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Alwar Balasubramaniam

Touch of Air, Traces of Time

June 8, 2024 - August 30, 2024
Talwar Gallery, New York

Talwar Gallery, New York is delighted to present “Touch of Air, Traces of Time." The exhibition presents a steady deepening in Bala’s engagement with the natural world—a continuous inquiry into its internal rhythms and cadences, its potencies, and its personalities, that has come to characterize his practice. Working alongside nature as much as on or within it, Bala reveals the beauty and systems governing even the smallest, least perceptible shifts in our environment.

Alwar Balasubramaniam - Exhibitions - Talwar Gallery

Trace | 2024 (Detail)

In a monumental painting Flown Away the vivid, inky depths and filmy streaks of indigo pigment attest to gravity’s ability to carve trails into topographies while in Cracked Up, a delicate lattice of cracks splinters across a clay surface, registering the grace with which water has evaporated. Offering an encounter with these elemental forces, the works in Touch of Air, Traces of Time at moments envelop and immerse, extending to viewers the chance to commune with nature full-body.

Self-Impression and Trace advance Bala’s explorations with evaporative processes, bringing these to bear on the artistic substrate in a new way; the vibrant indigo infused pools of Self Impression register with fineness the underlying depths from below the canvas. Trace pushes this self-reflexive turn still further; its markedly asymmetrical fields index the ways the canvas has been lifted from this armature, made dynamic - folded, creased, and gathered over time.

Complex but unified, the lines and layers of Bala’s work reveal the energies that, although imperceptible in any given instant, are constantly shaping and re-shaping the material world.

Alwar Balasubramaniam - Exhibitions - Talwar Gallery

Nothing Holds | 2024

Many of the works in Touch of Air, Traces of Time mark new trajectories in Bala’s ever-renewing practice. Nothing Holds recalls his long-standing interest in the boundaries between bodies and the space that surround them, as well as the capacity of the skin to act as interface and sculptural mold; giving tangible form to the negative space created by two clasped hands, Nothing Holds meditates on the contours of this space, its ridges, crests, and crevices. Other works, meanwhile, draw viewers in, inviting us to meditate on nature at its most intimate scale. Two small landscape paintings, gently created over the course of several years, capture the vastness of the horizon crowned by the endlessly changing sky in works that might fit like a jewel in the palm of a hand.

Bala’s practice is characterized by its wide-ranging exploration across media, perhaps most notable here is his return to printmaking, marking a reengagement with a medium that characterized the earliest moments of the artist’s career while he was a teenager. Reflecting more recent shifts in his practice, however, including his turn towards a collaborative relationship with the natural world. Webs of fine, gossamer lines across washes of translucent pigment on paper spread like the stretches of fields surrounding Bala’s studio bathed in a daily spectacle of changing light.

Nature here is understood beyond its use as a material or a field for inspiration, instead Bala is interested in the processes that bind all this matter together in an ongoing cycle of exchange and movement. 

Alwar Balasubramaniam - Exhibitions - Talwar Gallery

Bala’s works have been featured in exhibitions and collections worldwide, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET), New York; 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 (KNMA), New Delhi, India; Lalbhai Museum, Ahmedabad, 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. In 2001 he was awarded the Joan Miro foundation prize accompanied by a solo exhibition. Bala has been a guest lecturer at the Art Department of Cornell University in Ithaca, NY and a featured speaker at TED.

Alwar Balasubramaniam (Bala) was born in 1971 in Tamil Nadu, India. He received a BFA from the Government College of Arts, Chennai, India, in 1995 after which he continued his studies in Edinburgh and Vienna. In 1998 he was artist in residence at The MacDowell Colony in NH after which he returned to Bangalore, where he lived and practiced till 2015. Subsequently Bala moved to the countryside near Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu where he created his home and studio and continues to live and work.

Currently Bala’s work is on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET), New York in Afterlives: Contemporary Art in the Byzantine Crypt.

DOWNLOAD ARTIST BIO

Since Bala’s move in 2015 to the countryside in southern India, his work has reflected a new closeness and familiarity with the land, grounding both new investigations and artistic returns within his practice—which spans sculpture, installation, printmaking, drawing, painting, as well as works that bridge the divides between these media.

