Slim arrows, hooks, razor-sharp pencils, paintbrushes and fires all reappear in scenes mediated by a dark-haired woman with sharp teeth and jagged eyebrows in Anju Dodiya's paintings on display at 'The Air is a Mill of Hooks'. The title of the show is borrowed from the first line of Sylvia Plath's 'Mystic' (1971), which continues, 'Questions without answer, / Glittering and drunk as flies.' Indeed, the air in Dodiya's paintings is drunk, glittering, and darkly twisted. Born from a long practice of self-portraiture, the woman is Dodiya herself, and her body floats in and out of the painted scenes with a hot fury.
Dodiya changes her material palette frequently: shaped mattresses, wallpaper, and pulpy, unbleached cotton. In The Reader (2017), she is crouched under a chair, gnawing at the corners of an open book. The painting, on a dogstooth mattress canvas shaped into a perfect circle, is characteristic of Dodiya's practice: mischievous, anxious work that is both humorous and pointed.
- Skye Arundhati Thomas