Garage artists make light noise 

Visual Art

Julianna Thibodeaux Rev Garage Arti
Visual Art Julianna Thibodeaux Rev Garage Artist Society Stutz Art Gallery Through April 24 Mint Evans' 'Indy 500' is part of 'Rev' at the Stutz Art Gallery. These days, spin can be just as big a factor in making artists known as it is in boosting products or politicians. Art rarely makes itself seen by standing alone; there are too few venues for that, and too many artists hungry for recognition, deserved or not. To this end, intentionally or not, a group of six Indianapolis artists have cleverly coined themselves the Garage Artist Society — and in a group show, Rev, now on view at the Stutz Art Gallery, their efforts are testament to the notion that a garage anything these days just doesn’t have the same edgy “up-yours” tone of days past, when garage rock was considered punk. The G.A.S. artists, who literally make their art in or above their garages, don’t have an aesthetic or political agenda, other than providing support to one another, and occasionally collaborating. And this, I argue, is where their collective moniker renders them most provocative, at least in the public sphere. Each of the six artists — Mint Evans, Chris Tower, Hadley Kelly, James Kelly, Michele Smith and Jenny Elkins — exhibits selections of his or her own work alongside four figurative sculptures that are a group effort. Art — indeed, creativity — doesn’t have to spring from a solitary dance with the muse; in fact, many works of art are at their heart collaborative (theater and dance immediately come to mind). While the individual efforts of G.A.S. artists are pleasant enough and consistently well-executed, they tend towards the light-hearted, with visual puns aplenty: from Chris Tower’s wide-eyed cartoon animals sporting knit caps to Hadley Kelly’s “Stool Pigeons” to Jenny Elkins’ tick-tocking constructions of found-object narratives (“Dori Waits for Her Ship to Come In” and “Gertie Scores” among them). Then there are the band efforts: Collaborative mixed media figures come together with a little help from the friends, each contributing a head, a torso, some legs, or whatever else is needed. This is where G.A.S. makes the most noise; where the rawest, and therefore most fertile, energy reverberates. “Sock Being” isn’t much more than a cleverly realized scarecrow, but therein lies its charm; it doesn’t try so hard to be clever — it arrives there spontaneously. When it comes to the individually realized art, maybe the collective muse can serve to rev things up, as the exhibition title promises — that is, if G.A.S. wants to live up to the original mandate of their collaborative inspiration. The potential is certainly there. Rev: an art exhibit by the Garage Artist Society is on view through April 24 at the Stutz Art Gallery, 1005 N. Senate. Call 317-833-7000 or visit www.stutzart

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