For the last two years, Dhvani Behl has avoided looking at works by other artists. “I like to work in a vacuum because when one looks at work that one loves, it inevitably ends up becoming part of your art, immediately or five years later.” Instead, the Delhi-based artist seeks inspiration in nature — flowers, mostly, and trees, sometimes.
Behl presents her ideas through woodprints, screenprints, and digital artwork, where each design has been drawn by hand, in pen and ink. A collection of her works will show in Mumbai for the first time. The show, titled “Enso: The Language of a Printmaker”, starts today and will also showcase wall hangings, stoles, saris and contemporary clothing that use her prints.
Growing up, Behl would spend every monsoon in Goa. The landscape made Behl aware of the patterns in every flower or plant, which she has used as the focal point for her art ever since. But the floral patterns and motifs that Behl creates are not “perfect”. She believes the traces of a human hand, rather than a design created with help from a machine, make a piece of art perfect. This belief is also what prompted her to name her exhibition ‘Enso’, which is Japanese for a hand-drawn circle that signifies the beauty in imperfection. But Behl doesn’t extend this idea to anything beyond vegetation. “My drawings of humans or animals are so far from perfection, they look like a child has made them,” says the 26-year-old.
While she has experimented with etching, digital and woodblock, screenprinting remains special to Behl as “it is a hard process that involves extensive fine-tuning of the design and mixing colours very deliberately”.
Her passion for screen printing is also what brought Behl back to India from the Rhode Island School of Design. “I would need much more money to set up the same machinery and space in the US,” she says, adding, “But the bigger reason for coming back is that I feel a lot more alive in India.”
‘Enso’ will be on display from January 21 to 24 at Artisans’, Kala Godha, Mumbai