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Dhruvi Acharya’s psychologically and visually layered paintings
Dhruvi Acharya’s narratives in psychologically and visually layered paintings draw us into a realm where thoughts are as visible as the ‘reality’ they inhabit. With an astute amalgamation of ancient, pop-culture and personal symbols and metaphors, she strikes a deft balance between contrasting details and patterns with uniform color fields.

The artist started painting her memories attached with homeland after reaching the US in 1995. Her early creations were more drawing-based. She recorded the cozy comfort zones she had left behind. She mentions: “I am interested creating paintings that have a smooth physical surface but are visually and psychologically layered.”

Born in 1971, Dhruvi Acharya spent her formative years in Mumbai. She first studied Applied Arts, and won a Gold Medal for academic excellence at Sophia Polytechnic, Mumbai. She completed her Master of Fine Arts in Fine Arts from Hoffberger School of Painting, Maryland Institute, College of Art, Baltimore. Later, she worked with renowned American abstract expressionist Grace Hartigan. Having lived and worked in NY until 2004, she now regularly visits Mumbai. Her paintings have been showcased in leading museums, galleries, art fairs and events across the globe. Her work has been exhibited in juried shows with judging panelists from the Hirshhorn (Smithsonian) Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Dhruvi Acharya’s selected solo exhibitions are 'One Life On Earth', Chemould Prescott Road, Mumbai (2008); ‘Two Plus Two Equals’, Gallery Chemould (2006); ‘Figment’, Gallery Chemould (2004); ‘Woman, Mother, Goddess’, Jehangir Gallery, Mumbai (2002); solo at Gomez Gallery, Baltimore, USA (2001); ‘Three Contemporary Painters: along with Nilima Sheikh and Manisha Parekh at Bose Pacia, New York (2001). She received the Aditya Birla KalaKiran Award in 2006 and was also nominated for the Joan Mitchell Foundation Award, US.

The sensitive artist’s concern for the environment, her training in advertising, graphics and typography, her exposure to rich Indian miniature tradition, her love for comic books and contemporary street art all culminated into the body of work featured in her latest series entitled ‘One Life on Earth’. He another significant body of acrylics and watercolors ‘Two Plus Two Equals’ explored the realm of dual responsibilities and multiple commitments.

Dhruvi Acharya personally has been playing the dual roles of creative agent and mother, the citizen effortlessly inhabiting two culturally diverse cities. At another level, she continues with her image-making practice creating abstractive color-field backgrounds and communicative devices, which carry their signals only erratically. This often finds an expression in her work.

She depicts in an allegoric manner the poetic moments in one's intellectual and emotional conflict with oneself exploring the concepts of solitude and loneliness, and their impact on one's psyche. They are largely based on her drawings in her sketchbook, which akin to a daily journal chronicles the changing landscapes of her emotions, thoughts, observations and experiences. The drawings are ‘stream of consciousness’, as the artist puts it.

Underlining artistic influences that have shaped her art practice, critic Nancy Adajania commented in an essay: “Dhruvi Acharya's work is quilted from various sources, blurring the line between high and low art, fine art and commercial art. While the caricatural elements in her works are influenced by the Amar Chitra Katha comics she devoured in childhood, they also owe allegiance to the work of the California Graffiti artists like Lari Pittman, Margaret L Kilgallen and Barry McGee, from whom she has imbibed a worldview where the formal strategies of folk art, caricature, mural painting and votive art can be integrated into a contemporary position without hierarchy or value judgment. She demonstrates great discipline and rigor in integrating Hartigan's color-field training with her interest in caricature and graffiti art, along with her abiding interest in the miniatures and the decorative arts.”

Dhruvi Acharya’s art practice involves applying layer upon layer of translucent and opaque paint, matt and gloss medium resulting in a uniform surface where the patterns and images ‘visually recede’ to various levels. Her richly patterned mixed media paintings are layered with graphic style and narrative imagery in which she explores the nuances of motherhood, complex cross cultural communication, and the ambivalence present in shifting locations.

According to Dhruvi Acharya, her paintings focus on the current world environment – on the pollution, the violence and the discord. She states: “Just like me, my work is not overtly or obviously political, but instead of anger, I tend to utilize a subtle, dark and wry humor, drawing viewers into a world where thoughts are as visible as ‘reality’, and where the protagonists live and metamorphose by the logic of that world.”