Students Respond: “Cat Women Series”

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Chitra Ganesh
Cat Women Series, 2013
Mixed media collage on handmade paper, 12 x 12
Gift of Mr. Richard Rubin by exchange

Chitra Ganesh is a Brown Alum who focuses on topics of feminist power and sexuality. Her works draw upon historical and mythic roots, and she frequently employs collage and bold colors in her works. This piece from the Bell Gallery Collection is part of her 2013 Cat Women Series. I picked it because I think it encapsulates the chaotic and surreal time that we are currently living in. The swirling form and the rose starkly contrast with the muted colors elsewhere in the drawing, creating a constant feeling of movement. The bright white explosion behind the figure accentuates a certain desperation in her praying pose and lends violence to the nails in her back. There is a feeling of pained disembodiment and dissociation that has come to characterize the present day, and it feels very in tune with the themes of this piece.

-Tina Xinzhu Yang ’20

I chose the drawing Cat Women Series by Chitra Ganesh. I am really drawn to all the movement in this piece, and how dynamic it is. The central figure is very intriguing, and the use of color and line really moves the eye throughout the piece. I enjoy how free but natural it feels–it seems fragmented and random but at the same time comes/pulls together beautifully, and really stimulates my imagination to bring it all together. The different levels of opacity create a sense of depth and turn this image into a space. The washes of color in the background go a long way in that direction. I noticed also in the description that is is “mixed media and collage on handmade paper” which I think is so cool! I wonder how seeing this piece in person (it is 12 x 12) would affect my reactions. It would probably be more powerful!

-Hannah Bashkow ’23

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