Review: "My Indiana," a Hoosier Salon bicentennial celebration 

These artists aren’t Thomas Kincade wannabees

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Remember the exhibition iMOCA vs. Hoosier Salon that pitted works by Hoosier Salon members against that of iMOCA members?

Who won isn’t really important. But stereotypes about the work of participating artists — particularly about Hoosier Salon artists — were the losers here. And while the groundbreaking Richard Anderson has moved on from his position as a gallery manager, the current show My Indiana at the Carmel Hoosier Salon Gallery shows that there has been no turn back towards the kind of covered bridge type subject matter that has dominated in the past.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that kind of work, and there are plenty of traditional landscapes here. But in this exhibition, there’s also room for a drawing in Prismacolor Pencil of a group of African American senior citizens sitting at a table outside an Indy White Castle. The drawing, appropriately enough, is entitled “King of the Castle,” and it depicts how human intimacy can lend color and life to the most banal of architecture.

The Joe Rohrman stoneware sculpture entitled “Dining Al Fresco” is also set in an urban environment. The subject is a power company worker taking his lunch break while sitting in a manhole. The piece is a caricature, but there’s nothing that robs the subject of his dignity.

There’s no caricature whatsoever in Gary Deustch’s stunningly realistic acrylic paintings depicting Indy Car drivers at speed in their vehicles, nodding towards the history of Hoosier motorsports. The most engaging landscapes here stray from literal representation. “A New Dawn,” an oil painting by Nancy Irvine Cupka, a take on pointillism featuring a depiction of rectangularly shaped trees in front of a sunset.

Harrison Center artist Justin Vining has an equally unconventional suburban development house-scape entitled “Let that Be Enough” in grayscale — mostly in black, actually. It examines the structures that contain our lives as if with an X-ray. Some Indy-based artists might be surprised to find Vining’s work here. They may be surprised as well that the rest of the artists aren’t Thomas Kincade wannabees or acolytes of T.C Steele. All the more reason for them to see this exhibit before it closes.

showing at the Hoosier Salon Gallery, Carmel through Dec. 4

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