INDIAN CONTEMPORARY ARTIST
- Born in 1940, Burnpur, West Bengal, India
- Lives and works in New Delhi
UNDERSTANDING THE ARTIST
Anjolie Ela Menon uses everyday prosaic objects like chairs and charpoys to suggest personal link with people, emotions, moods and locations. Portraits, Malabar landscape, rags and grimes of poverty, images of melancholic reverie and other ordinary objects populate the artist’s canvas of an adolescent’s loss of her mother and her father in later years. Distant skies, balloons and kites symbolise that which is lost forever. Nudes also form an important theme in her oeuvre gathering momentum after Anjolie’s marriage in 1961 and her ensuing pregnancy. Through repeated associations, objects in her work acquire a poetic quality becoming a symbol acquiring powerful visual vocabulary.
Anjolie Ela Menon’s use of animal in her work suggests an emotional dependence on a domesticated animal. The sleek black crow entered Anjolie’s paintings during the 1970’s which was probably the only symbol of nature in her life in Bombay. Similarly, the use of lizards, dogs and goats have the same kind of benign quality to them.
Earlier she would paint the windows then later she salvaged actual windows from junk shops to form a grid where images could be used as a collage in non-realistic manner with wooden frames. Windows, a recurring idiom in her works, would often become the barrier behind which much of the action and emotion takes place: respite and diversion, nostalgia and pain or the hardness and vulnerability of a prostitute.
Through the use of texture and delicate layers of colours like transparent brown, olive green, Indian yellow or Prussian blue that her works acquire a certain mystery or brooding quality - wrapped in mists of translucency, stripped of mystery and creative imagination. Recently, the artist has moved away from the deeply intense palette to experiment with lighter, brighter shades and has begun to use computer aided images for her works.
Anjolie Ela Menon, Alchi– II, 2007, oil on masonite, 12 x 7.5
Anjolie Ela Menon, Awakening II, 1970
Anjolie Ela Menon, Beach Party, 2011, acrylic on canvas, 36 x 24
Anjolie Ela Menon, Christ, 2000, oil and gold leaf on masonite, 47 x 23 in
Anjolie Ela Menon, Dariba, 1980, oil on masonite board, 48 x 36 in
Anjolie Ela Menon, Dinner Party, 1988, oil on masonite board, 54 x 73 in
Anjolie Ela Menon, Eliamma, 1959
Anjolie Ela Menon, Kamatipura, 1982
Anjolie Ela Menon, Girl(detail), 1978
Anjolie Ela Menon, FAMILY, 2009, oil on masonite board, 44 x 34 in