2011 Exhibitions

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December 3, 2010 – January 15, 2011
Informal Relations

Informal Relations: Contemporary works on paper curator Scott Grow selected 32 artists from the United States, Germany, Spain and Japan to focus on the diversity of practices within painting and abstraction today.

The exhibition’s title refers to kind the “informal relations” artists have with one another, their predecessors, with the modernist tradition, the future, and even with their own work. While works on paper may stand as finished works, they are also often places for exploration, thinking, planning, taking chances, and failure.

The show explores the challenges of abstract art. Since it typically refuses expected representation, language and absolute interpretation, it requires the viewer’s engagement and participation. Abstraction is not a singular school or style, the term itself is not necessarily helpful in identifying the qualities or concepts of the art object. Abstract artists often have shared and conflicting objectives for the art they make.

In response to these challenges with their genre of art, each artist in Informal Relations presents a definition of abstract painting. The exhibition explores the similarities, differences, and connections between these artists, their dialog with abstraction’s history, and various directions forward for abstraction.

Participating artists include: Patrick Alt, Chris Ashley, Patrick Berran, Kadar Brock, Matthew Deleget, Laura Fayer, Keltie Ferris, Patrick Michael Fitzgerald, Connie Goldman, Brent Hallard, Rachel Hayes, Jeffrey Cortland Jones, Michael Just, Matthew Langley, Jim Lee, Rossana Martinez, Rob Nadeau, Melissa Oresky, Paul Pagk, Danielle Riede, Maximilian Rödel, Eric Sall, Susan Scott, Gabriel J. Shuldiner, Jessica Snow, Henning Straßburger, Garth Weiser, Wendy White, Paige Williams, Douglas Witmer, Molly Zuckerman-Hartung and John Zurier.

Click here to see photos from the opening reception.

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February 4 - March 19, 2011
Reflections of Sea and Light

Christos Koutsouras: Reflections of Sea and Light, an evocative exhibition, included seven new paintings, an installation, and a retrospective of Koutsouras’s work. In addition, Editions Limited, Big Car and iMOCA partnered on a one-night show opening night in Big Car Gallery, featuring an additional 10 new paintings. The exhibitions are the result of his return to the United States and feeling “home” for the first time in Portland, Oregon.

At the heart of the exhibition is his desire to return to the sea. Koutsouras spent his childhood diving, sketching and reading about the ocean. He left his home on the island of Samos when he was 17 and became an ocean navigator. When he was 25, he gave up sailing to study art. In 1996, he came to New York where he met the mother of two of his children, an Indianapolis native. He and his then wife moved to Indianapolis in 1998 where he had studios at the Murphy Art Center and Harrison Center of Arts. “I ripened as an artist in Indianapolis.” says Koutsouras. He left Indianapolis in 2005 to move to Seattle.

After a two-year plus break from painting, Koutsouras found the studio in Astoria, Oregon he coins “Big Red” and began painting again. Right on the Pacific Ocean, the space rocks with the waves and howls during storms. “It’s immediate it touches your skin when you hear the sound, and the wind goes through the cracks. You can’t be depressed. You are there dealing with it, transforming it into a drawing or painting,” he said.

Through a wooden installation in iMOCA, he’ll share with Indianapolis the spirit of studio — complete with sounds captured there during a storm. Koutsouras hopes the Indianapolis audience will find refuge in his work the way he has, connecting to each piece the sense of place and security he feels in the studio.

“When I found my studio, I finally felt at home in America. After 16 years I don’t have any thoughts of going to Europe. I used to carry my passport always on the run,” he said. “Not anymore. I hope the pieces will resonate on the same level they do to me.”

He captures his newfound solace by focusing on the color grey and with a new approach to creating the work. “It came piece by piece. Usually I work on two to three pieces at a time. But for this show, each piece is a progression of the one before, one is referring to the other whether it is from the line or the progressive wave,” he said.

And he starts each piece thinking of the color grey. “There is always something in the shade of grey,” says Koutsouras. “Once you get the grey right you can go everywhere with it.”

Read NUVO art critic, Dan Grossman’s review here.

NUVO coverage of Koutsouras here.

Click here to see pictures from the opening reception.

