Shailesh B.O.’s latest show, Mirrors In The Mind, combines the profound with the kitsch

The first piece of art Shailesh B.O. created when he decided to work on glitter, a complex medium, is the most different among the 50-odd pieces at his latest show Mirrors In The Mind that includes sculptures and paintings. Titled Fractal Series — Escape, it is that of a man trapped in a golden cage. The human in water colour and the cage, in glitter. “Glitter is an Indian element, and I haven’t seen it in art anywhere and decided to draw inspiration from all things Indian and local to create this series,” Shailesh, a BFA in Painting from Shimoga, explains.

The installation Cosmic Dance is Shailesh’s reflection on the way images from one creator’s work get repeated over a period of time to an extent that the original creator remains untraceable. The installation also features a sculpture and everyday things such as keychains and an assortment of other miniscule objects, all painted over with glitter, lending it a store-window quality. “My eight-year-old daughter brings her friends to this part of the exhibit and says, ‘Look, you can touch this art’. I have also had visitors who choose this installation to stand in front of and take pictures,” says Shailesh, who is a Cholamandal resident artist. That is the sort of accessibility his new medium brings to art.

Technological advances

Dubbed his most profound work yet, An Open Book — Touch Me Not is as much a commentary on technological advances as it is on contemporary living. It features Shailesh’s drawing journal in a museum-like, enclosed case, which the public is not allowed to access. However, its contents are made visible on a flat television at the click of a mouse. “We do not touch the actual object, and yet are able to create the illusion of a page flip,” Shailesh says.

While leaves, flowers and yogic postures lend a mystic quality to Shailesh’s work, the common motif across a lot of the works on display, the lotus, a very Indian element, is his commentary on a ‘floating life’ — like that of the flower that appears to be floating in water but is rooted beneath the surface.

“Working on glitter has been very challenging. I couldn’t even breathe, because if I did, I might end up blowing the material away,” he adds. Even his sculptures are experimental and in keeping with the mirror imagery theme seen consistently throughout the work. While some sculptures feature mirrors, others feature mirror images of pieces and experiments in texture that include silver foil and lime coating.

(The exhibition is on till November 30 at Art Houz, No. 41, Kasturi Rangan Road)