SE Cooper Contemporary is honored to present Groundhog Day: a solo exhibition by Srijon Chowdhury, on view from February 20th until April 2nd, 2022. Please join us to celebrate the work at the artist reception on February 20th, from 1-4pm. The gallery is open Saturdays 11-5 and by appointment.
The work of Srijon Chowdhury functions as an emotive conduit to the silence of one’s life that is nearly unbearable. It looks into the curse among us: of being intelligent enough to know that the world in which we exist in is totally fucked up, but not being smart enough or perhaps having the power or autonomy to change it. The sensitivity to light in Chowdhury’s paintings of domestic stories center the viewer directly in a moment, which creates a deeply intimate experience with its subjects. This intimacy invites us in, but is undermined by an unnerving feeling that some things are not as they seem. This disquieting is most apparent in the more realistic paintings; here we confront subjects grounded in what appears to be a questioning of their own existence. Their inquiries into existence are concentrated more toward why then if. This sensation is heightened by the viewer’s presence alongside paintings whose subjects cannot be awoken from staring into space.
Vacillating, between still life, portraits, and floral imagery, the work in the exhibition holds some fantastic moments of hope and possibility. The paintings of flora express a magical sensation of light that draws us toward mystery, healing, and possibility with their glowing and vibrant color, radiating a sense of desire in their implied power to create change. It is hard not to think of a cinematic pan that moves toward a seemingly ubiquitous object that has the power to rewrite narrative. The complexity within Chowdhury’s paintings offers a link between his subjects’ interior lives and our own as their witnesses, intertwined like fantastical objects in a film, folklore, and religious story. In all the joys of living in our own desires there is an underlying violence at play that is most visible in those closest to us, including that inside us.
The paintings in the exhibition are separated by two steel gates embedded with the poem A Divine Image, by William Blake, a poem that references the inner violence and evil imbued into humans. The artist harnesses familiar symbols to create an intimate insight into our closest domestic relationships and narratives. He asks us to look at how we are consumed by our reflections, and our desires to make them better or different, amidst a phantasmagoric and underlying violence written by our own vision. In our guts we feel trapped often, and circle our minds around possible solutions that threaten to further imprison us.