I don’t know if dragging my kids to art shows on a regular basis will help or hurt my chances of turning them on to art. It seems particularly fitting, though, in light of the increased possibilities for experiencing art outside the conventions of the gallery setting, and the largely open-armed approach of traditional galleries, that kids would be seen and heard in the environs of art — they are the next generation of creative thinkers, after all. Indianapolis’ Flux, a smallish gallery in an old house in Fountain Square, seems to welcome kids — at least they’ve been kind to mine. The Fluxus movement was borne of blurred distinctions between art and life. Flux may have some of the trappings of a traditional gallery — they host regular shows in a somewhat conventional setting — but they tend to show art that makes connections to our lived experience.
The gallery’s current show, eidetic, new paintings and drawings by Herron graduate Tyler Meuninck, is framed in the context of place. Indianapolis is a landscape blighted by industry, and Meuninck brings this to our attention with a mixture of reverence and a sort of intimate distance.
Meuninck heavily paints in oils and varnishes, giving his surfaces a slickness that both illuminates the depth of the images and, at certain angles, with the help of track lighting, distracts. His palette seems limitless, and yet it’s drawn from just a few colors — the darker hues mixed with just enough white to offer the possibility of light. An occasional bit of red emerges like a tiny flame through the fog, offering a perfect foil to the heaviness of black and earth tones.
Despite the dark palette, these are beautiful paintings. It becomes a sort of puzzle to look at an image and discern its inspiration. The power plant downtown, for example, is easy to make out, but Meuninck makes it ethereal — and yet his depiction is accurate, as if he has fallen in love with the intricacies of the towering structure and its startling contrasts.
Meuninck’s smaller drawings, as well as his paintings, hint at abstraction just enough to make the images hover at times between the concrete reality of what they reveal and the essence of line, color and composition in its purest sense, all the while evoking a sort of other-dimensional possibility. His smaller charcoal drawings and studies are equally evocative, but far more spare. A power line is a wisp; a shoreline merges sand and water to near indistinction. In making these places beautiful, Meuninck gives us the opportunity both to honor beauty and the possibility for healing.
eidetic, new paintings by Tyler Meuninck, is on view through Oct. 27 at Flux, 1046 Woodlawn Ave., in Fountain Square. Call 317-636-3243 for information.
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