2010 Exhibitions

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February 5 - March 20, 2010
Records

Click here to see photos from the opening reception.

Athens, Georgia-based artist Kathryn Refi creates unique visual documentation of her daily experiences by dissecting her ritually performed actions and reconfiguring them into often-abstracted records. The presentation of her work mainly utilizes the media of painting and drawing, though Refi often uses technology to capture her initial information. Creating works that are exquisitely rendered and striking, these “products” of her actions are very much contingent on the process Refi defines to capture her data. Records, which presents several bodies of work including: “All Things Considered”, “Color Recordings” and “My Address Book”, is the most comprehensive exhibition of her work to date.

In her most recent body of work, All Things Considered, Refi created large drawings based upon the information she received from listing to National Public Radio’s (NPR) program of the same title during 2007. During each one hour episode, which covers global news, Refi noted all the geographical locations that were mentioned in each segment. Using small adhesive dots Refi then created her own global maps on paper with a marker for each mention of a particular location. Without adding in country boundaries a map of the world emerges. These maps beg the viewer to ask “Are all things really considered” as one can see the areas of the globe that are covered by this global news radio program.

Refi’s painting Color Recordings detail the dominant colors that she saw in her daily life during a one week period. Wearing a surveillance camera embedded in a hat for a week, the footage was then put into a customized computer program which organized the video recording into 729 distinct hues. Refi then established a minimum amount of color for inclusion in the paintings (.125 percent/day) and calculated how much of each color to paint. The resulting “abstract” works truly take on a different presence when the method of their creation is known.

The My Address Book series offers striking portraits of the important locations in Refi’s life: the addresses of her friends and relatives through the perspective of the satellite.  Exploiting technology for her initial images, Refi hand-painted the 43 locations in the series. The works remind the viewer that our understanding of location, and how to determine geographic place, is now often completely dependent on technology.

Frequently using technology to capture data which is the basis for her works, Kathryn Refi finds a way to put handcraft into all her creations, fashioning items that are as visually intriguing as they are thought-provoking. Realized with an autobiographical vision, these sophisticated records are a glimpse of our own everyday life, resonating with personal significance for all of us.

Show curated by Paula Katz.

Kathryn Refi has exhibited her work nationally including solo and group exhibitions at the Fugitive Art Center, Nashville Tennessee; Solomon Projects, Atlanta, Georgia; Mixed Greens, New York City; The Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston, South Carolina; University Galleries, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida; Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, Atlanta, Georgia; Fe Gallery, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, Refi received her MFA in 2002 from the University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia where she currently resides. She received her BFA from the Maryland College of Art, Baltimore, Maryland in 1997.

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April 2 - May 15, 2010
Seeing is Becoming

Seeing is Becoming brings together six artists who create objects that might be described as potential portraits. These works play with the ambiguity inherent in all images and treat visual perception as an interpretive act involving both memory and imagination.

The artists in Seeing is Becoming propose a conception of portraiture in which artist, subject and viewer occupy symmetrical, equal and interchangeable positions. They resist easy, fixed notions of identity and point to potential new ways of seeing and being.

The work in Seeing is Becoming does not aim at a single, correct interpretation, but rather examines the artist’s attempt to grapple with the problematic nature of reality. In the series Looking at Art, The Reception, Shizu Saldamando slyly reverses the position of the viewer and the subject. The subjects, the artist’s friends attending a gallery opening, are drawn in ballpoint pen on canvas. They gaze out expectantly, placing the viewer in the unusual position of the artwork. Louis Bickett’s carefully archived objects appear to be the collected personal effects of a presumably fictitious ‘Daddy.’ The objects and their labels suggest a complex and often contradictory narrative around their absent owner.

These artists introduce ideas, and to a certain degree they explain them, but they don’t tell us, not completely anyway, the problems to which those concepts are a response. These gaps are openings, allowing us as viewers to become co-conspirators with the artists.

The work in Seeing is Becoming does not aim at a single, correct interpretation, but rather examines the artist’s attempt to grapple with the problematic nature of reality. These artists introduce ideas, and to a certain degree they explain them, but they don’t tell us, not completely anyway, the problems to which those concepts are a response. These gaps are openings, allowing us as viewers to become co-conspirators with the artists.

Artists: Louis Bickett (Lexington, KY), Julie Orser (Los Angeles, CA), Letitia Quesenberry, (Louisville, KY) Chris Radtke (Louisville, KY) , Shizu Saldamando, (Los Angeles, CA) and Dmitry Strakovsky (Lexington, KY).

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June 4 - July 17, 2010
Evans Woollen: The Art of Architecture

The Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art (iMOCA) will open a photography exhibition focused on the six-decade career of one of Indianapolis’s most accomplished architects.  Evans Woollen: The Art of Architecture will open at 6 p.m. on June 4 in iMOCA’s gallery in the Murphy Art Center.

