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Meet Guhapriya (Gupi) Ranganathan

Today we’d like to introduce you to Guhapriya (Gupi) Ranganathan.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I was born and brought up in India. Though I have enjoyed drawing since childhood, like most traditional families, I was encouraged to study and pursue a “professional” career. I studied engineering and management, and worked for a few years in software and advertising. In 1993, I moved to Malaysia with my husband intending to take a break from work for a year. I spent my time traveling, reading books and making black and white ink drawings. When I returned to India, the local framers insisted that I exhibit my artworks, and introduced me to the owners of a local gallery who displayed them for a few months. It was the first time that I realized that I could consider art as a career.

When my husband and I moved to the US in 1995, I initially explored studying art by taking a few courses at the Art Institute of Boston. I continued drawing and painting on my own. In 2003, after my son started elementary school, I decided to study art as a full-time student. I majored in studio art at Simmons and I did my MFA at MassArt. I have been working as an artist and adjuncting since then. In 2009, I became Artist-in-Residence at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and over the next two years, I intensively collaborated with scientists and researchers to create my artworks. From 2016, I have been back at the Broad, this time, collaborating to create artworks, and design installations for the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research.

Please tell us about your art.
My work lies at the intersection of art and science. When I started my graduate work at MassArt, I wanted to focus my work on something personal that I could sink my teeth into. I had spent a summer with my grandmother who was suffering from memory loss. Over the next two years, I started making drawings, prints and paintings mapping my memories using forms that resemble cellular structures. By mapping the structures and patterns as they transform and evolve over time, I began to explore how changes at the microcosmic level lead us to visually and spiritually reflect on the macrocosm.

The work that I started as a grad student has slowly developed over the years thanks to my collaborations and residency to focus on scientific research especially, genomics and neurobiology. Through my artworks, be it drawing, print, painting, mixed media, sculpture or video, I am exploring the existential and evolutionary question: “Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?” We have reached a point in scientific research where we can choose where we are going as human beings, and, how we wish to transform who we are. I think that it is relevant to constantly ask ourselves the question: “What does it mean to be human?” I want all my viewers to be open-minded and respond to my artworks as they see and experience it.

We often hear from artists that being an artist can be lonely. Any advice for those looking to connect with other artists?
Being an artist working in your studio can definitely be lonely. Adjuncting at Simmons helps me stay connected with my peers and being a part of the conversation. Staying in touch through social media, attending openings and talks, and meeting artist friends helps build a strong community feeling.

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
I am currently preparing for my Broad Artist-In-Residence Alum Talk / Show at the Broad Institute from Nov 1 to Dec 14 relating to my recently completed commissioned site-specific installation at the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research. If you are interested or curious, please come to my talk Cultured Interactions: Art, Science and Broad on Nov 16 to view my art works from the last twelve years, and hear me talk about my journey, my collaborations at Broad and my evolution as an artist. If you know anyone who might be interested, please spread the word.

I love to collaborate on projects working with people from different fields in different types of organizations. If you are interested in collaborations, installations, and commissions or visiting my studio or in buying my artworks, please contact me directly.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Will Howcroft

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1 Comment

  1. M.S.Chagla

    August 29, 2018 at 4:52 pm

    Simply fascinating and marvelous are your paintings which reveal the abstract nature of the human mind and the complications involved therein. Wonderful to come across the expressive nature of your art through paintings depicting cosmos, the unknown and emptiness spread in our lives. Not sure whether my reading of your paintings gel with your thoughts! We are at the cross-section of arts and science,as told by you here in this interview. Even though they seem to be moving on parallel track, yet theoretically speaking, existentialism and the theatre of the absurd placed it on a common platform. However, pragmatism posits a different viewpoint. Moving onto a larger perspective, humans are yet to solve the voidness in their lives, which are to a certain extent explored in the Buddhist Sunyata philosophy. My doctoral dissertation was based on the interface of arts and science but after working on for two years, I had to abandon based on the doctoral scrutiny committee. Anyway, congratulations and best wishes to you on rediscovering art from an RSK classmate, if your mind digs into the past. Once again, good wishes.

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