Wednesday, January 28, 2004

"From A Different Perspective" - Hoosier Salon - Jan. 28, 2004 - 3 stars

This nonrepresentational art show is not the stuff you'd necessarily expect from the Hoosier Salon artists participating. Julie Muney Moore, Indianapolis Art Center director of exhibitions and artist services, and juror for this show, says in a statement, "I would urge those who work in this vein to look to the Hoosier Salon as a venue for promoting work of quality by all Indiana artists regardless of style or approach." I second that. This colorful exhibition is a surprise of a show and flips the bill for quality modern-minded works. Judith A. Leiviska's acyrlic abstractions of strictly color and form concoctions are executed in a painterly way. A rhythmic Synchronism-like piece - reds, fleshy pinks and orange yellows embody this exercise of artistic expression. Compared to similar works shown in the city recently, this show is above average. Well worth a visit. Through Feb. 14, 2004; 317-253-5340. -Mary Lee Pappas

Laura Boone: Photographer - IUPUI Cultural Arts Gallery - Jan. 28, 2004 - 2 1/2 stars

Ordinarily an artist's statement enhances and validates their art. It serves as bridge between the artist and the audience because pretty pictures aren't always enough. Fortunately for Boone, her photos are great as is. A typically youngish angst is revealed in the writing and in titles like "Isolate" and "Numb." But in the work itself, very personal, and yet universal, expressions are examined and beautifully, lyrically manifested. A digital print, "Voice," the least impressive image among the silver gelatin and c-type prints displayed, conceptually interprets how much information there is in the world, how hard it is to keep up and how it can make an individual's voice feel smothered. It would make for a great installation. The venue, a concrete block room at the old IUPUI library, is pretty sanitary with an inadequate florescent haze, which is not up to standard with Boone's work. But she hits a home run with her images. Next time pick a venue that compliments the work. Through Feb. 20, 2004; 317-274-3931. -Mary Lee Pappas

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Bartosz Pietrzak: Photographs - Bona Thompson Center - Jan. 21, 2004 - 4 stars

An exceptional display of photography: Pietrzak possesses an unmatched imaginative aesthetic that spans his life experiences as a photographic artist. Photography composites, in many instances, are montaged to create surreal landscapes, like "Terra Est Rotunda," where desert dry earth monumentally curves into an earthy sphere, suggesting a poetic fragility to the planet. His works, both montage and journalistic spanning the last 30 years, possess a narrative quality without the suggestions of the titles. Simply the expressions of his human subjects juxtaposed against or within the natural panoramas he captures are quite fantastic. A sense of wonder and emotion are imparted from each piece. All 24 images (black and white, color, collage, montage) exhibited are technically and consistently pristine and crisp. Through Feb. 22, 2004; 317-353-2662. -Mary Lee Pappas

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

"The Portfolio Club: Then and Now" - Bona Thompson Center - Jan. 7, 2004 - 3 stars

The Neo-Classical Revival building that is the Bona Thompson Center, once Butler University's library and now a centerpiece to a quiet neighborhood, was renovated by the Irvington Historical Society two years ago and serves as a gallery venue. One of the state's oldest arts organizations, founded in 1890 by Mrs. Mary Steele (TCs first wife), many Portfolio Club members resided in Irvington close to the BT Center. Among the pieces on view in the exhibit are works by William Forsyth, Clifton Wheeler and Constance Forsyth belonging to the Irvington Historical Society; Wayman Adams' portrait of Forsyth, Simon Baus' portrait of Hilton U. Brown and a portrait of Kurt Vonnegut Sr. by Clifton Wheeler belonging to the Portfolio Club; TC. Steele's portrait of Bona Thompson, on loan from Butler University's Fairview Campus. Two slightly cartoonish mural pieces by Clifton Wheeler, extracted from the Propyleum during their renovations years ago, are also on view. Once hung above a fireplace in the basement of the Propyleum, a charming painting, "Portfolians in a Classical Landscape," of Baus, Forsyth and other notable Portfolians, had been set against the white painted back of "Woman in an Empty Landscape" also by Wheeler. Only when the first painting was pulled was it realized the second was there - a hidden painting now on view at the BT Center. While esteemed members of the past are exhibited in the North Gallery, contemporary efforts are exhibited in the South Gallery by the likes of Cynthia Blasingham and Mary Ann Davis. Through Jan. 11, 2004; 317-353-BONA. -Mary Lee Pappas