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Flown Away | 2023
Indigo on canvas
75.5″ x 122″ 
TG 4988
Flown Away | 2023
Flown Away | 2023 (Detail)
Flown Away | 2023
Flown Away | 2023
Flown Away | 2023
Indigo on canvas
75.5″ x 122″ 
TG 4988

Flown Away | 2023
Indigo on canvas
75.5″ x 122″ 
TG 4988

Inquire
Wind Curve | 2023
Fiberglass and acrylic, In Artist's Frame
46″ x 47″ 
TG 5022
Wind Curve | 2023
 
Wind Curve | 2023 (Detail)
 
Wind Curve | 2023
 
Wind Curve | 2023
Fiberglass and acrylic, In Artist's Frame
46″ x 47″ 
TG 5022

Wind Curve | 2023
Fiberglass and acrylic, In Artist's Frame
46″ x 47″ 
TG 5022

Inquire
Cracked Up | 2023-24
Earth, acrylic on wood panel
41″ x 31″ x 4″
TG 5020
Cracked Up | 2023-24
Cracked Up | 2023-24
Cracked Up | 2023-24
Earth, acrylic on wood panel
41″ x 31″ x 4″
TG 5020

Cracked Up | 2023-24
Earth, acrylic on wood panel
41″ x 31″ x 4″
TG 5020

Inquire
Trace | 2024
Pigment, ink and oil on canvas
27.5″ x 20″ 
TG 5041
Trace | 2024
 
Trace | 2024
 
Trace | 2024
 
Trace | 2024 (Detail)
 
Trace | 2024
Pigment, ink and oil on canvas
27.5″ x 20″ 
TG 5041

Trace | 2024
Pigment, ink and oil on canvas
27.5″ x 20″ 
TG 5041

Inquire
Self Impression | 2024
Indigo and ink on canvas, In Artist's Frame
30″ x 22″ 
TG 5039
Self Impression | 2024
 
Self Impression | 2024
 
Self Impression | 2024
 
Self Impression | 2024 (Detail)
 
Self Impression | 2024
Indigo and ink on canvas, In Artist's Frame
30″ x 22″ 
TG 5039

Self Impression | 2024
Indigo and ink on canvas, In Artist's Frame
30″ x 22″ 
TG 5039

Inquire
Untitled | 2023
Acrylic and ink on canvas
55" x 42"
TG 5007
Untitled | 2023
 
Untitled | 2023 (Detail)     
Untitled | 2023
Untitled | 2023
Acrylic and ink on canvas
55" x 42"
TG 5007

Untitled | 2023
Acrylic and ink on canvas
55" x 42"
TG 5007

Inquire
Untitled | 2021-23
Oil on board
8″ x 10″ 
TG 4557
Untitled | 2021-23
 
Untitled | 2021-23
 
Untitled | 2021-23
Oil on board
8″ x 10″ 
TG 4557

Untitled | 2021-23
Oil on board
8″ x 10″ 
TG 4557

Inquire
Untitled | 2020-23
Oil on canvas mounted on wood, In Artist's Frame
11″ x 36″
TG 4561
Untitled | 2020-23
 
Untitled | 2020-23 (Detail)
 
Untitled | 2020-23
Oil on canvas mounted on wood, In Artist's Frame
11″ x 36″
TG 4561

Untitled | 2020-23
Oil on canvas mounted on wood, In Artist's Frame
11″ x 36″
TG 4561

Inquire
Nothing Holds | 2023-24
Copper
6″ x 6″ x 5″
TG 5035
Nothing Holds | 2023-24
 
Nothing Holds | 2023-24
 
Nothing Holds | 2023-24
Copper
6″ x 6″ x 5″
TG 5035

Nothing Holds | 2023-24
Copper
6″ x 6″ x 5″
TG 5035

Inquire
Rock Bloom | 2023
Resin, iron and stone dust
26.75" x 36" x 24" 
TG 5047
Rock Bloom | 2023
 
Rock Bloom | 2023
 
Rock Bloom | 2023
Resin, iron and stone dust
26.75" x 36" x 24" 
TG 5047

Rock Bloom | 2023
Resin, iron and stone dust
26.75" x 36" x 24" 
TG 5047

Inquire
Time twist | 2024
Resin and iron dust
9″ x 10″ x 28″
TG 5040
Time twist | 2024
 
Time twist | 2024
 
Time twist | 2024
 
Time twist | 2024
Resin and iron dust
9″ x 10″ x 28″
TG 5040

Time twist | 2024
Resin and iron dust
9″ x 10″ x 28″
TG 5040

Inquire
Traces | 2023
Fiberglass and acrylic
40" x 13.25" x 3" (In 3 parts)
TG 5006
Nothing Holds | 2023-24
 
Nothing Holds | 2023-24 (Detail)
 
Nothing Holds | 2023-24 (Detail)
 
Nothing Holds | 2023-24 (Detail)
 
