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

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