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Chitra Ramanathan

 (born 1955)
Chitra Ramanathan is active/lives in Indiana.  Chitra Ramanathan is known for conceptual, mixed-media abstraction.

Chitra Ramanathan

Biography from the Archives of askART

The following is from the artist.  Parts of the biography text are from the Kala Arts Quarterly, Toronto. Winter 2000.

Chitra Ramanathan is a painter on the contemporary art scene.  She has had several solo exhibitions in New York and Chicago.  She has been commissioned to paint two six foot by four foot paintings based on two of her 1999 and 2000 originals, for the MGM MIRAGE Cafe Bellagio remodel in Las Vegas.  Completion Date: May 2004.

What impresses some collectors about Chitra's art is the theme of happiness portrayed with colors and textures.  Chitra's prints and paintings were described by the Champaign-Urbana Gazette as "simply luxurious" with "abstract play of color and flickering brush work" and "dominated by a central burst of energy".

Most of her paintings' titles are indicative of her theme. Consider Effulgence, Euphoric, Exuberance, Field of Ecstasy, Exultation, Lyrical Profusion and Revelry.

Chitra specially likes to work with textures, and has used sand, fiber, gold and silver leaf, tempera, and acrylic and ceramic stucco.  She has also used transparent media such as plexiglas, rice paper, and linen instead of the traditional canvas.  By painting on both sides of transparent media she has created multi-dimensional effects, with images at the back appearing to emerge from within, a sort of "floating quality"."

Chitra's first major solo exhibition was at the A.R.C. Gallery and Educational Foundation in Chicago in June 1994, which led to her debut in New York in April 1995.

Luis Rodrigues Aranguren of Nosotros Magazine in New York described Chitra's work with gusto.  "Transforming the invisible into the visible through abstract polichromy, predominantly from the blue gamut, the Indo-American painter Chitra Ramanathan seduced plastic art lovers who gathered at the gallery representing her in the absolute heart of Soho. Faithful to her cultural roots, Chitra Ramanathan communicates her emotions with evident metaphysical lyricism of light and color, using strong and vibrant colors to express the exuberant allegories of life in the context of human existence."

In her October 1995 exhibition of paintings and sculpture at the Agora Gallery in New York, Chitra used paint, anodized aluminum and Plexiglas to create what Manhattan Arts magazine called "tactile works that resonate with a quiet harmony".

In 1997 and again in 1998, special gallery exhibitions were held of Chitra's works.

In describing her own work, Chitra says she has been influenced by two cultures. She blends the "obsession for minute detail" and "ritualistic pattern of mark making" from her Hindu culture with the "abstract expressionism" of Western culture.  "My present work consists of lyrical compositions with an interplay of large doses of iridescent colors to capture the various nuances of light, while incorporating floating 'imageless' forms in an atmosphere of intricate detail."

Chitra showed an early and enthusiastic interest in the fine arts, developing a passion for drawing and coloring at a very young age.  She continued to win several prizes in art competitions throughout her childhood.

She went on to study Fine Arts in Stella Maris College in Chennai, obtaining a Bachelor's degree in Fine Arts.  In 1993 she acquired a second Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting with Honors from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  She also made time to study Contemporary French Art History and Painting in Paris, France.

While at the University of Illinois, Chitra was twice the recipient of the annual Liquitex Excellence in Art Student Grant Award from Binney & Smith, the makers of Crayola.  The award is a designation of outstanding achievement and excellence in the painting discipline.

Chitra continues to maintain her affiliations with The American Association of Museums and The International Sculpture Center in Washington, D.C., and The Art Institute in Chicago.

While she has been painting Chitra has also sought learning and growth in other areas. She studied to get an MBA from the University of Illinois, and learned computer technology.

She has been appointed a faculty member at the Indianapolis Art Center, Indianapolis beginning summer 2004.

For Chitra, happiness is "just a way of seeing things." She feels this is what her Hindu culture has taught her. Spirituality gives her energy and the ability to be happy. She feels that continuous learning is a great way to stay happy and never grow old.

A commission for the MGM Mirage Group for their Hotel Bellagio remodel in Las Vegas involved creating two six foot by four foot paintings which are based on the artist's 1998 and 2000 originals titled A Momentary Glance and Coruscation respectively.

October 24 and 25, 2005, Lecture at the Royal Academy of Arts in London about her career and painting techniques.

1994 & 1995 Product Grant Recipient, LIQUITEX Excellence in Art Student Grant Awards, Binney & Smith, Inc.

