Nalini ‘Deedee’ Cheriel is a Los Angeles-based painter whose work I just recently became acquainted and subsequently fascinated with. Her dynamic use of color and antediluvian shapes and patterns really struck a chord with the graphic designer in me, and her strange characters and settings have a surreality about them that I find irresistible — who’s not down with four-eyed cats, trees reading books, grinning tigers and bird-women riding winged horses into the sky?
Cheriel’s paintings are about life, in particular human connection to the world and the ways we communicate with it. Her work is inspired by temple art from her native India and her extensive travels around the world. Mixing iconography, symbolism and mysticism together with her observations of human life and emotions she creates a vibrant visual platform, transforming these elements into stirring narratives.
Boldly colorful, her paintings have distinctive overtones of ancient Egypt, East Indian temple imagery, folk art, the Pacific Northwest natural environment, and cultural heritage; yet they are still contemporary in context. Her personal exploration of her Indian roots is reflected in the dualistic nature of her work. Symbolic animals, animalistic humans, color and pattern are used to portray a myriad of emotions and how we try to connect ourselves to others.
There’s a lot going on here, all of it fascinating, so ladies and gentlemen, take a stroll along the surreal landscapes of Deedee Cheriel.