Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Kawabata and Flory - Photography Gallery - July 28, 2004 - 2 stars

Both artists present artistic endeavors in digital technology. And where better to present works executed in this new media than the Photography Gallery. Eight drab black/white small works by Kawabata line the east wall of this tiny space. Dreary images that border on the sublime, they seem to probe forms as if to convince that they are of some crucial importance not unlike so many imaginary artists' world themes seen often in contemporary art. Flory combines paint and digital media in her blocky images, of which there are five same images on view. To understand this work is to understand how digital "new" media fits into the development and adaptation of art and the new materials by which artists express themselves and their ideas. As far as these two artists go, their explorations into this realm are pretty safe - with mediocre results. Through July 31, 2004; 423-9237. –Mary Lee Pappas

Flava Fresh - LAMP - July 28, 2004 - 2 1/2 stars

Works by local multicultural visual artists line the halls of the Chatham Centre, or annex of LAMP Fine Art Gallery. Many familiar names are in the show, like Anthony Radford, who exhibits "Keep It Real." A piece we've seen many time before, and for good reason, it makes a cultural, political, social, emotional statement. Black and white clippings of the likes of Malcolm X to Madame Walker are collaged in a white frame with reminders (like assemblaged chain) of our country's unique African-American cultural evolution. It iconically says this is what you have overcome to become who you are today. "Looking," an oil on canvas by Bruce Armstrong of a man, is exceptionally beautiful and refined in its minimalist execution and earthy green color palette. D. Delreverda-Jennings' sculptures are the real stand-out in this group show, which, like so many group shows, wanes here and there. Her mixed media sculptures like "Eve, Earth, Adam" are harmoniously easy on the eyes. Though the blocky structures are tinged with bronze and copper colors, the weightiness is lifted by greens, blues and lavenders that set those tones off. Through July 31, 2004; 317-624-9803. -Mary Lee Pappas

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Quincy Owens and Daniel Evans - Thai One On Restaurant - July 14, 2004 - 3 stars

"is two," a large diptych hanging in the bar area of this restaurant, is the neo-abstract route Owens should be traveling on. It's his best work to date. Though not technically or truly similar, it reminded me of David Hockney's "The Splash" in both choices of blue, orange and white coloring, and action. The image resonated with me as though it was a zoom of this famous intensified burst, albeit by a much different hand. It shines even brighter when contrasted against his stenciled letter block paintings spelling the likes of "spicy" that have a gift shop air about hem and don't do his deserving pieces any favor in their company. Other works from the "Divergent Series" fail to pack a textured color field punch along side older works with decidedly rich coloration and a high varnish shine. The stagnant trio of paintings "sons I," "sons II" and "sons III" also look unemotionally produced in comparison and lack the intensity of radiance that earlier works possess. Daniel Evans' photographs are technically keen and really pretty perfect manipulations of light and tools of the trade. Lyrical and eloquent, each still, whether color or black and white, holds quality and a consistent aesthetic in common. Through July 25, 2004; 317-202-0193. –Mary Lee Pappas

"Objects of Desire: Cars and Clothes of the Jazz Age" - Indiana State Museum - July 14, 2004 - 3 stars

Indiana's luxury autos from the '20s and '30s are presented as the works of art that they are in this appropriately straightforward display. Label text is minimal, but poignantly gives the scope of context for the cars and the clothes that accompany the single stellar examples of famous Indiana manufactured models: Stutz, McFarian, Marmon, Studebaker (from the Henry Ford Museum) and the Duesenberg. When a typical car price was $600 and under, the Duesenberg, a favorite of the Hollywood set, fetched $15,000. A short film of black and white stills, set to old jazz recordings, shows Gary Cooper next to his. The exhibit is such that you can really stand back and appreciate the distinguishing design hallmarks of each maker. But the clothes are most excellent as well (particularly because they hail from a pre-synthetic era), are natural and have body. Clothes from the time were typically pretty and made better by people who knew how to cut fabric and not just chop them up in a factory for mass production. All the gowns are amazingly elegant because they are so plainly cut, mostly on the bias. They predate any usage of big designer names and any other hierarchical pretensions because all clothes were basically made well. Actually, if you set aside cut and fabric, many of them aren't too different from dresses today with the exception of necklines and sleeves, which change with trends. Most elegant of all is a "Medieval" hand-dyed and stenciled deep green, silk velvet, plain, long-sleeve dress. It certainly should squash anyone's cartoon stereotype of what costuming during a time of mega mobsters like Dillinger and Capone, prohibition, Hollywood high life and all that comes with jazz was like. While the raccoon full-length coat on display was an OK example, the thick 1935 Brooks Brothers tuxedo was quite nice. The only thing better today is that synthetic blends offer lighter fabrics for men's wear. This exhibit space is not fussy and is such that you can practically envision yourself in the scenarios created for each car. Through Oct. 3, 2004; 317-232-1637. -Mary Lee Pappas