Wednesday, August 25, 2004

"Artist Trading Cards: An Interactive Experience" - Indianapolis Artsgarden - Aug. 25, 2004 - 4 stars

Aug. 21, 2004. Artist trading cards were initiated in 1997 by Zurich artist Stirnemann. Basically, they are baseball card-sized (2.5-inch-by-3.5-inch), 2D canvases of paper that artists and non-artists create and then trade. There is no money or sales involved in the social exchange of cards, which is essentially performance art. At this event, initiated by local artist John Essex II, people were encouraged to create card works of art, view his exhibit of cards from artists around the globe, including students at the Girls School where he teaches, and be participants in this performance. This idea is not only cool, but really works to engage people in the arts via tiny canvases and familiar tools (markers, magazine clippings, colored pencils, etc.) that are psychologically freeing. It was and is successful. With many random passers-by indulging in the creation and exchange of these cards it is hoped that we'll see more Artist Trading Card events in the city and on a regular basis. Contact John Essex II at jessex2@emaii.com. Phone: 317-631-3301. -Mary Lee Pappas

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Patricia Cole - Indianapolis Art Center - Aug. 18, 2004 - 3 stars

View these works only after reading Cole's very personal artist statement. It will give you a reference point for her sincerity and sense of emotional exploration that plays out as you walk down the west hall of the facility where her 29 works of meditative doodling hang. All the pieces are ballpoint on Bristol paper that further lends the feeling of meditative doodling where formality really does take the wayside of purpose in process. Contemplative renderings where tangible subjects phase in and out of mystical checkered realms, the works are a series of varied tones executed in simple crosshatch. Cyclical intertwining doodles appear like abstracted murmurs. They are like seismography of the soul interpreting every tremble or passionate upheaval that comes with the psychological aftermath of war. Through Aug. 29, 2004; 317-255-2464. –Mary Lee Pappas

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Kay Grimm "The Revival of the IV Apocalyptic Horses: Evolutionary Revelations, install #1 " - LAMP - Aug. 11, 2004 - 3 1/2 stars

Grimm is a very thoughtful artist whose work reflects her desire to emotionally investigate either her identity or her community. Her latest installation is, simply put, about making our community (local/global) a better place to live. Not a mind-bender (to her credit) that is expressed successfully through overlapping Christian/American Indian spiritual symbology - none of which is executed in a bastardization that would be an offense to anyone subscribing to those spiritual sects because her approach is intelligent and knowing. Toy hobbyhorses, representing the four horses of Revelations, are the messengers of gloom and doom and given the colors of the four directions (red, white, black and pale) which represent the earth and the cycle of life. In this case that life cycle is peace to war and death. The toy horses are on posts anchored to bowling balls (life ain't no game?) that literally show how we accept life as a merry-go-round. Grimm begs the question: "Can evil transcend personal ego and view how our choices reflect and impact society on a larger scale?" Ultimately, this piece, composed of many separate installation vignettes including "Confession Booth Drama" and "Herd Mentality" is about living life to the fullest. My only disappointment is that this piece deserves a larger setting and more dramatic lighting than the modest space it is contained within. That said, more galleries should be opening up their spaces (and their brains) to quality installations such as this. Through Sept. 4, 2004. 317-624-9803. – Mary Lee Pappas

Leah S. Traugott, Lois Davis, and Brouwer: "Triple Treat" - Hoosier Salon - Aug. 11, 2004 - 3 1/2 stars

Leah S. Traugott, Lois Davis, and Brouwer show their works together in this show that highlights the best of their talents. Davis' work is presented with more care here in part because of the choice to exhibit her lovely pen and ink figure study sketches. They possess a certain sophistication and ease that isn't totally realized in her paintings. "Nude," in particular, a tea stain color washed pastel and ink drawing of a model has the swift and knowing minimal movement of an Asian painting. It is a piece that demonstrates the breadth of her talent as a fine artist. Brouwer's wet landscape watercolors allow her applied dark colors to muddy into each other, effectively heavy with atmosphere. The result is a reality as if remembered in a foggy dream or memory. "A Sense of Place," aptly titled, depicts a distant barn through a haze of army green and deep teal where pink and yellow tinged light bounces off a silo. Traugott's sweet watercolors of fresh cut garden flowers in random cupboard pitchers offer more than meets the eye. Though the compositional arrangements in many pieces are somewhat uninteresting, there is skill that usurps the safe arrangements. Through Aug. 28, 2004. 317-253-5340. -Mary Lee Pappas

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

"Get the Vote Out" - Stutz Gallery - Aug. 4, 2004 - 3 stars

A campaign by the American Institution of Graphic Arts to encourage voter turnout, "Get Out the Vote" is an exhibition of local and national poster competition entries. Only one image, the local competition winner entry by Terry Howe, really spoke to me as a graphic should. No other entry grabbed my attention or emotions with color or a strong pictorial scene and message as this one did. "For 80 years, an average of just over 50% of US residents have turned out to vote in presidential elections," the top of his poster reads. Red bar graphs (showing the stats over the last eighty years) form stripes that only go half way up a row of American flags. The literal interpretation of the stats in this design are more poignant because this one symbol of our freedoms isn't complete and in essence isn't realized by American citizens. It's a reminder that every vote does count and that everyone should exercise this freedom. All of the entries can be viewed at www.aiga.org/content.cfm/getoutthevote. Voter registration applications are available at the Stutz gallery. Through Aug. 20, 2004. 317-926-2980. – Mary Lee Pappas

"After Midnight" - The Bungalow - Aug. 4, 2004 - 1 1/2 stars

At first, the collected paintings looked like 20-inch by 24-inch Shrinky Dink stained glass because of their stucco appearance. The surfaces are more like textured truckbed lining than genuine impasto. They adhere to staying within the lines with draftsman-like precision and flat colors. Metal silver frames set this generic rigidity off. Compass composed circles and lines zigzag across the compositions, lacking depth and detail. Executed methodically with two layers of oil paint, the results look like decoratively finished house paint. Through Aug. 31, 2004. 317-251-2782, vvww.skoalar.com. - Mary Lee Pappas