top of page
  • Writer's picturePeggy Nichols

Eva Malhotra, a multi-dimensional artist in vision and medium...

Updated: Mar 20, 2021

Eva Malhotra is a plastic artist whose work includes encaustic and carved work, oil painting, installations, performance, and photography. The artist received her education at the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, California, the University of California, Los Angeles School of Letters and Science; Department of Spanish Literature and Linguistics where Malhotra was awarded a Bachelor of Arts Degree, and the School of Law at the University of California, Los Angeles and Boalt Hall / the University of California Berkeley, earning a Juris Doctor's Degree. Malhotra's art has been exhibited extensively in the United States and Mexico, both in solo and groups exhibitions, including the Armory Art Fair in New York City, the LA Art Show, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico en Los Angeles,California, Centro Cultural Tijuana, Mexico, Instituto Municipal de Arte y Cultura de Puebla, Mexico, Instituto Municipal de Arte y Cultura deTijuana, Mexico, Casa de la Cultura, Los Angeles, California, Bellas Artes, Mexico City, Mexico, Instituto Politecnico Nacional, Mexico, Lancaster Museum of Art and History, Lancaster, California and many others.

The Silence is Killing Me

The Silence is Killing Me, ink and acrylic on poly silk

The Silence is Killing Me, ink and acrylic on poly silk


"I conceived of this series as an exploration of the nature of violence in its myriad forms: direct or indirect, physical or mental, externally inflected or self-inflicted. A more specific focus and inspiration for many of the pieces, however, was my horror regarding violence against women. I believe that the tactile quality of my chosen medium instills such an examination of violence with a more visceral expression than would be possible employing a different method: the carving of lines, cuts and indentations into once living wood allows each piece to simultaneously serve as a literal representation of violence and its abstract representation.

In this series, I feel that the form itself contributes to one's attraction to and repulsion from the content. By employing natural shapes, occasionally glossy surfaces, and traditionally feminine images and motifs in juxtaposition to and distorted by the disturbing nature of many of the pieces, I intend to investigate the multiple perspectives and forms of violence against women -- in metaphor and reality; in the woman's mind and the male imagination. For the unity of the series, I have maintained a range of symbolic imagery that recurs

throughout the series, highlighting each work's similarities and differences when compared to the whole. In some contexts, my utilization of repeated shapes and colors is meant to suggest different meanings and forms than it has in others, but the clear similarities between individual pieces all refer in some way to the basic idea that informs them all."

Vulnus, mixed media on wood

Flight / Vuelo

The installation, "Flight / Vuelo" is a representation of the migration of the monarch butterfly. The butterfly's spectacular migration spans North American, make the monarch among the ubiquitous species across Mexico, the United States and Canada. In this piece, the monarch serves as a metaphor for the Latin American migrant, who caravan northward in search of safety. The exhibition space ~ a mausoleum on the premises of the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, tacitly reminds the viewer that even the most vibrant of life forms will die.

Migrating lifeforms, humans and otherwise, often come to a final resting place before being able to return whence they cam from. Like all forms, the monarch is fragile, especially in the face of climate change. The last 27 years has witnessed the demise of 82% of the world's winged insects.

The mausoleum is also a place where the living gather to celebrate life. During the installation of this piece, a group of teenagers gathered for hours around the gravesite of their newly buried friend, chatting in the cool stillness of the mausoleum's shade. The practice of visiting a beloved's grave, so common across cultures, is

ritualized in Mexican culture, as Dia de los Muertos ( Day of the Dead ) ~ the holiday for which this installation was imagined.

The corn husks used to create the "butterflies' are also symbolic of Latin American culture. Maize is a native crop of the Americas and, like so many other living things, made its way northward from southerly realms to become a mainstay. Flight is thus a celebration and a lamentation ~ an homage to the vulnerable beings whose flight is a means of survival.

Vuelo, acrylic and ink on corn husks

Bajo la Misma Luna

People are divided by arbitrary walls and borders in virtually every society. Not only are there physical walls, such as that between the Israelis and Palestinians, but there are other invisible walls, which are just as insurmountable. They divide people on the basis of color, gender, race, age, religion, socio-economic disparity, sexual orientation, ethnic origin, community, belief system and nationality. These walls are separate and keep the less powerful "in their place" through institutionalized and informal bars to equal treatment.