Susan Brewer "Up with the Blues: Rhythms of Color in Painting" - Stutz Gallery - Jan. 14, 2004 - 2 1/2 stars

The Stutz Art Gallery (established by Print Resources) is an angular hall, flanked with white exhibition walls that cut right through the Print Resources office space running southwest to northeast. It's an attractive, seductive niche with bright lights that accent every minute detail of the paintings on view. There is an apparent dry quality to the abstract acrylic on canvas pieces, like the super bright lights had overwhelmed the life out of the work. The warmth of colors seems strangled. Some pieces contain a horizon line element where color divides north and south and where geometric, decorative factors scatter across. Upon first glance, the work is dreamily color-filled and expansive with lots of blue. Closer inspection reveals a compositional order to most of the pieces that looks like temperate lobby art. "Dream the Dance" has a bit more punch, with warm yellows and greens saturating through whites. Pinks, assembled in smatterings of bar code-like lines here and there, jump from the space. As a whole, the exhibition is very attractive. The large-scale paintings hang well as a group and compliment the space. Through Jan. 30, 2004; 317-501-9337. -Mary Lee Pappas

Justin Bleep - Cath Inc. - Jan. 14, 2004 - 4 stars

Justin Bleep (his DJ name) is a super talented, comic-minded sequential artist. His penciled cells, about 8-inches-by-10 inches each, are matted in pale yellow with black frames clustered on the north wall of the neighborhood coffeehouse. His comic look has a street-styled angularity to it, a refined graffiti feel that has, not surprisingly, recently landed him national projects for the likes of Nerf and Hasbro Toys, Inc. Local ad agencies, you'd think, would be all over his stuff. Compositional strength and an overall unique look for this genre makes Bleep's work unlike anything else comparable in the city. Some of his drawn characters possess a certain monumentality to enforce the feeling of action while other diminutive figures fill the background, completing a story without words. The look is solid, but fluid and loose. Bleep's Web site,, is one of the best artist websites I have seen to date. It includes a forum with a " Diggin' Through the Crates" discussion board including topics in current comic issues, back issues and wanted issues. Bleep is setting a standard for cool and comics locally. Through January 2004; 317-251-2677. -Mary Lee Pappas

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

"Seussentennial" The Art of Dr. Seuss - A Restrospective Exhibit" - Masterpiece Gallery - Jan. 7, 2004- 3 stars

* Pictured - Two Horned Drouberhannis by Dr. Suess

In April/May of 2002 this venue highlighted Seuss - but not with this depth. A pseudo mini museum show minus any original
work, this is a comprehensive peek into Theodor Seuss Geisel's life and work. It's a seduction, a sales technique, albeit a pleasing, well-done one to get you in the doors to view the saleable limited edition works of Seuss. Oh, the things you can sell! And really, nothing is wrong with that. Touring the venues across the country that sell Dr. Seuss limited edition, licensed work, this exhibit gives prominence to his early cartoon work for ad campaigns and magazines. It's the interested public's opportunity to see early works they may never have the opportunity to become acquainted with otherwise. Whether he was contemplating his unemployment through a mini Seussically poetic novelette (with fluffy fanciful characters and rhyming words) or advertising Flit pesticide, the shrewd Seuss candor and pen is consistent throughout his life and work. William Dreyer, curator for this traveling show presented by the Chase Group, who has licensing rights to Dr. Seuss images, will speak at the gallery on Jan. 9, 2004, 6 p.m. Through Jan. 19, 2004; 317-845-9990. -Mary Lee Pappas

Thursday, January 01, 2004

Brian Busch