Indy Indie: Under new management 

click to enlarge Alfred Eaker as BlueMahler, his performance art alter ego.
  • Alfred Eaker as BlueMahler, his performance art alter ego.
click to enlarge Bobbie Zaphiriou
  • Bobbie Zaphiriou

Bobbie Zaphiriou, who took over last month as director of the Indy Indie Artist Gallery, says she "literally" lives above her desk. That could give the gallery, on the ground floor of a once-run-down apartment building turned "artist's colony," something of a mom-and-pop feel in the months to come, as Zaphiriou puts her own stamp on the place. The gallery's official hours are Thursday through Saturday, 12-5 p.m. (with extended hours on First Friday, of course), but Zaphiriou is open to running down the stairs to open up on appointment or unlock the space for a fellow resident needing access.

For now, she's spending most of her free hours in the space. Sweeping. Painting. Spackling. Getting it ready for its July First Friday show, La Lontananza Nostalgica Utopica Futura, a 41-piece exhibition of paintings and films by Alfred Eaker that takes its title from a piece by Italian composer Luigi Nono (it translates "a desired nostalgia for a future utopia").

Zaphiriou describes Eaker's paintings as "large, beautiful and colorful," each of them bearing the mark of his "kindness" and "intelligence," from his agnostic take on the Stations of the Cross to his western series; four films are also part of the show, including a documentary on artist Raymond Thundersky and study of Samuel, Saul and David produced while Eaker, an Indiana native and secular Franciscan, was attending seminary.

Zaphiriou moved into the Indy Indie building about a year ago, and she started volunteering at the gallery while Phil Campbell was still in charge. Campbell, a visionary who helped to launch artists' centers such as Faris Building and the Murphy Art Center, was hired by building owner Reverie Estates in November 2010 to create and direct the gallery. When Campbell resigned as director early last month, Campbell recommended to Reverie that she be hired for the part-time position.

She plans to honor the lineup Campbell already has in place through 2013, including an October Day of the Dead-inspired exhibition organized in association with the Indianapolis Art Center. Going forward, she hopes to involve Colony residents more actively with the gallery, reserving a section of the space each month for resident artists and staging events (one is already in the works for the second week of August: the gallery's first play, a staging of Steve Martin's Picasso at the Lapin Agile).

click to enlarge Alfred Eaker, "Married in the Faucet: Ode to John M. Bennett"
  • Alfred Eaker, "Married in the Faucet: Ode to John M. Bennett"

Alfred Eaker, in his own words:

The first time I heard Luigi Nono's "La lontantanza nostalgica utopia futura" the idea of this very difficult piece as as kind of agnostic Stations of the cross began to take hold. This was the seed for Stations I-VI, which I painted during grad school.

In content the Stations paintings may seem iconoclastic. However, contextually what I was trying to convey was the emotional point in the station. I-III are frenzied in composition, cloaked in an almost monochromatic milieu. It is in the fourth station that a suffering son is administered to by his mother. The maternal presence, a kind of manifestation of Sophia, is conveyed through an optimistic, prismatic stream.

"Our Lady" has been hanging in the Franciscan Hermitage. It is, possibly, the most personal of my representational works. It stems from a Marian spirituality which has meant much to me since my childhood. It is a memory, a birthright of the divine maternal. She is our sanctuary of consolation, a fierce protector from the oppression and thugs of the world.

BlueMahler is a performance art character I created at Herron School of Art in 1983. He has been in several films. Charles Chaplin, Harry Langdon, Luis Bunuel, and Gustav Mahler were identifying elements in BlueMahler's development. Current plans are to retire the character next year after he appears in several short films.

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Scott Shoger

Scott Shoger

Scott Shoger staggered up to NUVO's door one summer afternoon, a little drunk, poor and crazy-haired, muttering about future Mayor Ballard. He was taken in, hosed down, given NUVO-emblazoned clothes to wear and allowed to work in exchange for food and bylines. Refusing to leave the premises, he was hired on as... more

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