Uncertain Allies, a monographic exhibition by Neha Choksi, features sculptures, new painted wall works and a newly produced video. Choksi explores stone that is touched by human activity and human activity that is touched by stone. With multifaceted mixed-media work, she brings geologic and cultural timescales and agencies into conversation. The exhibition includes the online hosting of Charge, 2017–2021, the new short film made especially for this exhibition, which brings together the intimate, the natural, and those things touched by human civilization.
Choksi is enchanted by stone as a raw material. According to her, "The wall works and the sculptures in Uncertain Allies unite the presence and natural energy of rocks with the magic of painting as Ur-art,” which refers to an originary state. In ways that are both earnest and absurd, she honors it resulting in work that enables us to think beyond conceivable durations, movements, and scales. This contemplation also challenges the artist’s own comfort with paint and love of color. Choksi views mined and hand-crushed pigment “as a piece of a larger conversation about the material processes in nature and in art-making.” The raw pigments applied to the surface of her works recall the earthly disturbances involved in creating and transporting the pigment itself.
Throughout this body of work, pigments encounter their origins. Choksi draws attention to geologic time and embeds these chronologies into fabric, boulders and paint. Her visceral forms of mark making, deconstructing, reconstructing and wielding stone reveal the artist’s interest in material processes and the historical role of paint in art. Her physical methods also allow psychic and material energy to comingle. Choksi’s self-referentiality interwoven throughout the exhibition underscores the conceptual interconnection of the artist's durational acts. Uncertain Allies offers a poetic, philosophical and ethical rumination of our phenomenological and temporal relationship with the Earth.
Banner image credit: Neha Choksi, detail of Closer (uncertain allies), 2020. Raw canvas, paint made from earth pigments.140 x 118 x 36 inches. © Neha Choksi. Courtesy of the artist and Project 88, Mumbai. Photography courtesy of the artist and Carolyn Campagna Kleefeld Contemporary Art Museum of California State University, Long Beach. Photography © Fredrik Nilsen Studio.