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Achala Wali: Surface Densities

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Achala Wali’s complex drawings unfold through the layering of graphite, ink, and other mixed media onto paper. She takes inspiration from the natural world—everything from the forms made by ice as it breaks over a lake to shadows caused by an eclipse to industrial rust. She translates these scenes into abstract forms. As Wali layers one pattern over another, her drawings emerge, some pulsing with energy and movement and others appearing frozen in time.

Surface Densities contemplates the natural world through the physical act of drawing. The work is informed by personal and shared experiences alike, including the force of rivers, electromagnetic currents, the teardrop shape of an ear, or the structure of hair tendrils on Greek archaic sculpture.

Wali is one of the artists selected as part of the CNY Artist Initiative, a competitive program that highlights the multi-faceted talents of CNY artists.

This project is made possible, in part, with funding from The Community Partnership of Tompkins County.

Density, 2020, ink and graphite on Fabriano paper, 25½ x 19½ inches, Courtesy of the artist

Density, 2020, ink and graphite on Fabriano paper, 25½ x 19½ inches, Courtesy of the artist

Achala Wali is a visual artist who lives in Trumansburg, NY. She was born in Varanasi, India, and emigrated to the United States with her family at age five. Achala studied art in Paris, France, completed her BFA at the School of Visual and Performing Arts, Syracuse University, and received her MA at Teacher’s College, Columbia University. Many artistic forms and traditions, particularly Indian art and temples, ancient art, and Western modernism, inspire her works on paper.