Bajo la Misma Luna, acrylic carved on wood panel

Bajo la Misma Luna, acrylic carved on wood panel

Myth / Mitos

El mito es una parábola sagrada que nos ayuda entender el porqué del mundo y la experiencia humana...

Eva Malhotra: Landscapes of the Mind

To walk through an exhibition of Eva Malhotra's astonishing artworks in to witness the unfolding of a mythic topography. A fiery horizon crosses browned grass. Birds soar through turquoise skies. The far heavens writhe and curl. A swirling quilt of colors and textures unfurls across the browned earth. Green and red foliage pulsates over the blackened ground. Patches of cerulean sky are visible beyond thickly leaved limbs. Golden stars sparkle and spin in a velvety cosmos. To behold Malhotra's oeuvre is to be entranced by lavish landscapes of the mind.

Eva Malhotra is an artist who sculpts paint. This may seem like a non sequitur to readers who think of paints as one thing ( the medium used to create images on wood panels or stretched canvas ) and sculpture as another ( three dimensional figures carved in marble or cast in bronze ). In fact, ever since avant-garde practitioners like Russian born Vassily Kandinsky liberated art from its representational mandate, artist have been freed to use paint in new ways: the medium is to longer limited to being the substance through which a visual story is depicted. As French Cubist Georges Braque asserted, "The painter think in terms of form and color. The goal is not to be concerned with the reconstitution of an anecdotal fact, but with constitution of a pictorial fact".

Kandinsky's early abstractions ( 1911 - 1913 ) were revolutionary in their rejection of representational content, but rather in terms of how the paint was applied. Within a few years, however, the expected parameters of paint application were transformed as well. In the 1930s, Mexican Muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros experimented with new media and new techniques for applying paint. ( Siqueiros's workshop in New York City introduced Jackson Pollock to the drip and spatter techniques her used in his Abstract Expressionist masterpieces. )

By the 1940s, German artist Wols was building up various layers of paint, then scratching through them to reveal underlying colors. And in the 1950s, Italian, Lucio Fontana slashes and punctured his paintings, wounding the with aggressive marks. The artists ~ Siqueiros, Wols, and Fontana are Eva Malhotra's forefathers.

Like Siqueiros, Malhotra employs unexpected techniques and tools. Like Wols, she layers paint, then cuts through the layers to reveal underlying colors. And like Fontana, her sumptuous surfaces can be read as skin, here delicate, almost lacy marks as subtle wounds.

Malhotra uses wood panels as her base. She covers the panels with twelve to fifteen layers of differently colored paints. Then she takes printmaking tools ~ cutters, carvers, gouges, and knives ~ and makes marks on the surface. The artist does not plan ahead; there are no predatory drawings. Instead, she selects a tool, chisels out the first mark and allows it to dictate the second mark or incision. The second mark, in turn, points to her third. Each tool produces a distinct mark and she is imminently skilled at discerning which tool to use, how much pressure to employ ( pressure determines which underlaying layer of paint will be revealed ), and what direction the work "wants" her to go. She saves the excised ribbons and dots of paint, sometimes gluing them back on the same or other parts of the panel. The process requires fastidious concentration and careful attention to her intuitive flow. And it is richly rewarding.

Malhotra creates extraordinarily beautiful, jewel-like surfaces that invite not only insistent tactile response but also meditative contemplation.

What British painting and critic wrote of Willem de Kooning.s work could be said of Malhotra's. "The paint has a skin to it, here taut and glossy, there wrinkled, abraded, scarred. It is pierced, abraded, scraped. A line drawn through it will go through half a dozen states, from the furry bloom of crusted charcoal to a blind furrow, cutting a channel into soft paint below."

As we gaze upon Eva Malhotra's cut and marked paintings, we are transported to an imaginative work of color and texture. The light of aesthetic encounter shines forth from each of the tiny, stitch-like marks that cover Malhotra's beautifully painted surfaces and touches us deeply.

Betty Ann Brown,

Art historian, critic, curator

Pasadena, California 2015

Eva Malhotra

170 views0 comments



  • Black Instagram Icon
  • Black Facebook Icon
bottom of page