Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Open House - Bear Creek Gallery - Nov. 24, 2004 - 3 1/2 stars

Nov. 20-21, 2004. An American Indian-owned store specializing in American Indian art and jewelry, Western home furnishings and gifts, Bear Creek Gallery celebrated the onslaught of the holiday shopping season with guest artists, food and new artful merchandise last weekend. Navajo silversmith Gerald Begay was on hand offering up his elegant silver butterfly earrings and slide pendants delicately inlaid with semiprecious stones, raw chunky specimens of which he had on hand. The designs he imagined in his jewelry are uniquely new and modern while still being distinguishably Navajo. This point particularly hit home among the enormity of handmade American Indian jewelry available, the prices of which are bargains at best when compared to lesser quality, overpriced, replica or silver import jewelry sold ad nauseam at local boutiques. It can't be forgotten that metalsmithing jewelry is an art-form definitely not learned overnight. Sure, BC sells pottery, art, fetishes and jewelry all year long, but the girth and diversity of handmade stock at this holiday time is a particular delight for those that fancy anything American Indian. 317-580-0882. -Mary Lee Pappas

Aloysius - Urban Element Restaurant - Nov. 24, 2004 - 3 stars

Murph Aloysius Kissel, describes his acrylic-based paintings on canvas and salvage as "colorful, primitive abstractions," which doesn't do his work justice. For starters, "primitive," in terms of art history (not excluding cultural objects of the Oceanic, African, etc. communities, children's artwork, outsider art or any art movement) is simply an unacceptable descriptor as it has too many negative (unsophisticated, uncivilized) connotations. There are too many other words to use in its place. Overt symbolism trickles through the sherbet-hued solid backdrops for his literal, abstracted scenes on UE's north wall. Two paintings of St. George and the Dragon, an Orthodox Christian image that dates to Roman Egypt, are stripped of any spiritual perspective (literally and figuratively) and interpreted successfully into an aggressive surrealist moment. The minimal iconic language gracefully subsists void of George (here a rigid, angular, stick figure) the Martyr's victory crown, Roman armor, horse and metaphoric layers. The weightless drama is depicted in a graphic, flat style that suggests the distortion of Miro with angular plasticity. Aloysius' work can be seen regularly at LAMP Gallery ( The naiive at best work of Herron grad Brett Jones hangs on UE's east wall in sharp and homely contrast, compliments of, who should be discriminating about what they tout as fine art to Indianapolis. Through November, 2004; 317-331-U82. -Mary Lee Pappas

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Mihai Micu - boxx fine art - Nov. 17, 2004 - 3 1/2 stars

* Pictured - "Three Cupids" or "Flying Bunnies" by Mihai Micu.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

"These are a Few of Our Favorite Things" - Editions Limited Gallery - Nov. 3, 2004 - 3 1/2 stars

I find it admirably ballsy of the tenured EL crew to pick their favorite pieces by their represented artists without any other premise, particularly when other local arts entities do so flagrantly as if no one is catching on. And while curators are employed to be objective keepers of their designated collections and avoid favoritism, in this setting where associates' appreciation of the work fuels sales (and artists' livelihoods) it's most appropriate. Why not? It's simple. When you love the work and can speak passionately about it, you can sell it. Their personal tastes and daily intimate interactions with the works are bound to lead to some emotional slant. EL’s judgement to openly disclose their favorites is certainly a lovely stunner (very considerately arrangeo) that other organizations that lack discipline along these lines should observe. Oh, and every piece of color-filled art on hand could hold its own (like the Hal Davis piece) against anything anywhere locally. Go see for yourself. Through Nov. 5, 2004; 317-466-9940. –Mary Lee Pappas