Inflatable Duplex: Architecture by Non-Architects
Through July 17
Sometimes it takes an outsider's view to see something afresh, or at least to offer a unique perspective. Michael Kaufmann, a recent Indianapolis transplant (with his wife and child) from California, took a crack at a different kind of exhibition as a guest curator at the Harrison Gallery - already known for showing quirky and fun thematically-conceived exhibitions. Kaufmann's Inflatable Duplex: Architecture by Non-Architects is challenging in its way - in a playful way, to be exact. Kaufmann admits that the show was driven by his desire to bring in the work of artists outside of Indianapolis (and as far away as Canada), and that most of these artists happen to be his friends.
'Blueprints for the Immediate Construction of the IN TRANSIT Centre for Creative Observation' by Jonathan Dueck
The result? A nice and easy show that proffers a tangential layer of intellectual exploration, one that suggests how we look at art is just as important as its content. The show isn't necessarily easy in the sense of accessibility; it's easy in the sense of flow. Largely consisting of works on paper, the show is connected by media and by approach, and Kaufmann describes it best: "Inflatable Duplex ... explores the architectural qualities of the small and the grand. The architecture of a chair, an egg and a painting are rendered alongside schematics for structures habitable and uninhabitable, abstract and fluid. Places for people, for commerce, for ghosts, for lost and found items, for amusement, for creatures gelatinous and unreliable."
While dubbing some of this work "architecture," even as Kaufmann loosely defines it, may be a stretch, pulling at the edges of boundaries, at least when it comes to art, is a good thing - and often the only way to venture into new creative territory. Tim McMullen's drawings are more like pen and ink illustrations, but they're good ones, and the precision of McMullen's pen does suggest the makings of things. "Static Sneeze," for instance, brings to mind both the Big Bang and the aftermath of a building explosion. Chris Vorhees also renders an explosion in "a drawing of an imagined explosion of what I'm not quite sure." Fortunately, it doesn't matter; the drawing is an oversized delight.
The showstoppers for me, though, were just being hung as I visited the gallery. Indianapolis artist Mark Miller's layered mixed-media canvases suggest the tight lines of structure but within the dreamy depth of layered, almost neutral pigment. Industrial hints emerge, but they're tightly controlled in space - and suggestive of limitless possibilities. In other words, a perfect synthesis of architecture and art.
Inflatable Duplex: Architecture by Non-Architects is on view through July 17 at Harrison Gallery, Harrison Center for the Arts, 1505 N. Delaware, 396-3886, www.harrisoncenter.org. A complete list of artists includes Stuart Argabright, Tim McMullen, Mudwig Dans, Chris Vorhees, Jonathan Dueck, Mark Miller, Paul Goode, Tyler Meuninck and Michael Kaufmann.