Wednesday, December 31, 2003

"Dreams of Art: A Creative Exploration of Sleep-Time Images” - Indianapolis Art Center, Ruth Lilly Library – Dec. 31, 2003 – 2 stars

Art can be used to find meaning in the emotions and the confounding visual elements experienced in dreams. Art is a release, a therapy. The images seen in this exhibit are of personal growth on paper and canvas by five people who have long studied their dreams. As a didact explains, the art on view "Mediates between the dreamer and the unconscious." The accompanying dream explanations and reflections allow viewers to tap into the self-realizations of the artist/dreamer. "Monarch Jewels," a simple fabric sculpture by Janet Fox, is the visual embodiment and an extension of a poignant dream. "Family Portrait" by Barbara Koons is a cut and paste collage composite of many dream emotions while "In a Pink House" captures the tactile pink colors and sensations of a happy dream she experienced. Collage is used as a primary means of exploration in this show. Self-exploration takes precedence over visual aesthetics seen in the work, but that's not to say it isn't extremely fascinating and very valid. Through Jan. 11, 2004; 317-255-2464. – Mary Lee Pappas

Carol Boarman – Mavris Cultural Center – Dec. 31, 2003

Boarman's golden-hued images, both abstract and angel, recall myth and fantasy. One angel's face is delicately pink and rutty with detail, while the body and wings are formed in raised chunks of pearlized paint. There is a feminine storybook quality to the ethereal manner in which the characters in Boarman's works hold their gaze and grace. A sense of abandonment and satisfaction is relayed here albeit in the framework of these soft, comforting pieces. The overt expression of freedom in her painting is quite a release from the formality and structure of her Eastern Orthodox icons currently on view at the Indianapolis Art Center. Through Jan. 31, 2004; 317-917-9999. - Mary Lee Pappas

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Cheryl Paswater – Vencino’s Café – Dec. 24, 2003 – 2 stars

It's said that the sincerest form of flattery is to copy. In art, there is a certain creative validity to this visual mimicry. Creative growth happens when techniques and manners of expression are tinkered with and taken through a certain trial and error. A truly unique personal vision or style eventually can be discerned, though usually not overnight, from this exercise and consequent artistic experiments. This is being an artist. Not every piece created, or presented to the public, need be the end-all of an artist's creative boundary. Nine acrylic pieces clipped with clothes pins on a string at a mere $35 each, two framed pieces and four canvases by Paswater hang beautifully at Vencino's - only they too closely resemble the context-heavy work of fellow Harrison Center for the Arts mate Artur Silva. Visually they are quite appealing: abstracts with caked layers of dribbles and drippy swaths of color. Occasionally there is a seemingly meaningless word, more a compositional element than symbol, added. Influence and admiration of another's work could be a plausible, valid and a natural piece of an artist's journey; with some journeys more obvious than others. Through December, 2003; 317-634-1995. – Mary Lee Pappas

Quincy Owens – Lamp – Dec. 24, 2003 – 3 1/2 stars

Dec. 16. This one-night-only event-installation on the floor of LAMP's main gallery space was comprised of lots of individual paintings by Owens. Approximately 12-inch square pieces sat in a large rectangle spaced about an inch apart from each other, making one big painting or multifaceted mural. His signature minimalist, layered images were executed with an equally discernable, appealing palette that lends a tactile and torn quality to the wide color fields. As panels sold, the rectangle dissolved into what resembled a brick wall being built or taken apart, so it was difficult, if not totally irrelevant, to count the pieces - maybe 80 or more. At $20 each, they were a mix and match, make your own canvas. Patrons indulged in purchasing six segments or two segments to hang together or simply one alone. While this event was a way for Owens to thank the arts community for the breakthrough year he has had in establishing himself as a notable local talent, it also showed the give-and-take quality of community. It conceptually demonstrated how reciprocation is an innate function of how a community progresses and ticks. It was a very smart, well-conceived show of beautiful modern art. -Mary Lee Pappas

