Gallery Bergelli

In his large-scale, multi-layered paintings, Sanjay Vora explores the realm of love, memory and nostalgia through a process of covering and retrieving representational, figurative scenes with layers of repetitive abstraction. His works have been shown in the United States including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Connecticut and Virginia. He was invited to participate in the Second International Biennale of Contemporary Art in Ferrara, Italy in December 2004. In his most recent exhibition, the Second Biennial International Juried Exhibition in San Francisco, he received a “Best In Show” award, and during his graduate study, he was awarded with a merit scholarship and two teaching assistantships from the San Francisco Art Institute. In 2002, he obtained a BS in Architecture from the University of Virginia and received an MFA in painting from the San Francisco Art Institute in May 2005. His most current paintings can be seen at Gallery Bergelli in Larkspur, California. Sanjay works and lives in Berkeley, California.

Artist Statement

My paintings are born of reflection. It is the feeling of nostalgia and the act of longing which grounds me and fills the void left within me by the absence of a personal faith. As the present routines and uncertainties remove me further from a connection that I hold dear, it is through the act and practice of painting that I encounter my own sense of history and truth. Through the physicality of painting—through the acts of covering representational scenes and retrieving them, a type of psychic architecture and archeology is formed. Within these systems, the language of both the transparent and the semi-opaque veil creates distances that are both time-based and spatial.

The practice at present is to create a distinct and mimetic vision (based largely upon photographs), which lies mostly beneath, but also at times amongst and over the layers of veiling. The painted veiling serves as a mediating function between the “then” and “now”, as the tender representational painting recedes and arises re-constructed into visions of a dream-like quality of the world. As I cover and obscure the initial painting, I enact a process of retrieval. In particular pieces, this process repeats upon itself.

Part of my identity is bound to the tradition of North Indian classical music within which particular structures, the drone, rhythm, meter and specific melodic phrasing, are constituent elements. I am intrigued by the possibility of the synaesthetic translation of the aural structures to visual codes. Part of my process is also bound to a tradition of Romanticism—not in terms of the particulars of my method but more particularly in formulating a visual correlation to aspects of loss and longing, to the notion of making the act of painting become synonymous with the thought of being. Idea, feeling and action become synchronous. The act of making is the act of reconciliation, or at times the impossibility of such. Regardless, the end of a piece is a point for moving onwards, carrying and stretching within me the feeling from each piece as I go on. With time and distance from them, these pieces are, in the end, celebrations of the beautiful.


Sanjay Vora