Traces | 2023
Fiberglass and acrylic
40" x 13.25" x 3" (In 3 parts)
TG 5006

Traces | 2023
Fiberglass and acrylic
40" x 13.25" x 3" (In 3 parts)
TG 5006

Inquire
Untitled | 2023
Etching on zinc
7″ x 5″ | Framed: 18 3/4" x 14 7/8"
TG 5031
Edition of 6
Untitled | 2023
 
Untitled | 2023
Etching on zinc
7″ x 5″ | Framed: 18 3/4" x 14 7/8"
TG 5031
Edition of 6

Untitled | 2023
Etching on zinc
7″ x 5″ | Framed: 18 3/4" x 14 7/8"
TG 5031
Edition of 6

Inquire
Untitled | 2023
Etching on zinc
7″ x 5″ | Framed: 18 3/4" x 14 7/8"
TG 5030
Edition of 8
Untitled | 2023
 
Untitled | 2023
Etching on zinc
7″ x 5″ | Framed: 18 3/4" x 14 7/8"
TG 5030
Edition of 8

Untitled | 2023
Etching on zinc
7″ x 5″ | Framed: 18 3/4" x 14 7/8"
TG 5030
Edition of 8

Inquire
Untitled | 2023
Etching on zinc
7″ x 5″ | Framed: 18 3/4" x 14 7/8"
TG 5027
Edition of 6
Untitled | 2023
 
Untitled | 2023
Etching on zinc
7″ x 5″ | Framed: 18 3/4" x 14 7/8"
TG 5027
Edition of 6

Untitled | 2023
Etching on zinc
7″ x 5″ | Framed: 18 3/4" x 14 7/8"
TG 5027
Edition of 6

Inquire
Untitled | 2023
Etching on zinc
4.5″ x 7″ | Framed: 15" x 18.5"
TG 5029
Edition of 9
Untitled | 2023
 
Untitled | 2023
Etching on zinc
4.5″ x 7″ | Framed: 15" x 18.5"
TG 5029
Edition of 9

Untitled | 2023
Etching on zinc
4.5″ x 7″ | Framed: 15" x 18.5"
TG 5029
Edition of 9

Inquire
Untitled | 2023
Etching on zinc
4.5″ x 7″ | Framed: 15" x 18.5"
TG 5028
Edition of 9
Untitled | 2023
 
Untitled | 2023
Etching on zinc
4.5″ x 7″ | Framed: 15" x 18.5"
TG 5028
Edition of 9

Untitled | 2023
Etching on zinc
4.5″ x 7″ | Framed: 15" x 18.5"
TG 5028
Edition of 9

Inquire
Untitled | 2024
Etching on copper
7″ x 5″ | Framed: 18 3/4" x 14 7/8"
TG 5043
Edition of 7

Untitled | 2024
Etching on copper
7″ x 5″ | Framed: 18 3/4" x 14 7/8"
TG 5043
Edition of 7

Inquire
Untitled | 2024
Etching on copper
11″ x 22.5″ | Framed: 13 1/2" x 24 13/16"
TG 5044
Edition of 6
Untitled | 2024
 
Untitled | 2024
Etching on copper
11″ x 22.5″ | Framed: 13 1/2" x 24 13/16"
TG 5044
Edition of 6

Untitled | 2024
Etching on copper
11″ x 22.5″ | Framed: 13 1/2" x 24 13/16"
TG 5044
Edition of 6

Inquire
Untitled | 2023
Etching on zinc
5″ x 10″ | Framed: 15" x 19.5"
TG 5032
Edition of 6
Untitled | 2023
 
Untitled | 2023
Etching on zinc
5″ x 10″ | Framed: 15" x 19.5"
TG 5032
Edition of 6

Untitled | 2023
Etching on zinc
5″ x 10″ | Framed: 15" x 19.5"
TG 5032
Edition of 6

Inquire
Untitled | 2023
Etching on copper
6″ x 6″ | Framed: 15 3/4" x 15 5/8"
TG 5026
Edition of 8
Untitled | 2023
 
Untitled | 2023
Etching on copper
6″ x 6″ | Framed: 15 3/4" x 15 5/8"
TG 5026
Edition of 8

Untitled | 2023
Etching on copper
6″ x 6″ | Framed: 15 3/4" x 15 5/8"
TG 5026
Edition of 8

