Red Earth-Vanishing Ice Sundaram Tagore Gallery 2008

Red Earth – Vanishing Ice

Sundaram Tagore Gallery, New York, 2008

Red Earth – Vanishing Ice weaves together sound, scent, water, ice, metal, stone, and earth in two site-specific installations. Along with earth drawings and paintings, and sculptures made from beeswax and repurposed bamboo mats and baskets, Jyoti creates a space where nature and culture merge.

In a site-specific installation, titled Red Earth-Vanishing Ice, Jyoti used yak-hair rope to suspend a block of ice, which slowly melted on a rock from India’s Narmada River. It was nestled within a sculptural assemblage of handmade copper cauldrons, brass vessels, and wooden containers filled with flowers and water from Kathmandu and New York. The installation referenced the flow of the Hudson River, one block from the gallery, and the glacial melt-down caused by climate change in the Himalayas and around the world.

A fifteen-foot long canvas, titled Srishti (Creation in Sanscrit), was painted with earth colors and the velvety black of shilajit, an Ayurvedic medicine from Nepal. Together with the flame of an oil lamp and a basket filled with red earth sprouting barley, Jyoti interprets contrasting states of matter and the beauty of life.

Another installation, Sounds of Color, was made from date palm fronds, sand, colored pigments used in South Asian rituals and brass singing bowls. A cane basket covered with beeswax and painted with red earth underneath, hung from an iron rebar while tall stem glasses filled with ritual pigments rested on its base of wood. Gallery visitors were encouraged to strike the bowls and listen or meditate on their wide range of reverberations.