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Ramya Ravisankar & Marcy Chevali

Artist Statement & Bio

"Chrysanthemum" brings together the artists’ individual lines of inquiry to create an odd ritual in the form of video and sculpture. The video depicts one set of hands filling a functionless knit mohair tube with dried chrysanthemum flowers paired with a second set of hands removing the same flowers from the tube. In the video, the hands reach towards each other as they give and receive, coming close but not quite touching, the screen mimicking new, hard to internalize, ways of staying safe. The hands work rhythmically, fulfilling their apparently functionless duty with dedication and hope, perhaps a way to put healing and renewal into the world. This invented ritual loosely draws on religious action, as well as cross cultural symbology of the chrysanthemum as a healing youth elixir. It is a repetitive and meditative movement that continues to become made as the video loops, taking on the symbolism of an ouroboros.

The knit object filled with flowers hangs between the projected images. The scent of the flowers is quite strong, and the ability to smell should not be taken for granted during the pandemic.

This artwork and ongoing collaborative artmaking venture is perhaps the artists’ way of attempting to (re)connect in a time when physical connections are discouraged.

Marcy Chevali has shown work at Queens Museum of Art, Aicon Gallery, Gallery Aferro, Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, ABC No Rio, and Project for an Empty Space. She was awarded a grant from the Queens Art Fund and has been artist-in-residence at Playa Artists Residency and the Edward Albee Foundation. Marcy was born in Ohio to an Indian father and American mother. For several generations her family has worked in textiles, and she has always had an affinity for strings and their way of connecting things both literally and symbolically. Themes of absence, fragility, and stillness recur in her work.

Ramya Ravisankar is a multidisciplinary artist, researcher, and educator. Her artmaking/academic research practice draws on her interest in technology, philosophy, art history, and post-qualitative experimental artmaking-research methodologies. Her work is also profoundly informed by the in-betweenness of being a first-generation American of South Indian descent. In 2019 Ravisankar earned a PhD in Arts Administration, Education and Policy from the Ohio State University. Ravisankar also holds an MFA in studio art from Pratt Institute. Ramya is currently an art, design, and art history instructor at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio.

Artwork Details

"Chrysanthemum," 2021. Chrysanthemum flowers, yarn, video; dimensions variable.

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