Thomas Woodruff's Freak Parade 

Four and a half stars
Herron School of Art & Design

“Anatomy Boy” stands in profile, stripped of skin, his brain exposed. Text incorporated in this painting instructs you not to pity him while a descriptive line entices you: “so TENDER his meat just FALLS from his BONES.” On the next panel you encounter a two-headed wolf wearing sheepskin. Siamese wolves in sheep’s clothing, as it were. Then there’s “Bambi-Lynn,” the baton-twirling girl with nine breasts, all exposed. This is one of the few panels without text. Not that it needs any. At the tail of the parade is the Grim Sweeper, sweeping up the debris while smoking a cigarette. The sweeper, like his counterparts, is precisely depicted in pastels, on a black paper panel. This freak parade, dredged up from the lurid swamp of our communal subconscious, is at once repellent and captivating. Woodruff calls his parade “a protest march” against the bland and the homogenous. Whatever else it may be, this parade is definitely not bland. Nor is it boring. Through Oct. 4; 317-278-9423, www.herron.iupui.com.

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