Wednesday, March 05, 2003

Me, Myself and I, Self-Portraits - Indianapolis Museum of Art - March 5, 2003 - 3 stars

The collection of self-portraits, from Durer to Rauschenberg, are sensitively conceived representations of the artists’ personalities and serve as valuable documents of art history. Primarily black and white images (etchings, engravings, lithos and drawings) are crisply presented in plain, bleached wood frames with white mats. Ibis enhances the sketchy and intimate feel of the show. Self-portraits are, as the exhibit explains, "artistic exercise” that every artist utilizes to sharpen skills. Aesthetic sensibilities, status and technique are sharpened through these self-studies. They convey what the artist thinks of herself or, in the case of this grouping, mostly himself. George Cruikshank, who illustrated Grimm's fairy tales and Charles Dickens works, represents himself in the same manner as his famed illustrations. A piece by a promising Indiana artist f the late 19th century, Charles David Fiscus, is displayed. One of only two works completed by this artist before his death at the age of 22, it is delicately and masterfully rendered, especially when compared to fellow Herron student Glen Cooper Henshaw’s pompous pose. This is a show (the Goya and Mora pieces are very cool) that artists and students of art history should see and savor. Let's hope this gallery doesn't experience the abnormally high levels of humidity plaguing the Turner Gallery next to it during this wet weather. A renovated facility with more than a mere hygrothermograph can't come soon enough. Through March 9, 2003; 317-923-1331. -Mary Lee Pappas

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