Art Quench Gallery Announces Neena Singh the Winner of the Feb. Art Competition
titled “Contemporary Life and the Urban Experience “
Neena has won one year of representation with Art Quench Gallery. We Welcome Neena to the ArtQuench Family.
Juror; Monica Hicks
I was displaced as a viewer when I saw this piece. I questioned what urban existence meant and whether or not this piece fit into my American understanding of that. This piece shifted my perspective to consider other parts of an experience, whether it be in America down the street or in the world’s urban landscape. Singh is confronting the viewer creating a relationship between you and the two women standing by in brightly colored robes.
Neena shares her journey…
I grew up in little known townships of India and completed my early schooling from there. Growing up in a conventional family and in small townships of India made me aware of the crushing social pressures and the limits which then existing social structures put on a girl child. Every step one had to take was a struggle. School libraries gave me space which was safe and I immersed myself in books. Books became my obsession- I read anything and everything I could lay my hands on- as a result, I got sensitized to various issues, at times beyond my age. I grew up in surroundings which were very limiting and restrictive and any authentic expression of self seemed to threaten the status quo. I started to paint sitting in quite corners. I also started to express myself in my diary. Painting gave me immense joy- a huge sense of relief- it made me feel free. I did my masters in sociology and pursued M.Phil and PhD in sociology from J.N.U, New Delhi. As a research student my natural inclination was towards ‘abstraction’. From data gathered from various secondary sources even now it has a bearing on my inclination towards abstraction as an artist.
Somehow, the passivity of my research work made me restless and it drove me away from pure academic pursuits. I decided to appear in civil services exam and joined the Indian Revenue Service (IRS) in the year 1988.
Somehow, In all these years painting had taken a back seat. However, the turn of events in 1998 woke me up from my slumber. Nothing made sense. Least of all words- WORDS which were always sacred for me suddenly seemed to loose their power. What I was experiencing and struggling with was beyond the realm of words. I was tired, exhausted and lost. I was struggling, searching and yet did not want to give up. I wanted to move ahead, I was desperate. It was during this phase that I took up the brush. ..almost unknowingly and then began my tryst with the brush which enabled me, over a period of time, to reclaim my faith in life- I painted, painted and painted..and exhausted the images that used to haunt me- I call these ‘creations of solitude’..each of these represented some vicissitude in my journey. As I was restless, acrylic as a medium came handy, the pieces I painted helped me to move away from negative and destructive experiences and enabled me to create a space where I could reclaim my faith in the beauty and richness of life in spite of everything , it helped me to outgrow the boundaries, conventions, my own weaknesses and above all the act of painting is almost compelling- the urge to paint is the urge to live.
Painting (the act of painting) is the only activity which exhausts and consumes all that is there within me. It liberated me.
To me, painting is not about color, form or technique. It is about the life that I live and experience. Depending upon the image that I feel compelled to bring out on canvass, colors techniques and textures follow naturally.
What Franz Kafka said of his nocturnal writing, I can say about my paintings. Franz Kafka once wrote that its easy to recognize a concentration in me of all my forces on writing, when it became clear in my organism that writing was the most productive direction for my being to take , everything rushed in that direction..naturally I did not find this purpose independently and consciously- it found me