New works by J. Ivcevich
Ruschman Art Gallery
948 N. Alabama St.
Through Oct. 1
J. Ivcevich, who now lives in New York but is an Indiana native, doesn't limit himself. A prolific artist in the expansive sense - he makes music as well as visual art, mixing various media, including electronic, to a variety of ends - Ivcevich approaches his art as a sociologist. Ivcevich has a BA in sociology from Emory University in Atlanta, where he lived for several years, carving out a niche as a multi-media art maker. He's a sort of Zen documentarian, distilling the everyday, appropriating real-life images and stylizing them into icons repeated in serenely minimal space as a visual "om." This is exemplified in his current installment at Ruschman Art Gallery, his second solo exhibition here.
"Brooklyn Blue" by J. Ivcevich on display through Oct. 1
Artists such as Andy Warhol realized the power of popular culture on multiple levels, elevating icons such as a Campbell's soup can or Marilyn Monroe to a hallowed place, or rather recognizing their iconic status as symbols of our time. Ivcevich, though, takes a more contextualized, grounded approach, while an equally non-discriminating one: in "Troops of Youth," one child is appropriated from a photograph into a stylized image, duplicated in various sizes, marching towards an expanse of blue water beyond an arched horizon line. Other instances as well - a graffiti-adorned door, a man dancing unselfconsciously, another standing in a trench coat, suitcase in hand - suggest that the often overlooked can be made beautiful - indeed, sacred - if its essence is pulled to the surface and enshrined as art.
Ivcevich's colors are also cool and serene; a green landscape directs the eye towards an orange sky, or tufts of clouds are almost static, suggestive, again, of loftiness. Even Ivcevich's media offer a certain polished serenity: acrylic and resin are applied to aluminum, lending a layered depth that is at once ethereal and earth-bound, so that birds fly in actual space and yet still speak to their essence.
Ivcevich has approached the exhibition holistically, installing a shallow pool down the center of the gallery as a sort of focal point from which his paintings emanate. Inside the pool goldfish dart from one length to the other, as green Buddha-like figures sit sentinel along the cement-brick walls, again as appropriations.
Though Ivcevich documents New York, this could be anywhere; essences ultimately speak to connectedness rather than separateness. Perhaps that's what makes Ivcevich's artwork so lovely: he recognizes there is beauty everywhere, a light aching to break through the mundane or the everyday, whether it's the pose of a traffic cop perpetuated in a pastiche of traffic cops to resemble a dance (in "No Sense of Direction"), or a similarly repetitive display of orange street cones (in "Infinite Prospects and Perpetual Projects").
Ultimately, these are dreamlike gleanings that lull us into a stupor of thankfulness - no small thing, especially in light of our beleaguered Gulf Coast. New works by J. Ivcevich are on view through Oct. 1 at Ruschman Art Gallery, 948 N. Alabama St. Call 634-3114 or visit www.ruschmangallery.com for information.