This week we welcome Aparna Sarkar. Sarkar is a queer, first-generation Indian-American oil painter, living and working in Brooklyn. She paints in collisions — of abstraction and figuration, decoration and structure, and flatness and perspective. Sarkar holds a master’s degree in fine arts in painting from the Rhode Island School of Design (2021) and a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Pomona College (2014). Her work has been exhibited at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art, 1969 Gallery, California Institute of the Arts, Pace University Gallery, Spring/Break Art Show and the RISD Museum, among others. Her awards include selection for the 2022 Saatchi Art Rising Stars Report, a 2022 residency at the Jentel Foundation, inclusion in the 2019 editorial selection of Art Maze Magazine and the 2018 Meredith Morabito and Henrietta Mantooth Full Fellowship to attend Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild.
“I start paintings with figurative scaffoldings that represent stories — each a mix of memory and myth, drawn from experiences of loneliness and/or lust. The figures are multiple selves, some painted from reference and augmented to create a specific architecture and feeling, and some imagined. I am inspired by the architecture of Indo-Persian miniatures to situate multiple spaces and times in different sections of the plane. Patterns often reference Indian shawls, saris, and Kantha embroidery from textiles I grew up wearing and seeing on my mom and aunties. Pattern functions as adornment, part of the landscape, and transparent barrier between parts of the paintings.
I am an indulgent painter; I follow instinct and desire, moving through luminous swaths of color, vibrating patterns, crusty clots, mythic figuration, and smooth gradients. This pleasure-seeking becomes an exploration of my hybrid identity: my paintings become nets that catch flecks of different facets of my identity in them as I paint, among them: queer, Indian, math-educated and U.S. first-generation.”