Rina Banerjee

Engineer and Artist

Rina Banerjee

Rina Banerjee's work consists of sculptural and installation pieces composed of a diverse range of materials arranged into compositions that resemble organic tentacle-like forms that sprout and meander between the wall and floor space. The materials from which the works are made include "found" objects that have been discarded such as rubber garden hoses, used light bulbs, wire, fabric, thread, and especially objects considered un-recyclable such as old mattresses, yellowed foam, used cotton, lint, and hair. On a basic level, the use of found objects by contemporary artists attempts to defy elitist structures in the art world by bringing objects from daily life into rarified gallery and museum spaces. On another level, such objects index a range of literal and metaphorical associations. Un-recyclable materials, for example, are potent in signification for Banerjee in that they constitute a kind of "garbage" that is particularly unclean and unhygienic by retaining the residues of their use--the shape of a body, stains, and odors. The body is a reoccurring reference point throughout Banerjee's work, specifically the ethnic body of the migrant and the gendered body of the female. The unhygienic associations of yellowed foam and stained cotton index historical responses by the West to the body of the Native and, more recently, the body of the migrant as unclean and somewhat repulsive. Similar sentiments can be found in various institutional--religious, criminal, medical--perceptions of the female body through history. Yet the presence of sumptuous fabric, brilliant color, and rich texture in Banerjee's work indicates the simultaneous curiosity in and attraction to what has been considered the exotic and the feminine. The dual impulses of attraction and repulsion, Banerjee seems to assert, are an interconnected response in the history of the West's relationship with its "Other"--one that is not only referenced in but generated by the work.

[Deepali Dewan - Journal of ACSAA, 2000]

Rina Banerjee was born in Calcutta, India and emigrated to London, England in 1966. Subsequently, she and her family moved to New York City. She received her Fine Art training at Yale University where she acquired an MFA degree. Ms. Banerjee was a recipient of the Norfolk-Yale Drawing award and Skowhegan School of Painting scholarship. Ms. Banerjee has been an active educator in the area of Cultural Studies and Womenís Studies in the Visual Arts while teaching at Bucknell University, Penn State University and the Universty of Chicago. In addition, her work has been exhibited at the Bronx Museum of Art and the Queens Museum Art in New York City. In this year Ms. Banerjee will exhibit her work in the Whitney Biennial 2000. Presently she lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.



1995 Yale University , Masters of Fine Art
Major: Painting and Printmaking
Minor: Womenís Studies

1993 Case Western Reserve University, Bachelor of Science
Major: Polymer Engineering


1998 University of Chicago, Art Dept
1997-98 Penn State University, Womenís Studies Program
1996-97 Bucknell University, Dept. Of Art


-Art Furum,Sept issue 2000 by
-Art Forum, Oct. issue 2000, The Magic City, By Thad Ziolkowski
-The NY Times, Friday, June 16, Art in Review,p.E33, by Holland Cotter
-ArtNet.com, April 2000,My Eyes By Thomas Hoving
-Art News, April 2000.Artist profile. By Carly Berwick
-Art Forum, March2000,XXXVIII, No. 7,pg110-117.The Max Factor Whitney Biennial200 by Katy Siegel
-Art India, Home Nation, Vol.5,iss1,Quarter1,2000,pg58-62. No Place like Home,by Karen Miller-Lewis
-Talk Magazine, Talking Pictures by Michael Birt, Faces of Art 2000,March 2000, pg60
- The NY Times, Friday, January 21,2000, Defiantly Confronting the Plague ,p.E40, by Holland Cotter,.
-The New York Times, Dec. 8 1998 "Choosing a Palette of Biennial Artists by Carol Vogel.
-Art in America, Oct. 1998, Import/Export: Tracking the Indian Diaspora by Thomas McEvilley
-The New York Times, Aug. 14 1998, "Urban Encounters" by Holland Cotter
-Village Voice, Aug. 4 1998 "from Boho to Soho" by C. Carr
-Review: The Critical State of Visual Art in New York, Marchí98
Midnightís Children: Contemporary Art of South Asian Diaspora by Lyle Rexer
-Time Out/New York, Jan.29-Feb. 1998 Raga Saga by Anne Doran
-Q guide, Jan. 15, 1998 "Out of India" by Edie Jakes
-Desi Talk, Dec. 12, 1997 Queens Museum to Exhibit Contemporary Art from South Asia
-The New York Times, Dec. 12 1997 A Deluge of Shows with Many Indias by Holland Cotter
-Newsday, Nov. 25, 1997 India Inc. By Jonathan Mandell
-The Globe and Mail Toronto, June 12, 1997 Indian Girls Displays Frame of Mind by Dieirdre Kelly
-The New York Times, Jan. 10, 1996 Domestic Images From Young Talent By Holland Cotter


Bose Pacia Modern ,2000
Whitney Biennial 2000. Whitney Museum of American Art, 2000
Bodies of Resistance Visual Aids, 1999
Out of India. The Queens Museum of Art, 1998.
Artists in the Market Place The Bronx Museum of the Arts, 1996.
In Full Bloom, ONS Gallery, 1996


Bose Pacia Modern, NYC
Bodies of Resistance, Durban, South Africa
Brent Sikkema,The Magic City, NYC
Debs.Co. Project Room, NYC
auf Wiedersehen, Admit One Gallery , NYC
Good Buisness Is the Best Art, Bronx Museum of Art, NYC
Whitney Biennial 2000, Whitney Museum of American Art, NY

Bodies of Resistance, Real Art Ways, Hartford, CT., Durban, South Africa.
Diasporadics, Brecht Forum Center, NYC

Urban Encounters, New Museum, NYC.
Women Artists, Stony Brook Art Gallery, NY
Out Of India, Queens Museum, NYC

Hybrid Harem, Colgate University, Dana Arts Center, NY
Research Revision Reconstruct, Old Dominion University, NYC
Fermented, Arason Gallery, Parsons School of Design, NYC
Seeking Beautiful Indian Girls, Gallery 401, Toronto

Color Schemes, Axis Gallery, PA
A.I.M (Artists in the Market Place), Bronx Museum of the Arts, NYC
In Full Bloom, ONS Gallery, NYC


Chicago Institute of Art (SAIC), Chicago,Ill
PennState University, Palmer Museum, University Park,PA
New York University, Asian -American Institute, NYC
University of Central Arkansas, Art Dept., Arkansas
Columbia University, Barnard College, Art and Feminism Conference, New York, NY.
University of Minnesota, Art Dept., Minneapolis - St. Paul, Minn.

Parsons School of Art and Design, Parsons Galleries Lecture.Series, New York, NY
Colgate University, Art Dept., Hamilton, New York
Old Dominion University, Womenís Studies Dept and the Art Dept., Norfolk, Va.
University of Colorado, Art Dept., Colorado Springs, Co.


Artists in the Market Place (A.I.M.) Grant, Bronx Museum of the Arts, 1995.
Skowhegan - Yale Scholarship for the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture, 1994.
The Norfolk - Yale Drawing Honors Award, 1994.
M.F.A. Honors Exhibition for The College Art Association, 1994.