College of Medicine, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Abstracts 2008, CAA Committee Cultural Diversity Practices, Session, "World Art: A Panhuman Narrative for Egalitarian Teaching" College Art Association, New York: 96th Annual Conference, Dallas, Texas

The Indianapolis Business Journal
: Profile, "Women in Business" April 9-15, 2007 "Creative Pursuit of Happiness: Paintings Give form to the Ephemeral", interview by Della Pacheco, Photos: Waldek Photography

* "Rendezvous Artist" Profile, the Indianapolis Star newspaper's Fishers|Geist Magazine, July-August 2007 Story by Kasey Jackson, Photos by Perry Riechanadier

* "Secret Success", Profile, Indianapolis Monthly Home Magazine, Summer issue, July 2006, interview by Mike Knight

* BE "I buy Indy art" November 21-28, 2007, NUVO, Indianapolis, Indiana

*"Happy Art", Melissa Merli, Staff Writer, The Champaign-Urbana News Gazette, Sunday, February 23, 2003

*CAA News, "Solo Exhibition by Artist Members", November 2001

The Champaign-Urbana News Gazette, "New Exhibition Series Opens at the Springer Cultural Center, 2000

*Krish Krishnan, "CHITRA RAMANATHAN" KALA Arts Quarterly, Toronto, Canada, January 2000

Levina Melwani, New York Correspondent, India Today Magazine, "IN PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS", May 1998

Louis Rodriguez Aranguren, "PINTORA HINDU CHITRA RAMANATHAN SEDUCE A NEW YORK CON EL EMBRUJO DEL COLOR Y ALEGORIAS METAFISCAS" ("Hindu Painter Chitra Ramanathan Seduces New York with enchantment of color and metaphysical allegories") Nosotros Magazine, April 1995

"Midwest Artist Slates Show in N.Y", India Abroad Magazine, March 31 1995

Claude LeSuer, "Six Original Talents at Montserrat Gallery", ARTSPEAK, New York 1995

Gordon Dane, "Reviews & Previews" Manhattan Arts International, New York, fall 1995

"UI Fine Art Student Wins Grant", Features; University of Illinois News in Brief, May 14 1995

Gisele Atterberry, "Complexities Abound in 'Simple' Works", The Champaign-Urbana News Gazette, December 3 1993

*"Chitra Ramanathan: About the Artist", Gallery 105, Champaign, IL. December 1992

"Nine", Exhibition of Paintings, Springer Cultural Center, Champaign, Illinois. April 18-30, 2003


Slide Exhibition, "MAJORITY RULES!" (Part 1) FREE GALLERY, Glasgow, United Kingdom. June 24-July 27, 2002

"ARTISTS AGAINST AIDS" 2002 Tenth ANNUAL EXHIBITION & BENEFIT EXHIBITION, Champaign, IL Paintings & Prints February 26-March 17, 2002.

INTERNATIONAL GALLERIES, Urbana, IL:Paintings. August 18-September 14, 2001

CHAMPAIGN PARK DISTRICT ANNUAL EXHIBITION SERIES 2000, Springer Cultural Center, Champaign, IL Prints & Recent Paintings. April 25-May 16, 2000

"ARTISTS AGAINST AIDS" 2000 EIGHTH ANNUAL EXHIBITION & BENEFIT SALE, Champaign, IL, Paintings & Prints. April 28-May 1, 2000

*MONTSERRAT GALLERY SoHo, Broadway, New York: Recent Paintings .
April 17-May 6, 1998

MONTSERRAT GALLERY SoHo, Broadway, New York: Paintings and Prints. April 22-May 10, 1997

ABNEY GALLERY SoHo, Broadway, New York: Paintings. February 1-February 24, 1996

AGORA GALLERY, Broadway, NY, November 4-November 18, 1995

*ARC GALLERY/EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION Chicago, IL. Invitational: Paintings & Sculpture. May 31-June 25, 1994

AN ART PLACE, INC. GALLERY Chicago, IL.: Paintings
February 25-March 18, 1994


Member, Services to Artists Committee, College Art Association of America, February 2003-February 2006
Gallery Artist, Montserrat Gallery, Broadway, NYC
Member, and Volunteer, Lilly House, Indianapolis Museum of Art
Member, The Chicago Art Institute

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About  Chitra Ramanathan

Born:  1955 - Trivandrum, Kerala, India
Known for:  conceptual, mixed-media abstraction