July 9, 2019

Alwar Balasubramaniam @ Talwar Gallery, NYC - Becoming Nature

Alwar Balasubramaniam: Becoming Nature
Talwar Gallery, New York
Through August 23, 2019

Talwar Gallery New York presents Becoming Nature, an exhibition of recent works by ALWAR BALASUBRAMANIAM.

The works in Becoming Nature reflect the artist’s sustained and ever-deepening relationship with the natural world—not only its landscapes or physical elements, but the forces that surround us. Working across a range of media and materials, Alwar Balasubramaniam, known also as Bala, focuses these life-giving forces in ways that make them visible and tangible—bringing the geological and elemental to human-scale. Up in the air renders the invisible process of evaporation into delicate sculptural form, for example—concentric rings of pigment condensing many long, slow moments of exchange between the object and the atmosphere around it. In a similar way, unseen movements of wind and air are recorded viscerally in the stippled, textured reliefs of Wind Field while the seemingly cracked earth surface of I was like you, you will be like me speaks to the cyclical exchange among the most basic elements of our world. Perhaps most notably, a new series of paintings present elegant and vibrantly colored panels, light and fleetingly detectable as the patterns of a bird’s plumage. The result of several processes of accretion and erasure by Bala, these paintings make beauty a matter of constant movement and transformation.

Bala invites nature into these works, as participant as much as raw material—and invites us to meditate on processes that blur the lines between art and life, the natural and the aesthetic. The works that result represent neither the total control of the artist, nor his subordination to the sublime power of nature—but rather a thoughtful negotiation of the forces that extend beyond the control of any individual. Modeling a patient, playful, wonder-filled relationship to the world we dwell within, the works here exist as states momentarily excised from the ongoing flux and flow of life—the swells and tides, soft breezes and sudden inundations, that make the living world a matter of constant, unending change. .

Bala’s interest in the natural world has sustained his artistic practice for decades, but it became particularly focused after the artist’s move from urban Bangalore to a rural part of south India over five years ago. The move allowed for an intimate, close-up engagement with nature—an understanding of its processes born of daily observation and lived, corporeal familiarity. This kind of bodily knowing has been critical to Bala’s work over the course of his career—work which seeks continuously to investigate the possibilities of the senses to capture and engage with that which extends beyond them. With searching, always-curious attention, Bala probes our perception, pushing past normal habits of seeing, feeling, and relating – making visible what we otherwise overlook in the course of our daily living. Working across media—from intimate and barely perceptible to room-size installations—Bala harnesses the potentiality of each material to work in new and unexpected ways. In every case, his interest remains steady: to open our eyes and minds, quite literally, to the world around us.

BALA’s works have been featured in exhibitions worldwide, including The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York; The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC; Guggenheim Museum, New York; Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan; Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi, India; Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, Washington; École des Beaux Arts, Paris, France; Essl Museum, Austria; National Portrait Gallery, Canberra, Australia, 1st Singapore Biennale; and 18th Sydney Biennale. Bala has been a guest lecturer at the Art Department of Cornell University in Ithaca, NY and a featured speaker at TED.

Bala was born in 1971 in Tirunelveli, India, to where he recently returned to live and work.

TALWAR GALLERY, NEW YORK
108 East 16 Street, New York, NY 10003
talwargallery.com