Thursday, December 31, 2015

remembering fierceness

On the brink of life 
the path was clear -
dusty feet, the orange sun,
the sound of the flute 
and cutting chai.

My mind has been wandering. Apart from looking back at the great year that was 2015, I've been thinking about the past 15 years.

It was in 2001 that I decided what I wanted to do with my life. I decided, or rather realised, that I wanted to be an artist. I was a student then, studying Economics. I liked the subject, but painting held my attention without me trying. Something changed that year. I remember the fierceness of that realisation. It gave my life meaning - a form that was truly me. The fierceness has since evolved into a calmer way of life. But it's good to revisit that fierceness to remember why you do what you do.
Happy 2016... May the force be with you!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Sunday, December 20, 2015

owt snoom

owt snoom
acrylic and chalk on paper, 24x18", 2014

The desert, the hint of dawn
Deep ink blue, dark earth
And diamonds
A great silence.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

where the true self roams free


Sometimes you have to shrink in size to really see a painting. To see the vastness of the space and feel the work. When you inhabit the painting, you can roam its high peaks and look out for miles. The horizon is far away. The light shimmers on that edge, while the dark pool draws you into its secrets. A shape is longer just a shape, but a being that stands with certainty.

*sketchbook entry, watersoluble graphite on paper

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

betwixt and between

betwixt and between
charcoal and chalk on paper, 24x18", 2015

The train blurs
The line between
What is real and imagined
What is present and past
All an irresistible mirage.

Monday, November 2, 2015

PAAC week 4 and 5, and INK IT UP!

My work at Pyramid Atlantic is on in full swing. Everyone at PAAC, including myself, has been gearing up for this year's big event - the 2nd Biennial Printmaking Symposium Ink It Up!

Ink It Up!, scheduled for November 14th, is going to be a one-day event filled with demonstrations, presentations, panel discussions, open portfolios. Some of the demonstrations include 'Negative Space and Mezzotint' with Shawn Smith, Hydrographic Immersion Printing' with Justin Strom, Glass Powder Screenprinting with Gretchen Schermerhorn and John Lickerman, 'Building a Table-top Press' with Franc Rosario. The panel discussion 'The Enveloping Experience of Printstallation' will look at print based installation art. Open Portfolio is going to be another exciting part of the print symposium - a showcase of prints from colleges, universities and printshops in the DC metro area. At the end of the day, there will be a coaster printing party accompanied by locally brewed beer.

Ink It Up! also has special exhibitions. 'The 45 Record Project, Revisited', is an exhibition of prints by artists from Pyramid Atlantic, AS220, BYO Printshop and Second State Press. The 45 Record Project is a print exchange and I am one of the six Pyramid Atlantic participating artists. 'Sphere' is the second exhibition. The show, to be hosted at Vigilante Coffee, is a collection of prints by Pyramid Atlantic artists. Ink It Up! is going to be a fantastic event. For more information and the full schedule visit the website.

In addition to the print symposium, I've been learning a lot of new things. I attended a soft-ground etching and drypoint workshop taught by Jake Muirhead. And then there is the ongoing lithography workshop. As part of my internship I am awarded one free workshop of my choice, and I signed up for a lithography class taught by Melissa Ezelle. I have been curious about this artform for a long time and I am thrilled to be finally learning it. I also did some book binding under the tutelage of book artist Linda Rollins. Great fun.

Some photographs from PAAC follow. Enjoy!

soft ground etching and dry point

polishing the stone for lithography

drawing on the litho stone

book binding

Monday, September 21, 2015

PAAC internship weeks 2 and 3

It's been three weeks since I began my internship at Pyramid Atlantic Art Center (PAAC). My orientation to the different studios is still on, and I've been busy helping out in prepping for workshops, making pulp for paper making, putting up artworks for an exhibition etc.  I just made my first batch of paper using fabric (I will post photos soon.) I have also started some screen printing and etching experiments. It’s good to be back in the print room.

making paper with a mould and deckle 
the paper press and drying rack

working on the plate

first proofs 

screen printing

Monday, September 7, 2015

PAAC 2015 fall studio internship

Exciting news. I have been selected for the 2015 Fall Studio Internship at Pyramid Atlantic Art Center (PAAC). Pyramid Atlantic is a non-profit contemporary art center with printmaking, paper making and book arts studios. PAAC offers an internship program every semester. The program gives interns the opportunity to understand the operations of a non-profit art center and gain studio experience. Interns assist teachers and artists in the printmaking, paper making and book art studios, and help out with everyday activities like studio upkeep, exhibitions, events, workshops etc. Interns also work on their own projects. I'm really excited to be the Fall Intern this year. I look forward to working at PAAC with teachers and artists, getting back to printmaking and learning new art forms.