Woollen is an internationally recognized architect responsible for significant projects around the country.  However, Woollen had the most impact shaping the landscape of his native Indianapolis, with buildings ranging from progressively modern homes to notable local landmarks including Clowes Hall, the Minton-Capehart Federal Building and the recent expansion of the Indianapolis-Marion County Central Library.  The show, curated by Mary Ellen Gadski and iMOCA board members Brandon Judkins (Board President) and Tom Vriesman (Board Secretary), will feature photographs spanning Woollen’s entire career from world-renowned photographers including Balthazar Korab, Ezra Stoller, and Timothy Hursley – as well as the local talent of Wilbur Montgomery, Craig McCormick, and Serge Melki.

“From the beginning, iMOCA’s mission has been centered on connecting contemporary art with everyday life,” Judkins said. “Over the past six decades, Evans has created, and continues to create, work of true artistic expression that touches the daily lives of countless people in our city. By bringing images of his important work together in one space, people will hopefully walk away with a better sense of the impact Evans’s work has made on our daily routines and rituals.”

In addition to his architectural work, Woollen has spent a great deal of time developing his skill as a painter.  A collection of twelve of Woollen’s abstract paintings, many of which are being exhibited for the first time, will be on display upstairs in Mt. Comfort Gallery.

Evans Woollen: The Art of Architecture will run through July 24th with hours Thursday - Saturday 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. The exhibit is part of a series of events that will occur across the city focused on Woollen’s work. The Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA) will begin the events with a lecture by Woollen on June 3rd at 7 p.m. titled “To Build in Context.” Then, the day after iMOCA’s reception, Indiana Landmarks will offer a tour of six of Woollen’s early homes. The tour takes place on June 5th and runs from 1 – 6 p.m., with the tour headquarters at Butler University’s Clowes Hall.

About Evans Woollen
Woollen was born into a prominent Indianapolis family whose forbearers first settled here in the 1820′s. He attended high school at the prestigious Hotchkiss School (Lakeville, Connecticut), and then went on to study architecture at Yale. After graduating from Yale (1952), Woollen worked in the office of architectural and artistic giant Philip Johnson (Pritzker Prize winner and architect for such projects as the New York State Theater at Lincoln Center, Crystal Cathedral, and his seminal “Glass House”). After working for Johnson in Connecticut, Woollen returned to Indianapolis in 1955. He began his practice in Indianapolis with a flurry of modest, but progressive and modern residential projects. In 1963, Clowes Hall, designed by Woollen in collaboration with John Johansen, opened and proved to be a breakthrough in his career. In the decades that followed, Woollen, and his partners at Woollen Molzan & Partners, Inc., developed innovative libraries, churches, government building, and performing arts venues around the country. Woollen has now returned to residential work. His latest project, finished earlier this year, is a complex of three homes on densely wooded land in Carmel.

To read NUVO art critic Dan Grossman’s review, click here. Click here to see photos from the opening reception.

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August 6-21, 2010
The Private Collection of Ginger Gaylord

The Private Collection of Ginger Gaylord will bring to Indianapolis three of today’s top illustration based “pop surrealist” artists, Ken Garduno, Angie Mason, and Christopher Umana.

Ginger Gaylord is one of the pseudonyms a Chicago-based art collector uses when she purchases a piece of art. Gaylord prefers to use a pseudonym because she desires to keep the contents to her collection private. As she frequently says, “If people don’t know who you are or what you have, people won’t want to steal it.”

When offered to curate a show, Shauta Marsh contacted Gaylord looking for artists with an illustration base. “I find pop surrealism and lowbrow art  very appealing,” says Marsh. “It is accessible and has its fingers on the pulse of western pop culture. When art borrows from pop culture and combines it with illustration, it appeals to us the way cartoons and/or picture books did when we were children. But these artists create work that reflects what we’ve learned as adults and the problems of society, pair this with familiar images from our youth. Collectors are buying these pieces and we are beginning to see more of this kind of work in museums.”

The artists in this show are a few of the most recent artists Gaylord has collected with an illustration focus. iMOCA is pleased to offer Indianapolis patrons the opportunity to own the work of these artists.

About Ken Garduno: Ken Garduno graduated with honors from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California with a Bachelors of Arts degree in illustration. Since graduation, he has been working in Los Angeles as a freelance illustrator/fine artist. Ken’s work has been shown in numerous galleries internationally, and has done illustrations for various clients.  Some of these past clients include: The Penguin Group, LA Weekly, The Village Voice, The New York Times, Clandestine Industries, Pacific Sunwear, as well as design for the bands Fall Out Boy and As Tall As Lions.