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Bill Rasdell, Robert Hewitt, George Durr – The Photography Gallery – Dec. 17, 2003 – 3 1/2 stars

The pieces presented by Rasdell are beautifully mystic images of the Indianapolis Museum of Art grounds that require the viewer to remember that these images of nature are just off of 38th and Michigan Road. These prints were created to hang alongside the Nature Conservancy's amazing exhibit, In Response to Place, at the IMA earlier this year. Images like "Early Morning Light" and "Emergence" capture foggy landscape scenes, which are then made supernaturally more misty through digital techniques. Bill may disagree, but I think they are among his most beautiful images yet. George Durr's black and white interpretations of the California land are dramatic - still with high contrast though the paper has a soft, tactile quality. Though all of his images are very striking, the consistent quality wavered ever so slightly. Some images appear grainy while others are crisp and sharp. His "Hail Bales" from the Badlands in North Dakota is an image any photographer would admire with its hot white light speckling off the hay. Through Dec. 22, 2003; 317-423-9237. – Mary Lee Pappas

Deborah Rosenbloom – The Bungalow – Dec. 17, 2003 – 3 1/2 stars

Beautifully presented flat fields of color embody the abstract work of Rosenbloom. Contours and forms push into each other with solid unlike, but comfortable colors. There is no painting outside of the lines in these square pieces, it's as if they were cut paper decoupage a la Matisse. The compositions have attractive and pleasing results that stretch well beyond the decorative and into the area of illusion with a Fauve-like mind set. Through December, 2003; 317-251-2782. - Mary Lee Pappas

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Tis the Season Art Market – NCAA Hall of Champions – Dec. 10, 2003 – 3 stars

Dec. 5-6. This Indianapolis Art Center fund-raiser, the first ever winter "art fair," was not a total success for the 60 selected participating artists. Booths were assembled in the grand hall and the inner sanctums of the NCAA facility for the two-day event. The indoor environment was quite pleasant, calm and unfortunately slow, though the IAC employees and volunteers hustled and accommodated the artists no differently than if it were the annual May fair. Perhaps the local TV meteorologists scared potential arts patrons away with their snowstorm predictions (or were their forecasts performance art?). Or, maybe potential audiences had as much difficulty locating the NCAA as some of the artists did. Whatever the case, as with the May art fair of 2003, the public missed out on a top-notch show. Renew your membership to the IAC today!; 317-255-2464. – Mary Lee Pappas

“Oranje and the Underground” – Key Cinemas – Dec. 10, 2003 – 2 stars

Dec. 5-6. Oranje, at the request of The Film Commune, decked the lobby of Key Cinemas out in art for the Indianapolis Underground Film Festival. Work by Vanessa Oeschle, Gwynn Burgins, Jason Poteet, Brendan Fox, Stuart Sayger and Anna Bradner adorned the space, only it was very difficult to decipher just whose work was whose because the pieces were not labeled in an easily viewable way. That aside, the work made for a great backdrop for a great film event. The cooperative effort is to be applauded and perhaps we will see Oranje offering up their services to other organizations looking to visually spice things up. - Mary Lee Pappas

Avra Economakos – Greek Islands – Dec. 10, 2003 – 3 stars

Having lived her entire life in Athens, artist Avra Economakos (formally Delehas) found her way to Indiana a year ago. Surprisingly, her work is along the lines of what you would typically expect to find at the Hoosier Salon. Realistic postcard image landscapes of Greece in lifelike colors line the walls of this restaurant. Her approach looks effortless and comfortable - like she could have painted these in her sleep - and are a beautiful addition to the Greek Islands. Her palette is soft, easy on the eyes without utilizing the full chromatic scale, with complementary contrasts - these are perfected, safe and done very well. Five flower pastel images (close cropped) possessed livelier colors and the same ease of execution. Through December, 2003; 317-636-0700. - Mary Lee Pappas