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Kuzana Ogg

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Kuzana Ogg was born in Bombay in 1971. Her early years in India were flooded with noise, color, and fragrance. Her grandparents' home in Bombay was somewhat buffered from the outside chaos of people and cars by lush gardens. This paradise of quietly growing coconut trees, exotic lilies, and always newly turned wet red earth was invaded hourly by squalling parrots and barbarous crows. Their cries filtered through the foliage as though they were the softened echoes of the havoc on the streets. 

Going anywhere in Bombay requires infinite patience and time. A simple errand to get a plastic bucket devolves into an all-day affair involving epic traffic jams and monsoon-huge waves crashing over the seawall. But, even as a very small child—Ogg was easily distracted by the lurid Bollywood billboards rushing past the car window and promises of notebooks with endpapers of fuchsia block-printed flowers and new erasers in the shape of rabbits or fried eggs.  

Bombay is steeped in perfume—from yards of jasmine and roses garlanding doors, to sandalwood burning at the fire temple, to a hundred different lunches cooking at the same time—there is always fragrance in the air. It might be ordinary, like freshly watered concrete walls or the starched muslin saris of nursery school teachers; or extraordinary, like the scent of raw silk stored in the recesses of a teak wardrobe. Its presence everywhere instilled in her the conviction that just as fragrance occupies a stratum deeper than sight or sound, majesty is also hidden beneath the surface of things, and majesty is an anchor that restrains and balances the chaos of experience. It is the primordial root that underlies even the most discordant things.

In time, Ogg and her infant sister joined their newly immigrated parents in England. The setting changed from streets crammed with disorderly traffic and cows to cars neatly parked in rows, but she preferred the crumbling palatial structures that still lived in her mind to these frilly curtains and tidy brick homes. The new plastic toys at her feet became the rude complement of those of tin and copper that lay beside them. At the age of 10, she and her family relocated to New York, and the American metropolis took shape in those eyes where the Deccan plateau once stood.

It was as an art student at SUNY Purchase that Ogg met her husband and began the work in love and paint of revisiting the garden of her childhood. They married after their graduation in 1995, and moved to South Korea, spending the next six years teaching English in historic Kyung Ju. Returning to the United States in 2001, they lived first in New Mexico, migrated to California's Central Valley ten years later, and then returned to Santa Fe, New Mexico in 2017.

Ogg has participated in four residencies: in New Mexico, Minnesota, Sri Lanka and China. Her paintings have been included on the sets of both television shows and feature films-the most recent of which were Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Southpaw, and My All-American. Her first solo museum exhibition was Oil at the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art in 2014. A second solo followed shortly thereafter, Rev Zero, at the Bakersfield Museum of Art in 2015. Ogg's paintings have been exhibited, published, and collected both privately and publicly, nationally and internationally.

The general pandemonium of Bombay in the early 1970s continues to serve as Ogg's visual alphabet. Through her travels and migrations, this alphabet continues to recombine, developing into a painterly language. In any form of communication, she has found the principles of restraint and balance to be the most formidable and eloquent.

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