About Angie Mason: Angie Mason grew up all over Northern New Jersey and spent time in Puerto Rico living on her grandfathers farm and also lived in Florida during her formative years. A chaotic disjointed upbringing helped form her visual imagination and sensibilities at an early age. She attended Parsons School of Design where she lived in New York City for a brief period. While at Parsons, she studied in both the fine arts and illustration departments.

Mason has been creating her inner world since a very young age developing the characters and telling the story of her life through paintings, drawings and sculpture. Exploring the twisted combination of opposites through the creation of slightly off characters using them as a way to paint truths about being human. Mason’s works are both horrific and humorous, yet speaks of what it means to be human. Her works are a visual examination and narrative of life in modern times as seen through her menagerie of creatures which act as mirrors for us when looking directly at ourselves is too frightening to do, giving us a glimpse of reality through a grotesque folk pop lens.

Angie Mason exhibits her work extensively throughout the United States as well as exhibiting her work internationally. Her grotesque folk pop sensibility has put her in the center of the new contemporary movement having her work collected and shown all over the world in such places at France, Germany, Japan, London, New York City and Los Angeles. She currently resides and works out of her home in Northern New Jersey, a spooky old colonial house that she shares with her husband and very bad kitty.

About Christopher Umana: Christopher Umana is an illustrator and native of Southern California who now resides in Northern Nevada. He earned his BFA in Illustration from the Art Center College of Design, in Pasadena, California. His work depicts everyday occurrences from the monumental to the mundane. Every moment in one’s life is a piece of a puzzle that should always call attention to itself regardless of its importance or impact. Everything we do has relevance and an effect on ourselves and those around us. Umana uses anthropomorphic figures as representations of the people he encounters everyday. He believes there is a connection between people, animals, and insects. He also uses flora and fauna in his work to represent the personality traits of people and how they react and adapt to their lives and surroundings.” His recent work focuses on personal topics such as family life and death in correlation with different cultural reactions and superstitions related to these subjects.

Umana has shown extensively across the United States and is in private collections worldwide with various shows scheduled at home and in Europe for next year. He has also done editorial and commercial illustration, most recently an album cover for the pioneer of breakcore music worldwide, Venetian Snares. He draws inspiration from the importance of drawing, and the emotional impact you can create through expressions. This is why Umana’s characters have a tightly “drawn” quality on top of the loose paint. This is his homage to the comic artists who influenced him growing up. It is also a tribute to the expressive and raw style he remembers from preschool finger painting.

The show took place at the Mt. Comfort Gallery.

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August 6 - September 18, 2010
PostSecret: Confessions on Life, Death, and God

The Indianapolis Museum of Contempory Art (iMOCA) will exhibit Frank Warren’s PostSecret: Confessions on Life, Death, and God. The opening reception is August 6, 6-11 p.m. at iMOCA, located inside the Murphy Art Center in Fountain Square. It will feature the original postcards Warren received during a community art project where people anonymously mail in their secrets.

The senders created a handmade piece of artwork on one side with the secret which ranged anywhere from, “I send birthday cakes to people on Death Row” to “I jerk off to other people’s Facebook photos.” Warren posts the images and confessions every Sunday on his website: www.postsecret.com.

“This project has shown me that art can be like a new tongue that allows us to speak and pray in ways that might otherwise be impossible,” says Warren. “And if we listen, we may come to understand that we are always on our spiritual journey—even when we feel most lost.”

The website receives more than 6,000,000 visitors per month. The popularity of the website led to several books of the postcards being published, all of which made the New York Times bestseller list. Most recently the book “PostSecret: Confessions on Life, Death, and God” (the namesake of the art exhibition) released in October 2009 hit #1 on the New York Times bestseller list.

Warren’s PostSecret project is also credited to “moving the cause of mental health forward” by the National Mental Health Association and raised over $200,000 for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.

iMOCA admission is free and made possible by The Efroymson Family Foundation, The Murphy Art Center, The Haddad Family Foundation, and The Nicholas H Noyes Jr. Memorial Foundation.

The exhibition was organized International Arts &Artists, Washington, D.C. in cooperation with Frank Warren.

Click here to see photos from the opening reception.

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October 1 – November 20, 2010
Neighborhood

Neighborhood brought together 6 Los Angeles-based artists who looked at the developed environment as a subject matter of investigation. In this group exhibition, the title “neighborhood” is used loosely, as it refers either to a specific place (sometimes the artist’s own neighborhood) or an abstract location (something that’s been imagined in the artist’s mind, or studied and accessed virally). Different art-making strategies, sometimes overlapping, are employed to create the final pieces. Not limited to one medium, Neighborhood features paintings, drawings and photography; the artists included are Jennifer Celio, Jennifer Lanski, Alia Malley, Nikko Mueller, Shelby Roberts and Devon Tsuno. The group show will run through November 20, 2010.

