Rising Mercury: Jaideep Mehrotra’s art experiments with metal on canvas
Back after a six-year gap, the artist’s new works offer a unique reflection. Check them out all this month.
Jaideep Mehrotra has been the kind of artist who’s equally at home in a gallery and a high-society party. He’s created public art (a sculpture featuring Sachin Tendulkar on Marine Drive) and incorporated public themes (art themed on the Indian Railways). And his works have used oils, acrylics, fabric, resin, digital techniques, Giclée, and video.
Six years after his last solo show, the artist takes yet another swerve with this style. Reflections in Mercury features abstract works that merge metal and paint. At first glance it seems like liquid metal has been poured carefully over canvas-based works, giving them a reflective sheen. Bright blues and bold reds stand out, giving each piece a surreal feel.
Mehrotra says the idea is to show that art is a “reflection” of its surrounding culture. The metallic gleam represents the industrial culture of gadgets and instant gratification. The reflective surfaces are meant to represent our minds, which observe the universe, and models ourselves on it.
“This show deals with the notion that reflections on fluid medium are dynamic and interestingly distorted. I was tempted by the idea of creating a work of art that will be physically different for every person looking at it,” he adds.
The medium explains the artist’s long gap between shows. “I was researching new techniques, coming up with new methods that help me best convey the ideas through my work,” he says. “Sometimes it takes years of experimentation before I come up with a body of work that I’m satisfied with. It feels good to be able to showcase these new works.”
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Technology has been a fundamental force in the outreach of art. We can now view the Mona Lisa in higher definition than in the crowded room at the Louvre. Works once hidden in private collections are two clicks away on Google.
It also means that the idea of traditional in-person viewing is fading away. Nicholai Sachdev, who runs Gallery 7 in Kala Ghoda hopes find a middle ground between art and technology with a new show called Online / Offline Technology Takes Form. It showcases works from 15 renowned Indian artists like Amit Thorat, FN Souza, Jogen Chowdhury, SH Raza and Vaishali Oak – works that have previously been on Gallery 7’s virtual platform.
“Although the two worlds are apart, we believe that observation and perception can bind them in simple harmony,” says Sachdev. “If you look at an Amit Thorat artwork and if it is viewed with an open mind, it can almost seem like a scientific binary genetic strand diagram. From an artistic point it is well defined geometric, minimalistic linework. So finally, view the artwork with a logical or creative mind,” says Sachdev.
Prakash Waghmare who is one of the artists in the show, believes his work is scientific in its own way. “I paint vibrations, the colours and lines have always been close to my heart,” he says. “My work is created from a deep meditative process. It forms a reflection, impression, and expression of influence from around me.” Perhaps that’s the quality that reveals itself to the viewer only in person.