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April 1 – May 14, 2011
Inner City Inspirations

Inner City Inspirations: An Artist’s Evolution in Clay features the work of Malcolm Mobutu Smith. Curated by Mark Ruschman, the exhibition provides an in-depth visual explanation of how Smith’s roots in the hip-hop and graffiti worlds inspired and informed his development as an educator and artist. The show will include a full-scale graffiti mural in collaboration with local graffiti writers FAB Crew, setting a visual stage for a broad sampling of three-dimensional ceramic vessels and sculptures, traversing his career as a contemporary ceramic artist.

Community partnerships include IPS School #2, Center for Inquiry grade school, located 725 N. New Jersey Street in downtown Indianapolis. Working with the art teacher, Ms. Daphne Draa, and the school’s 5th and 6th grade art club, Smith enlisted the students in the creation of the graffiti mural which will be included in the exhibition.

Malcolm Mobutu Smith is associate professor of Ceramic Art at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. He earned his MFA degree from the New York College of ceramics at Alfred University in 1996. As an undergraduate, he studied at both the Kansas City Art Institute and Penn State University receiving his BFA in ceramics in 1994.

This exhibition was made possible with the generous support of Indiana University: Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Office of the Provost, School of education, Indiana University Foundation and Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs, AMACO/Brent (American Art Clay Co.), The Efroymson Family Fund, HotBed Creative, Christel DeHaan Family Foundation and Murphy Art Center L.L.C.

Click here to see the video documenting the creation of the mural.

Click this link to read NUVO’s coverage of Smith.

Click this link to see NUVO critic Dan Grossman’s review of the show.

Click here to see pictures from the opening reception.

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June 3 - July 16, 2011
My Son The Future Time Traveler

Cincinnati based artist Ryan Mulligan’s work has always revolved around magical thinking. His show My Son The Future Time Traveler opening at iMOCA June 3rd is no exception. A 30 foot wall mural and “TV drawings” will take over the front gallery. In the back gallery of iMOCA, a time machine built for Mulligan’s 5 month old son, Hobbs.

The time machine deals with his new role of being a father and will feature collections related to the idea that one day his son will be a time traveler.

“These shelves of objects and clusters of paintings are my way of dealing with the fear that I can’t protect this little guy,” said Mulligan. “That I can’t accurately communicate with him. And that I’m not supposed to be his best friend; I’m supposed to take care of him.”

Most of Mulligan’s work is autobiographical. He’s kept the themes and obsessions that previously drove his work; becoming a parent has added weight to those obsessions. It gives Mulligan’s new body of work both intensity and lightheartedness.

Before his own fatherhood, his work revolved around his father. In 1985 when Mulligan was four years old his father was hit by a drunk driver.

“It scrambled his brains, says Mulligan. “Of course I didn’t really know him before that but everyone said he was different.”

His dad deteriorated as the years went by. In 1990 when Mulligan was in high school, his father beat up his mother. Mulligan’s anger at his father led to him create artwork.

“I spent the night writing on this display board then realized people shouldn’t read it so I tried to cover it up with house paint and then by beating it to a pulp. I realized it was art and I wanted to do it forever.”

By 2006 his father was in assisted living.

“All my work was all about figuring out how to deal with this. In college the anger stopped and turned into nuanced conversation about what it means to be a man. I figured out, the less story I told directly, the more universal it became.”

In 2008 his father died. Mulligan continued to use his art to cope with the loss. He dabbled in nearly every medium of art, from painting, to video, to performance. But found he was soon was successful in dealing with his father’s death. It had a negative effect on his drive to create work.

“I had to realize that once the anger was gone, I could still make work. I don’t think enough people are honest about that in their work. Something motivates us, and it is almost always an internal motivator.”

Ryan Mulligan’s show, My Son Future Time Traveler ,will be up at iMOCA, 1043 Virginia Avenue, Indianapolis, In 46203, June 3-July 16 Monday-Thursday 11 a.m.-6 p.m. iMOCA will host an opening reception June 3rd 6-11 p.m.

About Mulligan
Born and raised in rural Virginia, Ryan Mulligan attended Virginia Commonwealth University for his MFA and is now Assistant Professor of Art for the University of Cincinnati. He currently is the coordinator of the Art Foundations Program, and teaches students to continually explore their own lives as source material, and maintain a ceaselessly productive studio practice.

