Giving voice to the nayika she introduced and imaged in her inaugural solo exhibition at Gallery Chemould in Bombay 1991, Anju Dodiya wrote, "in this other world, she suffers only an artist's insomnia." In the subsequent 15 years, Dodiya has composed visual poems tinged in shades of both night and day, effecting layered works that narrate a balanced dualism of the unconscious. Though she adapts art historical sources as varied as Japanese ukiyo-e prints, medieval French tapestries, and Kiki Smith's contemporary figuration, the artist's own interiority and self-reflection are the primary catalysts for her imagination.
Born in Bombay, Dodiya graduated from the JJ School of Art in 1986, refining her talent with watercolors while still a student there. Since then, Dodiya's exhibitions have unfolded a textured, thoughtful story with an intuitively feminine orientation and an elegant simplicity. After years of producing beauty with her watercolors, Dodiya tempered her work in by drawing in gray for a 2001 exhibition at Chemould; she said, "I no longer wanted to make the image so precious. I fought it with charcoal."
Dodiya's 2005 exhibition The Cloud Hunt initiated a series painted on mattresses, reaffirming the artist's full-time preoccupations from all hours and adding a mythological element to the tensions inherent in her vision. This material base cushioned the aggression her protagonist would hope to inflict, reflective also of the inherent futility in the pursuit of hunting clouds. The artist's first, self-titled solo exhibition in New York in 2006 developed this medium further, visualizing the themes of sleep and night in some of her mattress-as-canvas works.
With both monumentality and precise attention to detail, Dodiya staged Throne of Frost in the darbar hall at Baroda's historic 19th century Laxmi Vilas Palace in 2007. Complementing motifs and themes already present in the architecture, Dodiya's paintings for this exhibition were set against rich, embroidered fabric and transformed into an installation - a circular, group conversation dancing around carefully lain shards of mirror.