Ranjith Raman prepares the surface of his cotton fabrics covering them from edge to edge with the running stitch in a single colour – much like one would prime a canvas. Engrossing himself in the time-consuming process of embroidering he begins these works with an instinctual idea of what he wants to create. Stitches, like brushstrokes, veer off in different directions, creating texture. One becomes aware of the power of line. Loose strands, exposed knots, superimposed applique and layers of cloth are some of the complex techniques used in these panels. As light falls on fibers their dynamic tonal qualities add another dimension to the imagery. Neat stitches and the untidy reverse-side of hand embroidering are used equally towards the goal of achieving the visual in his mind.
Ranjith’s work faces up to the challenge of capturing intangible, evanescent concepts with a physical, three dimensional medium. Fibers and fabric are the stuff of his voice and visual language. Ranjith doesn’t subscribe to the medium’s prevalent associated meanings suggestive of gender politics, violence, pain or fragility. For him it’s not about conceptualizing or contextualizing historic traditions of textiles and embroidering either. The process of making art is part of his quest and not an agenda.
This artwork description is an excerpt from “Intangibles” an exhibition at Gallerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke by Ranjith Raman.
Ranjith was born (1972) and brought up in the south Indian coastal state of Kerala. The gentleness of the landscape fostered his artistic streak and led him to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts from College of Fine Arts, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, completed in 1996. A move to Ahmedabad, in the state of Gujarat in western India, the same year, brought him in touch with the city’s and region’s rich textiles. He observed skilled mirror-work embroiderers creating eye-catching embroideries and learnt the technique and effect of different stitches.
Moving cities to teach and later to complete a Masters in Fine Arts at Sarojini Naidu School of Arts, University of Hyderabad (completed in 2006), Ranjith kept painting and adding stitch to his paintings. During this period, in about 2004, he realized that embroidering was his calling. As Ranjith immersed himself in embroidery; he created naturalistic, semi-abstract and abstract compositions portraying people, lush landscapes of Kerala and cityscapes, each meshed with his personal journey and connect. His solo shows include: ‘intangibles’ at Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Mumbai (2012); and also at Contemporary Art Gallery, Ahmedabad, Nazar Art Gallery, Baroda in 2000.
His selected group shows include: The Material Point: Reconsidering the Medium on the (Post)modern Moment, Gallery OED, Kochi (2013); ART HK 12, Hong Kong International Art Fair, Hong Kong (2012); 5th Anniversary Exhibition, Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Mumbai (2011); April Salon, Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Mumbai (2010); Parables of Thread, The Loft, Mumbai (2008), etc.
This artist bio has been sourced from Anant Art’s page on Ranjith Raman.