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Aicon Gallery is incredibly grateful for its decades-long relationship with renowned Indian painter Anjolie Ela Menon. Over the course of a career spanning more than sixty years, Menon has cemented her status as a pioneering figurative painter, working in defiance of the trends of the day. The themes that have pervaded Menon’s artwork are universal but also distinctly Indian: urban life, family, spirituality. An octogenarian as active as ever, Menon continues to evade attempts to neatly classify her art. Her flat, decisive brushstrokes evoke the style of Byzantine art, harking back to her studies of medieval Christian iconography during her time in Paris at the École des Beaux-Arts. Since setting off as a young artist committed to deliberate, almost austere figures, Menon has evolved greatly and perfected a style signature to her enigmatic story. Anjolie Ela Menon as an unusual ability to distill a scene to its essentials while breathing life into all that she paints.
By the River showcases an artist at her apex. Menon grants us the gift of canvases that plumb the depths of her rich lived experience. Menon will always appeal to a wide audience because, as Gautam Bhatia puts it, she “retains a resolute determination to stay clear of cultural stereotypes, and deliberately straddle a wide range of diverse geographies and time frames.” It is through the colorful lens of this artist that we can better appreciate the world around us. In our presentation, we witness a woman who gracefully carries the burden of being an unapologetically female narrator of Indian culture. Ultimately, the show is a tribute to an artist who “dreams in color.”