Nature surrounds and inspires us every time we step out of the door. What we do with that inspiration is up to us. For Sangeeta Reddy, the inspiration started at a young age in Hyderabad, India.
Who is Sangeeta Reddy?
Reddy said, “Often the awe with which we negotiate our environment and connections in childhood form the basis of inspiration or obsessions as we grow older.” Because of nature, Reddy describes herself as an observer and thinker who is powered by nature—specifically the rocks that surrounded her youth.
In her hometown of Hyderabad, remnants of the Deccan plateau provided Reddy with a canvas of large gray boulders. The artist said, “They were my playground.” She explains how as the city later developed, the gray boulders became valuable with the land and were soon turned over to construction, which she says was a great loss.
Fast forward to the mid-1980s when Reddy moved to the United States where her awe for nature returned as she drove through the western desert and mountain states. She remembers specifically that the sights through Utah, Colorado, and Idaho amplified her wonder and sparked Reddy’s imagination to produce brilliant creations.
It wasn’t until 2011 that Reddy started her current series of paintings. Her painting “After the Rain, Backway Through Moab, Utah” defines landscape and abstract art but you can tell where the inspiration is rooted. In most of the rock paintings, Reddy likes to use sedimentary rocks because they form in a complex way. Sedimentary rocks are made from organic materials piling on top of one another. Layers form from weight, time, and pressure. Reddy says, “I am interested in the uniqueness of individual formations and in what makes them so.”
In many ways, rock formations are a form of art themselves. Over time, nature crafts a beautiful creation. The process comes full circle when Reddy takes a natural work of art and it transforms it into her interpretation. She said, “To me, rock formations are icons of nature.” Art inspired by nature is nothing new but it’s how the artist views their subject that separates them. Preserving the natural entities is what makes Reddy’s work so powerful. To demonstrate that, Reddy emphasizes the importance of nurturing and protecting the natural elements. She said, “Just as art inspires the artist, the artist in turn gives another voice to it, particularly powerful at this time, when irreversible changes are occurring at an incomprehensible speed.”
Nature as Inspiration
Nature, outside of rock formations, serves as inspiration for Reddy’s work. For example, the series of abstract paintings, appropriately titled “The Lost Season,” is a new approach for Reddy. She said she received her inspiration from “the passing of time, of season, of the variations of light were particularly evocative.” During the COVID-19 lockdowns, appreciation for nature returned for a lot of people, especially for Reddy. “Even though I’m hyper-aware of nature anyway, that year was a particularly rich and inspiring time.”
Nature continues to serve as inspiration for Reddy. Not only the beauty but the side of nature that can be unkind. In the future, Reddy plans to begin a series on tornadoes, inspired by her time living in Oklahoma when she first moved to the States. Her home was torn apart by a tornado.
“Someday, I would like to do a series based on the kind of power of nature over which we have no control.”