Narangkar Glover
Graduate Student

Group: Department of Art Practice

Web site:

Personal statement

If, as art historian Simon Leung says, every drawing is a proposal, then perhaps we can consider paintings as plans – scored spaces in which contrasting impulses push and pull. Narangkar Glover works in series of large scale paintings. their surfaces, mainly built up with layers of oil paint applied wet-into-wet - though sometimes incorporating other media such as embroidery - depict both historical narrative, via syntaxes which are often almost verbal; and spaces defined by proprioceptive perception. the resulting groups of paintings offer a brightly contrasted, relief-textured meditation ground for interaction with her subject matter – a plan whose score invites us both as readers and as bodies to explore the histories laid out on the paintings’ surfaces.

One enters Narangkar Glover’s paintings in steps, or, also, sliding or inching along the rim of a skate bowl, or feeling the hairs on one’s arms raised by the electrical charge of water. Glover’s recent works fall into two series: eighteen paintings exhibited this fall at BlankSpace Gallery in Oakland, CA, sited in and around ‘the pond’ – a skate bowl in her backyard; and a more recent group of paintings and drawings with images drawn from her childhood, much of which passed at GNFC (Guru Nanak Fifth Centenary) boarding schools in India. Each carries both physical and verbal/historical charges, inviting the viewer to take part in assembling the realities which Glover proposes.

The scale of the works neatly fits one’s head, body and limbs, with room to explore, though often the viewer finds oneself drawn down to the size of one individual girl in a crowd of little girls dwarfed by the edifices of their Indian boarding school, or following the growth of trees by climbing through the numbers and colors of their leaves. Crossing through the multiple canvases that constitute the painter’s overarching themes, the viewer encounters a map of history formation, a plan which requires both proprioception and syntax to be read. Between these two systems, the textures and measured details and motifs of Glover’s paintings do double-duty – we see and feel, cover ground visually/physically/perceptually and conceptually/historically as we review the surfaces, mark-making, and overall schemata of Glover’s paintings. One sees trees in terms of their growth leaf by leaf, the painted surface’s drip by drip development, the warp and weft of canvas or burlap left bare behind the paint and needlework, and the growth of tree and plant forms communicated by the stitches. One maps, stretches, counts one’s way through the stories in these pictures, meaning that Glover’s histories are not the only ones available in these paintings. By offering an array of syntaxes, Glover allows the audience to participate in assembling the narratives – of the placid backyard spaces of the skate bowl series, or the lines and crosses of the coverlets of beds in a children’s boarding school in India.

Coming together around two related axes of development – the proprioceptive, in which the works engage the viewer in physical perceptive learning; and the syntactical, in which we as viewers tangle with the arrangement and ordering of elements in Glover’s visual language – Glover’s paintings aim to present a measurement of her experience. A gifted writer and researcher as well as a gallerist, Glover delivers an accurate record of her childhood and her present engagements in these recent sets of works – one that resonates with her precision in other pursuits. However, in discord with her stated goal of exploring ‘the individualistic’ as she experiences it, I find her work to be collaborative or at least conspiring with the audience, as a plan invites its reader to follow it. In the best moments of these paintings, we whisper together during a classroom punishment, or the pleasures of a sunny day behind the fences of Oakland’s back yards are divulged through the scale and details of the works. We are offered the option to share in the challenge and the thrill of creating or recreating language from these details, physical or verbal or historical, making us poets – meaning-makers – in physical and conceptual terms.

(Text by Amanda Eicher, MFA 2010)