You can almost feel a swish of wind in the gentle, at times almost imperceptible, grooves throughout Alwar Balasubramaniam’s fiberglass-and-acrylic piece Wind Waves, 2012. This, among other richly textured surfaces across the artist’s works here, serves as a testimony to the play of unseen natural forces around us.
The mixed-media work Filings in the Field, 2012, for instance, created by combining rust, chalk, glue, and acrylic on canvas, references how energy fields shape the material world. The circular arrangement of rusted material mimics magnetic field lines while also evoking memories of childhood physics experiments demonstrating the wondrous effects of magnets. Elsewhere, the dark-chocolate-colored In-conversation, 2014, resembles stratified rocks and makes us conscious of the gnawing nature of time. The artist’s refined sensibility also shines through in Here and There, 2015, for which he has drilled through the surface of a plywood gallery wall, bringing to light hidden recesses, sedimentary layers of acrylic, and accretions of memories.
Balasubramaniam transforms materials with ease, sculpting granite as if it were putty and sandstone as if it were a mere lump of dough to be kneaded and shaped at will. In Fragmented Conversation, 2015, he imbues plaster of paris with the feel of terra cotta, bringing with it echoes of ancient civilizations while the cast- aluminum Spill, 2013, is transformed by magic into a splash of silver-gray floating ethereally in midair. These works heighten the senses, so much so that I suddenly wonder if it wasn’t the effect of my breath on Dunes, 2012, that caused its chalky sands to shift ever so slightly.