This exhibition is sponsored by The Efroymson Family Fund, the Christel DeHaan Family Foundation, Murphy Art Center L.L.C., Penrod Foundation, and HotBed Creative.

Click here to see pictures from the opening.

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August 5 – September 17, 2011
Animalcules

Brian James Priest’s exhibit Animalcules centers on human beings as both collectors and collections, the exhibit will feature large-scale prints, sound and floor installations, and live performance art.

Priest’s exhibition takes its name from Anton van Leeuwenhoek, inventor of the microscope and discoverer of microorganisms. Leeuwenhoek looked at an ordinary drop of pond water and discovered the beauty and monstrous face of the microscopic world. He “found Eden in every drop of water”, so the world instantly became more dense, more wonderful, and more terrifying.

“We are a collection of experience as well as ecology. I am both marveled and frightened by the reality of being mostly bacteria cells (9 to 1 actually),” says Priest. “Essentially, by harboring 4 billion organisms we are each walking planets. This implies the possibilities of agendas unbeknownst to our scale of day to day survival.”

His piece Body Zoo is a tiny zoological garden of these organisms contained within a sub dermal silicon structure implant in his arm, is inspired by this.

Priest seeks to draw connections between our very distant pasts and our distant futures. “We have but only a short tenure of these molecules,” says Priest. “We eventually offer them back to the universe.”

Sand is the dominant material within this show. With Grains, he makes contoured forms of individually collected grains of sand. Within that established border he invents bizarre landscapes for the surface. “These grains were collected by me over the last 6 months,” says Priest.

Wind and Life works with one single grain of sand from the Bodele depression near Lake Chad in Africa, one of the world’s driest spaces. By the combined effort of dust storms and the Bodele low level jet stream this specific region of the world, that contains little life, produces more than half the dust needed for fertilizing the Amazon rainforest. “While these grains act as transports of life, I use that as a way to discuss them as transports of imagination,” says Priest. “Little single units of inspiration of form.”

In all, Priest’s work asks for different levels of belief. “Artists tell stories; we convince you that a chunk of material is something else, that it stands for something else, that it represents something bigger and more profound. I want people to question everything, not just my creations, but the world around them.”

Brian James Priest received his BFA from Herron School of Art and Design in 2004 and his MFA from Washington University in St. Louis in 2007. He is currently a visiting lecturer at California Polytechnic State University where he instructs sculpture, intermedia, and art theory. Other professional activities have included operating the Biscuits and Gravy Gallery and working in various set design and fabrication shops. He has recently had exhibitions at Midwest Museum of Art, Kemper Museum of Art, and White Flag Project Space and is a 2008 Efroymson Fellow.

This exhibition is sponsored by:
The Efroymson Family Fund, Hotbed Creative, the Christel DeHaan Family Foundation, Murphy Art Center L.L.C., and The Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation.

Click here to see images from the opening.

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October 7 – November 19, 2011
Expedition Bogotá-Indianapolis

Columbian artist Alberto Baraya and Herron School of Art and Design professor Danielle Riede are bringing Expedition Bogotá-Indianapolis to iMOCA, 1043 Virginia Avenue, Indianapolis, IN on October 7. Expedition Bogotá-Indianapolis is a collaborative exhibition that explores the migration of peoples, ideas and products. Riede met Baraya outside of a trinket shop in Venice in 2009. Baraya was looking for glass flowers to put in an installation he was making for the Latin American Pavilion at the 53rd Venice Biennial. In their conversation, they realized that both collected materials and then organized them into installations as part of their art practice.

In 2010, Riede received an IUPUI Arts and Humanities internal grant to work with Baraya on the exhibition and the two started collaborating through e-mail and then in person when Baraya came to Indianapolis to work with Riede. The exhibit will run through November 19. The museum is open Thursday-Saturday 11 a.m.-6 p.m. An opening night reception will be held Friday, October 7, 6-11 p.m.