Jennifer Celio, who primarily works in graphite pencil on watercolor paper and wood panels, offers 5 meticulously rendered drawings that focus on aspects of the city that are often over-looked. With earlier works, Celio’s drawings are directly translated from her photographs of urban environments such as a street corner or the façade of a tract house. Although photography still acts as a starting point, Celio’s more recent drawings have evolved from the literal to the fantastical, now amalgamating selected elements from her collection of images and integrating them to make a single drawing. In Can’t See the Forest (2008), for instance, individual cell phone towers outfitted as fake pine trees from different locations throughout her surrounding neighborhoods are drawn together to create a fictitious forest. Here, the artificiality of our natural environment as well as our quest for it are questioned.

Jennifer Lanski’s American Dream examines the reality or fading possibility of the “American Dream” through the generally understood ideal that hard work can lead to home ownership. Here, the artist looks at this ideal on a national level and presents the viewer with a grid installation of 50 drawings, one drawing for each of the 50 states. Combing through real estate websites of every state, Lanski selects and downloads the image of each house that’s in the same city and zip code as a Target or Wal-Mart. Each drawing—measuring 14-by-12 inches and made of India ink and lightfast colored pencil on BFK Rives paper—depicts a single-family house with text below showing the asking price and the equivalent number of hours at the minimum wage that one would have to work in order to acquire the house in that location and time. By juxtaposing the asking price of a modest, single-family home with the number of hours of labor at minimum wage required to equal that value, the reasonableness of both the current minimum wage and the housing prices in a given area are brought into question. The serial nature of the work also invites comparisons between different geographical locations; the housing versus minimum wage metric can be further examined with respect to the desirability of the given locations.

Alia Malley presents the viewer with 3 archival pigment prints from her Southland series. This project represents Malley’s continued investigation of photography’s role in relation to its documentation of the environment. The artist frequently drives through the streets and along the highways of greater Los Angeles, seeking pockets of unchecked terrain that often reside unnoticed or completely ignored. In fallow sites such as an abandoned inner-city rail line or the grounds of a shuttered fraternity house, Malley attempts to forge a bridge between capturing the sense of place and also its beauty and loss within the environs. Her images exist in the space between the pastoral and the entropic, resembling a Hudson River School or a Dutch landscape painting from afar but with a darker narrative upon closer inspection.

Nikko Mueller works from aerial imagery and architectural plans to engage the developed terrain as abstraction and data. With each selected site, Mueller—primarily using Google Earth and physical maps—creates an acrylic painting that is a translation of such location. His works are meant to critique the templates of social values and desires; the painted pieces are like autopsies, revealing but also questioning the developers’ blueprints of intentions. Channel (2006), a dark painting measuring 38-by-33 inches, depicts an aerial view of a planned city block; the dominant structure on top, resembling a figure with both arms stretched out, is the largest church existing in Orange County, a right-wing, conservative suburb 60 miles outside of Los Angeles. Depicted from the aerial perspective, this alien-like structure and the black color palette throughout the work evoke an ominous quality, dwarfing the neighboring residents.

Shelby Roberts makes photographic works about the ironies and paradoxes of the landscape; his current work is a series of black-and-white photographic panoramas of built environments in the landscape that are failing the ambition that conceived them. Without the use of a tripod, each location is photographed digitally, taking multiple overlapping frames. The final panorama offers a greater sense of place than is possible from a standard frame, linking the built environment to the land beneath it and allowing the gaze to follow the horizon. Parker (2008), an archival pigment print on Hahnemühle paper measuring 24-by-48 in., depicts an abandoned drive-in movie theater decaying in the arid landscape; the unused screen has fallen apart, a metaphor for the failure of the American Dream in a town once destined for prosperity. In Pioneertown (2008), a hip and modernist house, famously designed to showcase uninterrupted glass walls and open floor plan, sits amidst the serene desertscape. Outfitted with the most up-to-date amenities, this structure houses the inhabitants in a zoo-like vitrine, where the wildlife on the outside looking in ironically becomes the voyeur.

Devon Tsuno often traverses the LA neighborhoods on his fixed gear bike at night, photographing the contrapuntal elements and strange phenomena within the urban grid. Back at his studio, Tsuno works from such photographs and oftentimes combines them to create source images; and from them, he makes works on paper that obfuscate not only the origin of the locales, but also the line between abstraction and representation. His paintings are made of layers upon layers of spray paint and acrylic paint, using psychedelic colors reminiscent of those existing and seen only at night. As a whole, his pieces create a non-linear narrative that is defined not by a specific place or time.

Panel discussion with artists Alia Malley, Nikko Mueller, Shelby Roberts and Devon Tsuno: Saturday October 2, 11 a.m. -12:10 p.m.

NUVO gives the show 4 stars.Click here to see photos from the opening reception.