Review: Black Light at the Harrison 

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click to enlarge Jerome Neal, "Cheers," from Black Light at the Harrison Gallery at the Harrison Center for the Arts
  • Jerome Neal, "Cheers," from Black Light at the Harrison Gallery at the Harrison Center for the Arts

Black Light, shines a spotlight on Indy's African-American artists, a number of whom are among the best artists, full-stop, working in the city. Courtland Blade brought a generous sampling of his oil paintings to the show, including new pieces like "The Terminal," which shows an airport tarmac with airplanes and towers but devoid of people. Some might see a sense of isolation in his work; some might see a sense of wonder; everyone should agree that Blade has a great sense of color.

Mike Graves is facile with collage, a talent which also serves him well in his work as a deejay. His Sister Soul series of 60s and 70s soul singers, created in collaboration with Leslie Dolin, portrays women like P.P. Arnold, whose portrait is composed on a canvas of green-streaked music sheets.

Vinyl records conveyed this music to the masses, and Lobyn Hamilton uses smashed up vinyl records as his paint to compose his on-canvas portrait of Angela Davis entitled "Davis with Artwork by Emory Douglas." The other medium Hamilton uses, brilliantly here, are paper cutouts of artwork by Douglas, who was the Minister of Culture for the Black Panther Party.

You may be familiar with the aforementioned artists, but the biggest delight for me came in seeing, fot the first time, the work of Jerome Neal, whose oil painting "Cheers" seemed to depict a crowded, '20s-era street scene combined with a private dreamscape. Neal's "Fast Pitch of Space Explore Mission," depicting half a dozen astronauts on a spacewalk, is truly out of this world.

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Dan Grossman

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