The first couple of weeks is an orientation to the processes and equipment in each of the studios. I am now learning the basics of paper making under the guidance of Gretchen Schermerhorn, the Artistic Director at PAAC. Fascinating stuff.

PAAC is located in downtown Silver Spring. The art center offers many workshops taught by experienced teachers. The beautiful PAAC building (a lovely red) has two levels. The lower level of the building has the print room, paper making studio, bindery, letterpress studio, dark room, screen printing studio, the office area and artist studios. Upstairs is the 2nd floor gallery and a few more artist studios. The art center is home to many artists and this brings me to the best part about this internship - the opportunity to meet other artists, see the work they are doing and learn from them.

Watch this space for weekly updates about my adventures at PAAC. Until then, have a creative week!

paac building in downtown silver spring

the print room - ready for the day

 the bindery

letterpress studio

stairs to the 2nd floor gallery

fabric for paper making

sketches and ideas for printmaking

Saturday, September 5, 2015

potter files: a summer of ceramics (part I)

I got back to ceramics this summer after three months in India. (That's two summers for me this year.) Returning to the potter's wheel after a gap is like riding a bike - you don't forget. You are wobbly at first but you get into the groove pretty quick.

I glazed my pots a bit differently this time. In addition to the dipping or dunking method I also brushed on the glaze for a more painterly effect. Another technique I used involved adding a layer of wax resist on the first layer of glaze and then scraping off the wax roughly before adding the second layer of glaze. The result is what I call the broken wall effect. I like the gritty effect of this technique.
Below are some of the tea cups, mugs, wine glasses, pitchers and bowls I made. Thanks to getsane for the beautiful photographs.

The second part of the summer output will be up soon. Also look out for a series of posts about an internship program I have been selected for. More about that tomorrow. Until then enjoy!


Saturday, August 22, 2015


acrylic and watersoluble graphite on paper, 8x8", 2015 priya vadhyar

In the desert
My eyes scanned the horizon
For the emerald waters
Within me.

Friday, July 17, 2015

exhibition, a point and line to plane xi: paintings

The exhibition 'A Point and Line to Plane XI' at Gallery Beyond in Mumbai opened today. Below are the paintings I am displaying. The first painting, titled 'The Mirror', is an acrylic painting on canvas and is 48x36 inches in size. The second, also acrylic on canvas and the same size, is called 'Once upon a Breeze, a Magpie'. The third painting, titled 'Once Upon a Breeze, a Magpie (II)', is acrylic on paper. The fourth, untitled, is acrylic and watersoluble graphite on paper and is 24x18 inches in size.

As mentioned in the previous post, the exhibition features abstract paintings by nine artists. The exhibition is on at Gallery Beyond until the end of August.

the mirror
acrylic on canvas, 48x36", 2015, priya vadhyar

once upon a breeze, a magpie
acrylic on canvas, 48x36", 2015, priya vadhyar

once upon a breeze, a magpie (II)
acrylic on paper, 24x18, 2014, priya vadhyar

acrylic and watersoluble graphite on paper, 24x18", 2014, priya vadhyar

Thursday, July 16, 2015

exhibtion: a point and line to plane xi

Gallery Beyond (Mumbai) is hosting the 11th edition of its annual abstract exhibition starting tomorrow July 17th. This year the show is called 'A Point and Line to Plane XI' and will showcase the work of nine artists - Arvind Patel, Abhijit Kumar Pathak, Dev, Rajnish Kaur, Smita Kinkale, Shiladitya Sarkar, Sunny Malwatkar, Vishal Joshi and myself. I'm excited and honoured to be showing my work with such amazing artists.

The theme of the show in the words of Gallery Beyond - "The common thread that weaves these artists together is Abstract Expressionism. Abstraction does not deal with objects or with effects or with images. It is a purely expressive art, one that excludes all the styles of the past and is a plastic art with only one purpose; to inspire human nature towards beauty."

Below is the exhibition poster. The opening of the show is tomorrow at 7pm; the show will continue until the end of August. Gallery Beyond's beautiful space and the art in that space beckon!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

the studio - an easel, a table and six walls

Since I got back from India (an amazing three month trip!), I've been cleaning the studio and moving things around, trying to make the best of the space.

