, object and gravestone offers the possibility of a story or metaphor.
Sometimes now in the midst of a simple task or unremarkable moment, I have experienced something akin to what I saw happening to others in India. A sensation that is elementary and nuanced, grounded and uplifting, evoking the spirit of New England and of India. It is at these moments that I feel the most potential in finding a space where the extraordinariness of India and the familiarity of my life at home can meet. Homi Bhabha might call this the mediatory place between the ecstatic and the everyday, the mystery and ordinariness that is the human position.

Dodd Center Gallery
Curator: Michele Palmer