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Biography

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Overview (1)

Birth NameChitra Subramanyam

Mini Bio (2)

Educator and professional artist Chitra Ramanathan's current series of predominantly large-scale multi-media paintings portray the mental emotion of happiness as a visual entity through intense colors and multiple layers of textures that attract light from various angles, pushing the boundaries of her paintings beyond the confines of a two-dimensional surface. They are inspired by short-lived garden blooms and constantly changing seasons in nature, characteristics that attribute to the ephemeral, fleeting and enticingly beautiful happiness' "formless form": a phrase she has coined to describe her concept. The hint of circles almost always present in her works signify the cycle of human life: trying times followed by happy phases in a positive sense, and of life and rebirth influenced by her roots from India.

Her paintings have been described as "tactile works that resonate with a quiet harmony" and "Simply luxurious" by Manhattan Arts, New York. To quote from an excerpt from an interview with the artist, "Chitra's paintings exemplify her love of nature as well as the subjectivity of each individual's unique pursuit of happiness. Her painting procedure often entails making mental notes of a scene in nature, including the lighting, colors, and textures. She then uses these impressions in her studio to replicate the subject matter in an abstracted form, using rich physical textures, intense colors, and varied media".

Member, Committee on Cultural Diversity Practices, College Art Association, New York. 2007-2010. (Active member of CAA since 1997 & Member, Services to Artists Committee from 2003-06).

She was educated at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, USA: Master of Business Administration Concentration: Arts Administration & Human Resources Art Internship: New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York 1997.

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honors) Major: Painting 1993.

Stella Maris College, Chennai, India: Bachelor of Fine Arts, 1979.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Biography

Born in Thiruvananthapuram, India; Chitra Ramanathan is a contemporary Indian American visual artist and educator. She produces predominantly large scale abstract conceptual mixed media paintings, drawings, prints, site-specific installation works, and sculpture that have been exhibited in art galleries in SoHo, Broadway Manhattan, New York, solo exhibition at the ARC Gallery & Educational Foundation at Chicago, and a 2006 solo exhibition at the Indianapolis Artsgarden, Circle Centre, Indianapolis to name a few.

Several of her colorful mixed media paintings are owned by individuals and corporate collectors around the United States and in Europe including donation of two large scale paintings on permanent display in the conference hall of the College of Medicine at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign since 1995, a painting sold at the Madam C.J. Walker Theatre Center, Indianapolis towards benefit to the Eightieth Birthday Benefit Gala Dinner-silent and live art auction in 2006 and a piece created for the 'Indianapolis International Film Festival 2008' based on a favorite Hollywood movie "'Breaking Away 1979'".

Commissions include a series of post-card paintings which was a commission for the Florida International University art department, Miami, Florida in 2005 (to coincide with Art Basel Miami 2005) and a series of ten post-card sized paintings for the Indianapolis Museum of Art's "Gallery of the Machine" in 2006.

Recently completed commission entailed creating a permanent wall mural measuring 13.8 feet wide and 4 feet high, for the front lobby of Crooked Creek Elementary School, Marion County, Indianapolis, this March 2008 site specific public art project made possible through a grant to the school by the Metropolitan School Foundation which is a public school district in Indianapolis.

Earlier site specific public art commissions and installation art projects awarded include two large paintings for the MGM Mirage that are permanently housed inside the Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, Las Vegas in 2004, and five large-scale multi-media paintings for the Arts Council of Indianapolis at Chase Towers near Monument Circle Indianapolis in 2006, which is an annual project supported by the Indianapolis Cultural Development Commission.

Academically, Chitra Ramanathan's work has attracted invitational visiting artist lectures to educational institutions such as the Kansas State University art department in 2002, and the Royal Academy of Arts/Royal Academy Schools London in 2005 by current Royal Academy Keeper and Head, Professor Maurice Cockrill. Chitra earned her second Bachelors of Fine Arts in Painting with Honors in 1993 during which period she also allotted time to study Painting and Art History in Paris, France, with visits to Giverny, France that influenced her later work. The artist returned to France in April 2010, accepting a invitation to complete a self-directed artist residency at Marnay-sur Seine, completing her month long work in April 2010 with a trip back to Giverny.

Her paintings are represented by Artprice.com Auction House, France and OneArtWorld.com

- IMDb Mini Biography By: http://www.saatchigallery.co.uk

Trade Mark (3)

Extensive body of paintings depicting happiness portrayed as a "formless form" as a visual entity
Her mixed-media paintings on and behind Plexiglas
Predominently large-scale pieces

Trivia (38)

