Vasu Tolia

ArtAscent Silver Artist of the October 2022 call for artists.

In summer, the days get longer, and the nights get warmer. Being outdoors lets us appreciate the vitality of nature. Artist Vasu Tolia captures this energy in her works, painting bold and ephemeral natural elements through passionate strokes.

Flowers with vibrant hues, fluttering butterflies, and human figures mingle in Vasu’s paintings. They create a synergy between different elements that need each other to flourish. The beautiful blooms could not happen without the presence of insects, so humans wait for summer to live to its fullest. In Vasu’s works, each element—human, plant, or animal—claims its unique beauty while fully dependent on the others. However, in her works with impressionistic and abstract features, her subjects’ fragility and transient aspects emerge. Vasu’s art conveys her love for nature but also for humanity, inspiring a balanced and non-hierarchical relationship between them. Her works dedicated to flowers and plants, luxuriantly summery, embody the importance of environmental preservation. The fragile monarch butterflies she portrays are not only of rare beauty, but they also invite us to know and protect these animals in peril. Inspired by nature and travel, Vasu pushes viewers to love what surrounds us.

From a stylistic perspective, Vasu is a contemporary artist who draws on reality but abstracts it. Her language veers toward semi-abstract forms, achieved by blurring some of the details and creating art that is subject to the viewer’s sensations. Her representations of nature are vibrant and impressionistic, preferring to evoke rather than represent subjects in a literal way.

Vasu uses various techniques and media: acrylic paints, chalk, fine quality charcoal, oil pastels, sand, and ink. She spreads colour through brushes, palette knives, and even direct application of paint from a tube. The painter often works through layers, scraping between them. She moves skillfully through different art styles and genres.

Vasu’s works bring to mind the paintings of Monet’s late career, in which nature and its iconic water lilies lost their realistic connotations and became increasingly abstract. The painter’s flowers are forwards akin to the iconic ones of the modernist artist Georgia O’Keeffe, characterized by close-up and symbolism.

Vasu Tolia paints humanity and nature, strongly believing in the healing power of art. Originally from India, she migrated to the United States to further a medical career. After retirement, she devoted herself to visual arts carving out a personal niche and honing a singular style. She exhibited in group exhibitions and had three solo shows in the United States. She contributed with her art to projects to raise funds for healthcare, children’s and women’s causes. Impressionistic yet abstract, her artworks tell unique stories in which the ordinary is transformed into something special.

Vasu Tolia is the Silver Artist of the ArtAscent Summer call for artists. To see the full body of work and profile, get a copy of the ArtAscent Art & Literature Journal Summer issue.

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