Mekhala Bahl (b.1980) is a New Delhi-based contemporary printmaker who works across several mediums including paint, ink, pencil work and quilting. Random lines of varying thicknesses are etched across the surface of her abstract paintings and sculptures, a recent addition to her oeuvre, appearing like fresh or faded scars, and occasionally, aligning to form pared down shapes of objects, or meandering into loops and squiggles that seem like an idiosyncratic hieroglyphic. The resultant matrix is akin to a mindscape, with coded hints at things, people or incidents, real or imagined, or the texture of human skin – variegated, mottled, wizened, and marked, seemingly, by the effects of time and the conditions of being.
Collage is integral to Mekhala’s practice, and she constructs her canvases using multiple art-making processes and materials, such as the translucent sewing pattern paper which she pastes on her canvas, incorporating the printed matter into her works, and also subverting it. The result is sophisticated, open-ended, and playful, drawing viewers into her canvases and inviting them to invest the abstract forms with their own meaning.
Mekhala trained at College of Art, Delhi and Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, USA. In a career spanning nearly two decades, she has participated in artist residencies in Japan, North America and France, and has shown her work in prestigious international exhibitions and art fairs. Mekhala received the G.W. Hodge Ritchie Award for Excellence in Printmaking (US) in 2002.