In conjunction with her mid-career retrospective at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) in Philadelphia, New York-based Rina Banerjee will discuss the vivid paintings and sculptural installations that she makes from materials sourced throughout the world. Born in Calcutta, Banerjee relentlessly creates work that reflects the splintered experience of identity, tradition and culture often prevalent in diasporic communities. While the visual culture that she experienced as a child in India greatly influences her aesthetic, her immigration to the UK and her love of the diverse culture of her current home, New York City, form the core of her practice. She is a voracious gatherer of objects—in a single sculpture one can find African tribal jewelry, colourful feathers, light bulbs, Murano glass, and South Asian antiques in conflict and conversation with one another. These sensuous assemblages reverberate with bright colours and surprising textures, which appear as simultaneously familiar and unfamiliar objects. Through this expansive oeuvre, Banerjee makes visible the transnational movement of people and objects, underscoring the social and economic inequalities that are inherent to these exchanges. Jodi Throckmorton, Curator of Contemporary Art at PAFA will introduce the exhibition and join Banerjee in a Q & A following her talk.
Rina Banerjee was born in Calcutta, India in 1963. She grew up in London, England, and eventually moved to New York, NY. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Polymer Engineering at Case Western University in 1993 and took a job as a polymer research chemist upon graduation. After several years, she left the science profession to receive her Masters in Fine Arts from Yale University in 1995. Banerjee’s work has been exhibited internationally, including but not limited to New York, NY; Paris, France; London, England; Tokyo, Japan; Los Angeles, CA; New Delhi, India; Milan, Italy; Singapore; and notably a solo exhibition at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC in 2013. The artist’s works are also included in many private and public collections such as the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA; Centre George Pompidou, Paris, France; Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA; Queens Museum, Queens, NY; and the Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY. Rina Banerjee currently lives and works in New York City.
Jodi Throckmorton joined the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts as Curator of Contemporary Art in fall 2014. Prior to PAFA, she was Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Ulrich Museum of Art at Wichita State University, and before Ulrich, she was Associate Curator at the San Jose Museum of Art. She organized the exhibition and publication Postdate: Photography and Inherited History in India (2015). Other projects include Melt/Carve/Forge: Embodied Sculptures by Cassils (2016); Alyson Shotz: Plane Weave (2016); Bruce Conner: Somebody Else’s Prints (2014); Questions from the Sky: New Work by Hung Liu (2013); Dive Deep: Eric Fischl and the Process of Painting (2013); Ranu Mukherjee: Telling Fortunes (2012); and This Kind of Bird Flies Backward: Paintings by Joan Brown (2011).