You seem to build a compact, layered space, sometimes with lattices or patterns laid over deeper pictorial space. Can you talk about how you build this space, how you use it in the paintings?
Well, I go back to this notion of what was and what is to come, this kind of in-between place and how that sense of in-betweenness can make itself present visually. I am interested in the figure existing within, in front, and behind the picture plane, which itself shifts from a wall to a void from painting to painting.
On one level, this in-between and compacted space is a result of how I paint. I put things in and take things away all the time. I'm interested in how the last mark in a painting can sit next to one from weeks ago. I am not sure how else to say it but that it’s a type of place that I trust, a place made visible through time. I grew up in India before I moved to the U.S., and I remember streets named after British generals next to streets named after Indian freedom fighters. I remember feeling a sense of familiarity when I first went to Rome and stepping into the Forum, realizing that walking through it was literally walking through time.
So when I paint, I am always thinking about moving through time and space. When I stand in front of a painting in progress, it feels disorienting. The lattices or patterns provide a spatial continuity that I can then push against. I find myself looking for markers, carving out pathways, traveling within. I can tell the painting is close to completion when I feel like I can trust the space in front of me, not because I can name it, but because I can almost smell it.
Born in Kolkata, India, Sangram Majumdar
has an MFA from Indiana University and a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. Recent solo exhibition venues include Geary Contemporary, NY; Steven Harvey Fine Art Projects, NY and Asia Society Texas Center. Selected group exhibition venues include Mamoth, London; Shoshana Wayne Gallery, LA; The Landing Gallery, LA and James Cohan Gallery, NY. Selected awards include a Mellon Faculty Fellowship in Arts, NYFA Grant in Painting, Purchase Award from American Academy of Arts and Letters, NY, a MacDowell Fellowship, a residency at Yaddo, the 2009-10 Marie Walsh Sharpe Studio Space Program Grant, and a MICA Trustees Award for Excellence in Teaching. In 2019 he was inducted into the National Academy of Design. His work has been reviewed in Artforum, The Brooklyn Rail, Hyperallergic, among others. He has also lectured on his work at numerous institutions including Columbia University, RISD, CCA, Cranbrook School of Art, Pratt,PAFA, SUNY-Purchase, Princeton University, and the New York Studio School. Majumdar lives and works in Seattle, Washington and is an Assistant Professor of Painting and Drawing at theUniversity of Washington.