Review: My Son the Future Time Traveler 

click to enlarge A mural by Ryan Mulligan from My Son the Future Time Traveler
  • A mural by Ryan Mulligan from My Son the Future Time Traveler

4 stars

Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art (iMOCA); through July 16.

When I sat down to take in the wall-length mural "Shake Walt's Hand for me," the first more or less concrete image I saw amidst the fluid pastel-colored lines and abstract imagery was what looked to me like a baby carriage. No sooner did this visual assumption crystallize in my mind than Kathryn Castle, Ryan Mulligan's wife, pushed their infant son across my line of sight in a baby carriage.

Is it any wonder, then, that the whole mural, with its liberal streaks of pink and baby blue, seemed to invoke in me a vision of the universe as seen through a young infant's eyes? Not to say there wasn't any deliberation here: In painting this mural, Mulligan used a large number of abstract drawings on paper as references, a number of which are also on display.

If the drawings (in marker and mechanical pencil on paper) have a distracted, disjointed quality it may be because Mulligan was drawing them while both watching TV and watching over his infant son—around whom this show revolves thematically. This theme is especially pronounced in the section of the exhibit entitled "Time Capsules," which combines wall hanging toy-like sculptures and painting to create a series of "Life Instructions" for his son. The instructions don't seem entirely clear, but whimsy doesn't always require clarity.

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