My studio is a small but lovely odd shaped room with six walls. It's a pretty minimalist studio - easel, table, trolley and lots of canvases and paper up on the walls. A few days ago I moved my table into the nook by the window. I don't know why I didn't do this sooner. The new position is perfect. Take a look at some of the photographs I clicked of the clean studio yesterday. (It'll get messy soon enough.)

The two angled walls make a nice nook for the easel and trolley.
the window
The other side of the studio with works in progress on the wall (part I)

The other side of the studio with works in progress on the wall (part II)

Thursday, May 21, 2015

exhibition: the 377191 wall

Starting May 23rd, I am going to be part of an exhibition in Mumbai. Gallery Beyond in association with Kashish Mumbai International Queer Film Festival is hosting an exhibition titled 'The 377191 Wall: Freedom to Express, Freedom to Choose'. The exhibition postcard explains, "238 artists come together to express their solidarity with the fundamental right to freedom to speech and expression and the freedom to choose whom to love. While Article 19 (1) (a) protects the freedom to speech and expression, section 377 of the IPC is a law that criminalises same sex relationships. The group show of 279 mixed media works reflect on both these issues." 'The 377191 Wall' is about an individual's right to be who she is, to live with dignity and equality. It is about the right to express one's self without censorship. Artists and activists come together in this unique show to say that being human means being able to express oneself and love another without fear.

How awesome is it to be part of such an affirmation?

'The 377191 Wall' is a small works show. I am showing two paintings, both acrylic and watersoluble graphite on paper. The exhibition opens on May 23rd at 6.30 pm and will run until June 27th. Below are the two paintings in the show and the exhibition details.  Do drop by!

still, I stand,
the wind speaks
acrylic and watersoluble graphite on paper, 8x8", 2015 priya vadhyar

with a map of winds,
I traverse
acrylic and watersoluble graphite on paper, 9x9", 2015 priya vadhyar

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

for vincent

"What am I in the eyes of most people - a nonentity, an eccentric, or an unpleasant person - somebody who has no position in society and will never have; in short, the lowest of the low. All right, then - even if that were absolutely true, then I should one day like to show by my work what such an eccentric, such a nobody, has in his heart. That is my ambition, based less on resentment than on love in spite of everything, based more on a feeling of serenity than on passion. Though I am often in the depths of misery, there is still calmness, pure harmony and music inside me. I see paintings or drawings in the poorest cottages, in the dirtiest corners. And my mind is driven towards these things with an irresistible momentum."

- Vincent van Gogh, Letter to Theo, 1882

for vincent
acrylic on canvas, 40x30", 2015, priya vadhyar

Columbia Art Center is hosting an invitational theme show. Held every spring, the exhibition this year is called 'Portraits and Profiles: Inspirations in My Life'. 

I am going to be part of this very exciting exhibition, where I'll be showing a 40x30 inch acrylic painting titled 'For Vincent'. The painting is a tribute to Vincent van Gogh. When I was a teen, painting and discovering the joys of art, I found inspiration in Vincent - in his paintings and his letters to his brother Theo. What comes to mind is the rawness, the outpouring of his heart, a rare wisdom and undying faith. I wanted to work on a painting that paid tribute to the great master, and so this painting uses Vincent's iconic colours. It is a painting for Vincent.

'Portraits and Profiles: Inspirations in My Life' opens on Friday April 17th at 530 pm. Below are the details of the exhibition. 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Thursday, February 19, 2015

potter files: it's time for tea

My work in the ceramics studio continues. Today I'd like to show you work from the class I took in the fall. The highlight of the session was a ceramic Project Runway. Each class took up a project - some worked on pitchers, others on goblets. My class took up teapots.

For a beginners' class we're pretty gutsy because teapots are complicated even though they look harmless. You start with main body of the teapot. Then you make the spout, which is an ultra thin cylinder with a wide base. To attach the spout, you remove its base, poke holes into the body of the pot and then join the two in way that the mouth of the spout is higher than the pot. Next, you make the handle and attach it. Finally you make the lid, which is a pretty daunting task too. Post bisque, glaze, kiln and prayers, your teapot is ready. I must mention that the teapot I made works.

In addition to the teapot project, I made largish jars with lids and some not so large ones too. Also I made some open bowl/ jar/ pot things. I tried to improve my centering, something I will continue working on. I also worked on bringing up the clay to create a cylinder. I'm getting better, bit by bit. Sometimes you forget something basic and start all over. That's just how it is. But the hurting back and the frustration over the pot that collapsed on you are temporary. One by one out come forms, even if not perfect, and the joy you feel is like the blue sky after seven days of rain.
On this happy note I give you the class of fall 2014!