// ARTIST STATEMENT //
The multi-layered artwork I make is a commentary on the human condition and the environment we inhabit. Understanding how past patterns of our experience and histories intertwine with the way we navigate our present day lives is of great interest to me. Themes in identity, personal history, gender constructs, socio-political order and colonial history are depicted and debated in my layered artistic interventions that employ drawing, found objects, text, photo and installation. In a contemporary re-imagining of the ‘exquisite corpse’ genre, I oftentimes re-purpose collected antiquarian objects, imagery and texts along with my own drawings to render an altered visual engagement in an attempt to construct a reimagined history.
In my visual vocabulary, the human form and anatomical imagery is intertwined with foliage and nature. Nature/land/landscape is seen as a metaphor for the body (and vice-versa) and as a site for germination, nourishment, degradation, trespass, plunder, colonization and transgression. My influences include history, myth, the natural world, medieval illustration and mystical philosophies, to name a few.
My work oftentimes speaks of dislocation and migration. Migration has spanned the last four generations in my family. I spent my early childhood on a ship and have later lived on three different continents. My work examines what it means to be rooted and routed. As an incorrigible collector, my collections (of antiquarian maps, books, engravings and vintage objects) and my resultant artworks, give me a sense of permanence and points of reference in my shifting physical and emotional geographies.
// BIO //
Samanta Batra Mehta's work has been exhibited at art galleries and museums in the US and abroad including at the Queens Museum of the Arts, the Hudson River Museum, the Hunterdon Museum, the Taubman Museum of Art in the US, Fotografia Cassa di Risparmio di Modena and Museo d'Arte Orientale in Italy and at ‘Reading Room’, a partner exhibition at the Kochi Biennale 2014. Her art fair participations include Bologna Arte Fiere, Artissima, Turin, the Salon Du Dessin Contemporain, Paris, Art Dubai, India Art Fair, New Delhi, Art Stage, Singapore, and Art Basel Hong Kong.
She has had three solo presentations: ’Cabinet of Curiosities’ at Shrine Empire, New Delhi, which was nominated for the Forbes India Art Award in 2014, ‘The Journey of Secrets’, at Sakshi Art Gallery, Mumbai in 2015, and ‘The Crucible of Fantasy’ at Art Basel Hong Kong 2015, presented by Shrine Empire Gallery.
Her works are included in various art collections including at Fondazione Fotografia Cassa di Risparmio di Modena in Italy, the RPG Group, India, The Jindal Collection, India, the Birla Art Foundation, India. She was awarded the Joan Mitchell Foundation's 2014-2015 Painters & Sculptors Grant Award. She participated in Wave Hill's 2020 Winter Workspace Residency in New York and is 2021 SqW:Lab Fellowship recipient.
Before nurturing her art career, Samanta worked in banking, venture capital and international shipping. She holds a Master of Science degree from The London School of Economics, UK.
Samanta lives and works in New York.
Her instagram handle is: @samanta_batra_mehta