2004 site-specific public art commission for MGM Mirage to create two paintings both measuring 4 feet X 6 feet in dimension and signed by the artist are on display inside the Bellagio Conservatory, Las Vegas. They are based on an earlier 1999 and a 2000 smaller sized pieces by the artist..
Her custom created large mixed media painting, based on the 1979 Hollywood film "Breaking Away", was donated towards auction for the Indianapolis International Film Festival 2008.
Her mixed media painting, measuring 36 inches by 48 inches, was sold at the Madam C.J. Walker Theatre Center, Indianapolis towards benefit to the Eightieth Birthday Benefit Gala Dinner-Silent and Live Art Auction (2006).
Two of her large-scale paintings are permanently displayed and owned by the College of Medicine at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1995).
Her first solo exhibition in the U.S was hosted by the ARC Gallery and Educational Foundation at Chicago in 1994. This major exhibition featured her paintings as well as sculptures and prints (monoprints and lithographs). The Chicago exhibition was followed by shows at different art galleries on Broadway, New York from 1995-1998.
She coined the phrase "formless forms" to describe her visual depiction of happiness, an emotion of the mind, in her extensive body of colorful paintings with myriad textures.
When she was just twelve years old, her watercolor painting was showcased in recognition of her talent at the Birla Academy of Art and Culture, Kolkatta, India, in addition to being awarded a silver trophy through the Philips India Ltd. "Parichay" Child Art Competition during an award function at the venue.
She was awarded a prize in the form of a camera at the age of ten through a national child art competition by Hindustan Unilever Ltd., India.
Has created drawings and paintings throughout her childhood and adolescent years.
Began drawing and painting from the age of four.
Has received several silver trophies from art competitions throughout her growing years.
Created and presented a singed custom portrait of Balasubramaniam S.P. during his concert at Indianapolis in 2006, on behalf of the Tamil association.
Created portraits and landscapes throughout her childhood.
Was born in Kerala but grew up in Kolkata (then Calcutta) as a child artist, and later Chennai, India.
Calls her images of happiness "formless forms", while portraying that emotion of the mind as a visual entity.
She received the Liquitex "Excellence in Art" Product Grant Hollywood Merit Awards for two consecutive years (1994 and 1995) from Binney and Smith Inc., makers of Crayola crayons.
Has spent a month painting and drawing entire days in Paris, France that inspired her current work. Speaks very little French.
"Chitra" is a Hindu name for the female child in India derived from the Sanskrit word for Portrait, Picture, or Painting.
The Indianapolis Artsgarden was the venue of the most recent solo exhibition of her signature paintings.
Is a fan of Mira Nair's movies.
To date, most of her signature style paintings have got sold to collectors in the state of California.
Has taught courses and workshops in Acrylic painting and Mixed media painting at the Indianapolis Art Center since 2004.
The major influence for her current body of work stemmed from keenly observing the gardens from inside the Claude Monet House during visits to Giverny. Her favorite painting, The Waterlily Pond, 1897.
Happiness is the common thread that runs through her expressive, highly textured abstract paintings awash with bold, vibrant colors.
Her biography is listed in the national directory Who's Who in America 2008.
Her 1998 and 2000 originals titled "A Momentary Glance", and "Coruscation" respectively, were the originals works upon which two large-scale paintings on canvas signed by the artist were created for MGM Mirage for the Bellagio, Las Vegas in 2004. "Coruscation", a mixed-media painting on canvas measuring 18 inches X 24 inches, is owned by an Indianapolis based collector who acquired it in 2006.
Speaks four languages.
Loves the outdoors, working on her garden and boating.
Entered the University of Illinois in 1991 with a course in Cinematography.
While earning her M.B.A, she was commissioned to officially create an original T-shirt logo depicting the Summer Olympics 1996 held at Atlanta. The T-shirts were created to welcome the "Illinois M.B.A"'s class of 1998.
Invitational exhibition:

Brevard Museum of Art and Science, Melbourne, Florida. [June 2009]
Lives and works in the United States. [June 2008]
Completed a large-scale permanent wall mural in the front lobby of an elementary school, this site-specific public art commission made possible through a grant to the school from the Washington Township School Foundation Metropolitan School District of Washington Township (MSDWT), a public school district in Indianapolis, USA. [April 2008]
"A Postcard is Worth 1000 Words Exhibition", APW Gallery Long Island City, New York, USA. June 5 - June 29, 2009 [June 2009]
Faculty, Painting at the Art School of the Vero Beach Museum of Art, Florida, USA [October 2012]
Faculty, Painting: Art School at the Vero Beach Museum of Art, Florida, USA [July 2011]
Chitra is a current member of the Committee on Diversity Practices of the College Art Association, New York. [October 2008]
Self directed artist residency to develop new work at Marnay, sur Seine, France through invitation from Artistay.org and grant from Camac.org [April 2010]

Personal Quotes (6)

I feel happiness is like a garden. Seasons change and it's the same with the mental state of happiness. (Optimistically) good times follow difficult phases in life - it's a cyclical concept.
I consider happiness to be irresistible, fleeting, and ephemeral. You can never really capture it but instead imagine it in so many colorful ways. I try to put these emotions down each time I set out to create.
Right from the beginning, I think of the visual impact of my finished paintings being exposed to natural versus artificial light and of different times of day, because of the presence of iridescent hues in many a piece. Similarly, textures can "play" with the eye when viewed under different light settings. I have progressively explored methods to capture the best effects of color, light and texture.
Color, light and texture play very important roles in my work, as well as process and minute details in the tradition of Indian Miniatures.
I feel fortunate that my work has got accepted so favorably - people who come across my paintings on various websites have been writing to me, and many have become collectors of my work. I am thankful that my work has traveled to different parts of the U.S and Europe. I have done a fair amount of donating work to worthy causes. Currently some of my paintings are up for auction at a website, where I have designated part of the proceeds from sales to reach organizations such as Newborns in Need, American Red Cross and the Jolie-Pitt Foundation to benefit children's causes globally. I wish to continue painting as long as I live. I would like to work on more public and corporate art commissions, maybe liven up buildings and offices that people see every day...
Water - I love water! It is so essential for life on our planet. Rivers, seascapes - anything portraying the vast expanses of it in different kinds of lighting might be interesting. (When asked about the most beautiful thing (landscape as subject) to paint).

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