Inquire
Flown Away | 2023
Indigo on canvas
75.5″ x 122″ 
TG 4988

Flown Away | 2023
Indigo on canvas
75.5″ x 122″ 
TG 4988

Wind Curve | 2023
Fiberglass and acrylic, In Artist's Frame
46″ x 47″ 
TG 5022

Wind Curve | 2023
Fiberglass and acrylic, In Artist's Frame
46″ x 47″ 
TG 5022

Cracked Up | 2023-24
Earth, acrylic on wood panel
41″ x 31″ x 4″
TG 5020

Cracked Up | 2023-24
Earth, acrylic on wood panel
41″ x 31″ x 4″
TG 5020

Trace | 2024
Pigment, ink and oil on canvas
27.5″ x 20″ 
TG 5041

Trace | 2024
Pigment, ink and oil on canvas
27.5″ x 20″ 
TG 5041

Self Impression | 2024
Indigo and ink on canvas, In Artist's Frame
30″ x 22″ 
TG 5039

Self Impression | 2024
Indigo and ink on canvas, In Artist's Frame
30″ x 22″ 
TG 5039

Untitled | 2023
Acrylic and ink on canvas
55" x 42"
TG 5007

Untitled | 2023
Acrylic and ink on canvas
55" x 42"
TG 5007

Untitled | 2021-23
Oil on board
8″ x 10″ 
TG 4557

Untitled | 2021-23
Oil on board
8″ x 10″ 
TG 4557

Untitled | 2020-23
Oil on canvas mounted on wood, In Artist's Frame
11″ x 36″
TG 4561

Untitled | 2020-23
Oil on canvas mounted on wood, In Artist's Frame
11″ x 36″
TG 4561

Nothing Holds | 2023-24
Copper
6″ x 6″ x 5″
TG 5035

Nothing Holds | 2023-24
Copper
6″ x 6″ x 5″
TG 5035

Rock Bloom | 2023
Resin, iron and stone dust
26.75" x 36" x 24" 
TG 5047

Rock Bloom | 2023
Resin, iron and stone dust
26.75" x 36" x 24" 
TG 5047

Time twist | 2024
Resin and iron dust
9″ x 10″ x 28″
TG 5040

Time twist | 2024
Resin and iron dust
9″ x 10″ x 28″
TG 5040

Traces | 2023
Fiberglass and acrylic
40" x 13.25" x 3" (In 3 parts)
TG 5006

Traces | 2023
Fiberglass and acrylic
40" x 13.25" x 3" (In 3 parts)
TG 5006

Untitled | 2023
Etching on zinc
7″ x 5″ | Framed: 18 3/4" x 14 7/8"
TG 5031
Edition of 6

Untitled | 2023
Etching on zinc
7″ x 5″ | Framed: 18 3/4" x 14 7/8"
TG 5031
Edition of 6

Untitled | 2023
Etching on zinc
7″ x 5″ | Framed: 18 3/4" x 14 7/8"
TG 5030
Edition of 8

Untitled | 2023
Etching on zinc
7″ x 5″ | Framed: 18 3/4" x 14 7/8"
TG 5030
Edition of 8

Untitled | 2023
Etching on zinc
7″ x 5″ | Framed: 18 3/4" x 14 7/8"
TG 5027
Edition of 6

Untitled | 2023
Etching on zinc
7″ x 5″ | Framed: 18 3/4" x 14 7/8"
TG 5027
Edition of 6

Untitled | 2023
Etching on zinc
4.5″ x 7″ | Framed: 15" x 18.5"
TG 5029
Edition of 9

Untitled | 2023
Etching on zinc
4.5″ x 7″ | Framed: 15" x 18.5"
TG 5029
Edition of 9

Untitled | 2023
Etching on zinc
4.5″ x 7″ | Framed: 15" x 18.5"
TG 5028
Edition of 9

Untitled | 2023
Etching on zinc
4.5″ x 7″ | Framed: 15" x 18.5"
TG 5028
Edition of 9

Untitled | 2024
Etching on copper
7″ x 5″ | Framed: 18 3/4" x 14 7/8"
TG 5043
Edition of 7

Untitled | 2024
Etching on copper
7″ x 5″ | Framed: 18 3/4" x 14 7/8"
TG 5043
Edition of 7

Untitled | 2024
Etching on copper
11″ x 22.5″ | Framed: 13 1/2" x 24 13/16"
TG 5044
Edition of 6

Untitled | 2024
Etching on copper
11″ x 22.5″ | Framed: 13 1/2" x 24 13/16"
TG 5044
Edition of 6

Untitled | 2023
Etching on zinc
5″ x 10″ | Framed: 15" x 19.5"
TG 5032
Edition of 6

Untitled | 2023
Etching on zinc
5″ x 10″ | Framed: 15" x 19.5"
TG 5032
Edition of 6

Untitled | 2023
Etching on copper
6″ x 6″ | Framed: 15 3/4" x 15 5/8"
TG 5026
Edition of 8

Untitled | 2023
Etching on copper
6″ x 6″ | Framed: 15 3/4" x 15 5/8"
TG 5026
Edition of 8