The Indianapolis Art Center has put together the work of two artists in a quirky combination of near-opposites. Joe Vondersaar, Indianapolis-based photographer, observes nature and brings forward its paint and composition with his camera. Jean Paul Bourdier, California-based, also manipulates what he sees — but more literally. Bourdier calls it “framing artistic moments,” but in reality, he’s creating them. Nature is simply the canvas. Upon it, he adds pigments to what is already there — making an ice floe brilliant orange, for example, or flavoring a cadre of rocks in equally unlikely tones, then photographing them.
An untitled piece by Jean Paul Bourdier, currently on exhibit at The Indianapolis Art Center.
Photographers have tired out the opposing approaches, which are, add color via the camera with filters and the like, or doctor the digital images once on the computer. Bourdier’s way is to impose an aesthetic where it didn’t exist before. Vondersaar, on the other hand, invites one. He employs the tried and true method of black and white chemical process photography and with the frame of his lens he eyes what is already there and moves it into focus for the viewer. What he brings us is at once ethereal and simple. Without his camera to see it for us, we would have likely missed the shape of the tree against a sloping hillside or the casual flow of the White River. The connection between the artists is one of subject matter, and yet each artist sees it differently. Bourdier invites us to step back and take in his created spaces from an objective distance, while Vondersaar invites us in to what’s already there. Jean Paul Bourdier and Joe Vondersaar: New Photographs is on view alongside To the Pavement, the aesthetically intriguing, dark but deeply symbolic images of Christopher Olszewski, who is of Native American heritage. All three exhibits are up through Oct. 19 at the Indianapolis Art Center, 820 E. 67th St., 255-2464, www.indplsartcenter.org.
A few good stones
The LAMP Gallery in Chatham Arch, set up as a front to artists’ studios housed in a low-slung, industrial-colored building near the Mass. Ave. arts district, is growing at equal pace to the surrounding retail and residential development. The growth at LAMP, though, is only visible from inside its walls. In other words, less is more. In its most recent exhibition, just three artists are presented in a tightly curated offering of Musical Influences, ceramic and bronze wall sculptures by Brad Holmes, and Nothing at All, oil paintings by Stan Blevins and Brian Meyers. The work of Holmes is predominant — the dark mask-like hangings of stylized, protuberant eyes, teeth, lips and grasping fingers are clean and yet complex depictions of what goes on inside. Wall cards offer the lyrics of theme-appropriate songs, and a CD player is provided alongside each piece. Tunes by Harry Chapin, the Rolling Stones, David Gray, Beck, Radiohead, Bob Dylan and many more offer musical accompaniment to pieces that may or may not benefit from it; but it’s there for our listening pleasure (or displeasure) just the same. A much smaller handful of paintings complement Holmes’s dark but intimate work in the adjoining space; three large paintings by Blevins and just a few more smaller ones by Myers are conceptual and yet figurative, strong in this well-composed combination. Let’s hope LAMP continues to take chances. It’s good for the neighborhood. LAMP Fine Art Gallery, 901 N. East St., 624-9803, through Oct. 25.