Jacket 2016 Etching, collage, ink, lead, on paper 23 × 18 in
Mekhala Bahl's artwork combines the creativity and imagination of a child with the skill and technique of a professional artist trained at the Rhode Island School of Design. Working across multiple mediums including paint, ink, pencilwork and quilting, Mekhala Bahl constructs colourful abstract mindscapes teeming with seemingly chaotic lines, circles, amorphous shapes and childlike drawings reminiscent of doodles. While the images scattered throughout her work (such as chairs, ice cream cones, letters) all connect back to Mekhala Bahl's own environment and childhood experiences, the sheer abundance of these shapes allows the viewers to claim them and invest them with their own personal experiences. The works are thus purely subjective and the act of viewing them and finding meaning in them becomes akin to the innocent childhood game of finding familiar shapes in the clouds. Established conventions are free to be challenged as Mekhala herself does when working with found printed paper whose patterns she incorporates and subverts. Dominant in all her work is a sense of humour, energy and fun. This includes her sculpture which uses even edible materials like cotton candy and fried gram flour. Candy floss and dental floss are combined while tiny motorcycles are fried like pakodas - anything is possible in Mekhala's creations.
Mekhala Bahl was educated in Rhode Island, Japan, Rome, New Delhi and France. Her works have been exhibited at Gallery Espace; Open Palm Court Gallery, India Habitat Center, New Delhi; Visual Arts Gallery, Delhi; Gallery Chemould, Mumbai; Indigo Blue Art Gallery, Singapore; Palazzo Cenci, Rome, Italy; Montecastello Art Gallery, Montecastello, Italy; Gauguin Gallery, Pont Aven, Brittany, France; Benson Hall Gallery, Rhode Island, USA; Asian Contemporary Art Fair, New York and others.
Mekhala Bahl has participated in multiple workshops and residencies, serving as Artist in Residence at the International School of Painting, Drawing and Sculpture, Montecastello, Umbria Italy and as part of the Indo-French Residency Programme.
In 2003, Mekhala Bahl was awarded Student of the Year in Printmaking at the Rhode Island School of Design, USA. She was also the recipient of the G.W. Hodge Ritchie Award for Excellence in Printmaking, USA, in 2002.