Baraya is fascinated by the history of European colonialism in the Americas and its ramifications today. He uses eighteenth century scientific methods to call Western authority and domination into question. For Expedition Bogotá-Indianapolis, Riede and Baraya are making a taxonomical inventory of artificial plants they found on walks and in second-hand stores, and others which were donated to the project. The project is very much an extension of Baraya’s expedition series in South America. Much of the collection of fake flora will be presented at iMOCA as if it were in a natural history museum.

Additionally, Baraya will introduce some of the artificial plant life to new locations in Indiana and the pair will photograph this process, pointing to the idea that any traveler can also have an influence on the landscape and how he or she chooses to document it. As an extension of Riede’s typical working methods, she is dissecting some of the fake plants and reorganizing them to make new enigmatic forms. “I have been thinking about the human manipulation of landscape and story telling while making these forms,” says Riede. Her interests in this project include raising awareness of the history of the development of the Americas and the state of Indiana, encouraging dialog about responsible development and protecting our natural resources and parks, and bringing international perspective and art talent to Indianapolis.

“In the 1600s, Indiana was lush. Approximately 85% of it was covered with dense forests of giant hardwoods and the Kanawakee Marsh spotted the state with nearly two million acres of wetlands,” says Riede.In the end the project is also a catalog of kitschy fake flowers and plants.

“I have to admit, that I think a lot of them are beautiful and quite convincing replicas of the real plants they substitute.”

All our exhibitions are made possible through the support of The Efroymson Family Fund, the Christel DeHaan Family Foundation, the Indiana Arts Commission, Penrod Foundation, and HotBed Creative.

Danielle Riede is a mother, an artist and a teacher. She has been an Assistant Professor at Herron School of Art and Design – IUPUI since the fall of 2008. After completing her Bachelor Degree in Art and Art History at the University of Virginia, she lived in Italy for four years as an au pair and then an editor and translator for a film company translating films into 32 different languages for major Hollywood Film Houses and the Venice and Turin Film Festivals. While working for this company, she also attended the figure drawing school at the Accedemia di Belle Arti di Firenze. In 2003, she began studying with Daniel Buren at The Art Academy of Düsseldorf in Germany, as well as with Richard Roth and Mark Harris at Virginia Commonwealth University. In 2005, she earned a Masters of Fine Arts Degree from Virginia Commonwealth University. Riede has exhibited extensively at museums and galleries in Germany, France, Greece, Mexico and the United States. Some of the venues include the Benaki Museum in Athens, Greece and Stux Gallery in New York.

Alberto Baraya (Colombia) has worked on Herbarium of Artificial Plants for a long time; it is a work in progress which reformulates the scientific journeys of the XVIII and XIX centuries. At the 53rd Venice Biennale, Baraya recreated an Expedition to Venice.

Click here to see photos from the opening.

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November 4 – December 10, 2011
Bodies of Waters

Part of the Spirit & Place Festival

Shauta Marsh, curator of “Bodies of Waters” asked 17 artists to create original works inspired by the films of John Waters. She selected a mixture of local artists and internationally known pop surrealists for the exhibit.

It wasn’t difficult to garner interest in this project. Most people can connect to a John Waters character. He’s always had his finger on the pulse of humanity, shone a spotlight on its darkness and laced it all with comedy. This is how he became an icon and one of the best-loved filmmakers of our time. Waters truly understands the underdog and the seemingly unloveable.

What makes his messages stick, however, are the fims’ actors and the bodies they inhabit. Waters made drag culture mainstream by giving us Divine. He cast former adult star Traci Lords as well as women like Ricki Lake who battled weight problems. Their personal stories melded perfectly into the roles Waters selected for them. Just as he challenged his actors, he challenges us to consider what a body means and how important it is.

The artists featured are Elizabeth McGrath, Glenn Barr, Amy Casey, Paul Chatem, Ken Garduno, Lisa Petrucci,Aunia Kahn, Yumiko Kayukwaw, Floyd Jaquay, Shaunna Peterson, Casey Roberts, Mab Graves, Philip Campbell, Kristen Ferrell, Jacqueline Pichardo,Angie Mason, and Danielle de Picciotto.

Films referenced in this exhibit: Cry-Baby, Pink Flamingos, Cecil B. Demented, Polyester, A Dirty Shame and Desperate Living.

Made possible through a partnership of Big Car and iMOCA. Click here to see images from John Waters appearance and exhibit.