"My works are mostly about looking sideways at the overlooked. The trivialities of our day to day life bring out incongruities that appeal to me. The boy in Antoine de Saint-Exupery's The Little Prince was intrigued by the accustomed visual knowledge and the difficulty in reading images from unlikely angles. I try to subvert and disrupt the conventional mode of narration in my work. " -- Mahesh Baliga
Looking Sideways, Mahesh Baliga's first solo exhibition in Mumbai, comprises large-scale paintings as well as intimate, yet eerily faceless portraits and sculptural works.
Playing with perspective in a manner reminiscent of De Chirico, Baliga's pivotal diptych entitled Poison Seller lures the viewer into his visual world. Flat, two-dimensional facades stand without support, while figures move within the walls, a couple embracing in shadows of intimacy obscured. Symmetrical social gatherings inhabit the center of the painting, opaque outlines of figures opening the imagination. Poison sellers show their wares in the foreground while an over-sized man grasping a knife guards the scene unfolding.
Baliga further explores identity in his unknown painting series. A regal king clad in a flowing lemon-hued robe turns away from the viewer leaving uncertainty, a portrait of a figure without a face. A woman in a verdant sari sits peering outward; again no facial details are discernable. The artist embraces visual ambiguity and invites the viewer to participate in a visual and metaphorical reconnaissance.