MAYNARD — All the places we have been simmer in the stew of our imaginations. Siddharth Choudhary grew up in India and lived in Mumbai, Paris, and Hong Kong before he landed in Massachusetts. His punchy digital drawings at ArtSpace Maynard reflect how places intersect in our psyches.
The drawings, made with a stylus on an iPad and colored in Photoshop, are frenetically expressive and goofy. They bask in tropical hues. Choudhary populates them with toothy, cartoony figures. One figure is much like the next, and their characterization is not the meat of this work. Rather, the artist’s energetic mashup of places and customs fondly conveys the clash and dissonance of a migrant’s experience.
“Brahmin Boys” mixes notions of caste and class in India and Boston, with several goggle-eyed guys in shirts and ties sitting cross-legged in a circle on the floor. This is more playful than it is a considered critique of social strata. Choudhary could dig deeper with his humor, and in places he defaults to simply making fun, buzzy images when he could be cracking open fault lines in his experience as an immigrant and traveler.
But other more personal drawings express many layers of place and the tug between home and abroad.
“Home” depicts an amalgamation of Choudhary’s houses in the United States and India. An American suburban house and garage in winter extends to an open structure with latticework. Bare, leafless trees contrast with ones fluffed with fuchsia and orange foliage. Figures in boots and parkas sit amid exorbitant blossoms. The mix feels at once hallucinatory and mundane; the ordinariness of the details knits the scene together.
The juxtapositions may jangle, but these works are more dream than nightmare. The central figures are in their element, conveyed as internal landscapes in which memory merges with actuality. “Full House” pictures any stop along the journey, with a suitcase open on the floor, family taking over the place, and an enormous blue-skinned god opening his giant arms and mouth in the center of it all. Even if sometimes you’d like to escape, Choudhary’s drawings insist, home comes along wherever you go.
SIDDHARTH CHOUDHARY: OF NO FIXED ADDRESS
At ArtSpace Maynard, 63 Summer St., Maynard through April 5. 978-897-9828, www.artspacemaynard.comCate McQuaid can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @cmcq.