Manya Seth

I have always had vivid dreams. For this project, I began to draw them. But then things changed. My goal of representing my dreams through drawings once felt so interesting, so fulfilling, so vivid. Now it all seems incredibly insignificant.

My art is heavily influenced by my surroundings. This work started out representing an assemblage of my thoughts that are both unconscious and conscious. I started by exploring the depths of my subconscious through my dreams, concentrating on the dreams that confused me, made no sense, or irritated me. The psychology major in me questioned, “Why did I do that? Did I know him? How could I do that?” The irony lay in me viewing my dreams in the subconscious but reimagining them, decoding them, and drawing them in the conscious.

Then came COVID-19, and drawing from my dreams seemed a little too futile. Living through this pandemic has impacted my work immensely. The drawings before you are representations of desires, feelings, and memories I have chased out of my mind. I round up each one of these uncomfortable thoughts and have forced them to the forefront. The virus switched things up and left me in the dark. I feel this translates into my work.

My appreciation for charcoal as a medium compels me to find subjects that will bring attention to its intensity. What is going on around me serves that intensity well. To me, the pigment is a subject itself. This project also serves as an exploration of different surfaces. I like to use found objects that connect to my drawings in some way whether by color, feeling or convenience; the wood board, cardboard, and paper each hold a story.

These drawings are a journey over the past few months; from a time when I could open my eyes to escape my nightmares, to now, when keeping them shut feels safer. This journey brought about unwanted introspection. I invite you to take this journey with me.

The Bedframe (Before CV)
2’ x 1’
Charcoal and oil pastel on paper

A.M.  (Before CV)
4’ x 3’
Charcoal and watercolor on paper

Hands  (Before CV)
6’ x 4’
Mixed media

Come Sit  (Before CV)
7’ x 4’
Mixed media on wood

Devi 2 (During CV)
1’5” x 1’
Charcoal on paper

Drip (During CV)
Charcoal on paper

Fuck You Corona Virus
10’ x 5’
Charcoal and oil paint on paper

Manya Seth was born in India and now lives and studies in Malibu, CA.  Her work focuses primarily on figurative charcoal drawings. Her drawings are introspective in nature; exploring the interactions between the conscious and subconscious mind through the use of the human form. She draws inspiration from dreams, memory, and life experiences that evoke a sense of discomfort from the audience by delving into the strange. She is currently pursuing her B.A. in Studio Art as well as Psychology at Pepperdine University. In 2019, Manya participated in the Junior Studios Exhibition,  Round-Up Escaped Elephants in the Pepperdine Student Art (PSA) gallery and will exhibit her work online in the Pepperdine Studio Art Thesis Exhibition, Untitled. This Might Get Uncomfortable. After completing her degrees, Manya hopes to incorporate her two majors by pursuing art therapy.