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Saluja is a classically trained artist whose work has been exhibited at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto and the Reach Gallery Museum in British Columbia. While her past works were traditional, iconic, historical portraits of Indian Maharajahs, Saluja is exploring contemporary themes from a personal perspective and finding aesthetic inspiration in people and objects that do not typically warrant attention.
Saluja’s current work depicts fleeting moments from her commute to and from Manhattan. The oil paintings are about the claustrophobic crowds, corroded steel and soiled walls she encounters each day in New York City’s underground subway. Rather than make the work feel as forlorn, she chooses to paint the beauty and resilience she sees in these ordinary moments and objects with visual excitement.
The work ranges from portraits to combinations of abstraction and realism. Saluja employs a variety of dynamic brushwork, from loose, chromatic drips and thick strokes to subdued and refined expressions of light over form. Some of her work, such as Red I, and Green I lean more towards the abstract. At first glance one is struck by a kaleidoscope of color and complex textures and, at closer view, sees that they are looking at torn layers of oxidized, rusted paint on steel girders. In work such as Transfer, Saluja paints light as it flows over soiled, cracked walls to reveal subtle hues and dramatic shadows with the same grace it would a garden or Cathedral.
Passage I is set to join the group exhibition titled “Women Painting Women: In Earnest.” The traveling exhibition will start at the J. Wayne Stark Galleries at Texas A&M University in January 2017. The artist’s hope is that the paintings can serve as metaphors for strength amidst challenge.
About the Artist:
Manu Saluja’s work hangs in public and private collections in the US, Canada, London, Scotland and India. Her work has been included in numerous group shows. Her paintings are prominently featured in Robert Lieberman’s 2011 Canadian film “Breakaway.” In addition to her own work, she has been a commissioned portrait artist since 1998. Saluja trained with John Frederick Murray at the School of Visual Arts and received her MFA from the New York Academy of Art.
Saluja currently teaches drawing and painting at the Long Island Academy of Fine Art in Glen Cove, NY, and is adjunct faculty in the Continuing Education program at the New York Academy of Art.