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- Thelma and Louise as a Bollywood Movie by Gautam Rao
Synthesis is an overriding concern in the art of Gautam Rao, an associate professor of art at Butler University. In the poster “Thelma and Louise as a Bollywood Movie,” you can see not just a synthesis of fine art and graphic design but also the fusion of American and Indian cultures. Hence the title, lettered in this digital illustration in Hindi—originally created for the Indianapolis International Film Festival Bigger Picture Show. Examples abound as well of Rao’s painting, such as the acrylic on canvas “skyline graph” which you might see as a mash-up of various bar charts and/or a highly pixelated (and colorful) vision of a city skyline. Rao is an artist obsessed with lists; in “Indians, Alphabetically,” he gives you 26 digital illustrations of men, one for each of twenty six Indian names, one for each letter in the English alphabet. Then there’s “The Numbers Series:” blocks of laser-cut acrylic, hanging on a shelf. These small blocks are cut in the form of letters (in various typefaces) spelling out numbers. In these negative spaces (so to speak) carved out by laser, there are passageways containing small metal balls, enclosed by clear plastic. This is 3D art that you can play with. It’s hard not to sense a very positive—and playful—aesthetic, when contemplating this work.