Facing Autism: Painting by Kathleen Dugan 

Four stars

Kathleen Dugan visually articulates what Autism Spectrum Disorder looks like through her portraits of children, including her own twins, afflicted with the developmental disability. With the sensitivity of a parent and honed skills of an expressionistic painter, Dugan chronicles the often awkward social interactions of autistic youth engaged in normal childhood activities, such as playing with toys or with others. “Edward and Social Gap” depicts energetic schoolchildren preparing for the bus ride home while Edward, in green Gap sweatshirt, gazes downwards while a classmate teasingly appears behind him. Portraiture traditionally places subjects looking directly at viewers to engage them. Dugan’s compositions smartly utilize this practice to bring emphasis to the disengagement of children with autism — particularly through her portrayals of facial expressions and depictions of eyes. In the bowling scene of “7-10 Split,” a boy, paused with ball in hand, is turned to look straight through the viewer. Dugan allows us to linger on the image in hopes of bringing understanding to his challenges and the disorder. One bay of the exhibition includes autism educational panels and a video interview with the artist. Learn more at the reception May 9, 5-9 p.m. in conjunction with the Broad Ripple Gallery Tour. Through June 22; 317-255-2464, www.indplsartcenter.org, www.inautism.org.  

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