In 28-year-old Mekhala Bahls (picture,left) canvases and handmade quilts,you might find a swivel chair with hairy legs scurrying across the room,appropriately titled Turn-Turn-Turn,on quilted silk while in another you might come across a wagon chugging across the white land,billowing plumes of rose-shaped smokes or even a pedestal fan whirring away. Populated by bulbous,almost cartoon-like forms in bright and cheerful shades Geometry of Error,her show currently on at Gallery Espace in Friends Colony,is full of quilted works in silk,and Bahls canvases have an almost child-like naivety,vastly different from the austerity trend of todays art works. I have always experimented with surface textures,whether it was silk,corrugated paper or plastic. I like the physical feel and appearance created by the foam under the surface,whether it is quilting silk,plastic or linen. Quilting usually gives the already bulbous shapes another dimension,of floating, shares Bahl,who embarked on the project in 2007,working from her Gurgaon workshop where the quilts are handmade by her team of tailors. The Delhi-based artist then points to Picnic,2008,in acrylic,collage and ink on quilted plastic,in a bright turquoise with a pink patch. Some critics have disregarded the works as mish mash or different styles. Bahl,however,seems unfazed by the criticism. Every person has his own perspective. The quilted works are very precious as well as fragile,and the idea of using them for anything other than a careful display,does not appeal to me, says Bahl whose work is directed by the medium. Her works begin at Rs 2.65 lakhs. Bahl next plans to give a different spin to sculptures.
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