Visual Arts Season preview Who knows why we like some kinds of art but not others? Who knows, really, why we fall in love Ö and with whom? Two exhibitions anticipated at the Indianapolis Museum of Art epitomize the extremes of my own fine art taste, from moody-old to edgy-new. But there"s a common theme to them both: a contemplative and somewhat subtle darkness that speaks to the soul"s constant search. The best art, after all, transcends its time.

The work of Petra Nyendick will be on view at 4 Star Gallery this season.

Under the guest curatorship of Katherine Nagler, Brazilian artist Vik Muniz will exhibit his medium- and mind-expanding work here next spring (dates to be confirmed). Muniz"s work has never before been exhibited in Indiana. The contrasting exhibit is The Print in the North - The Age of Albrecht Durer and Lucas van Leyden, a heady selection culled from the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Sept. 7, 2002-Feb. 23, 2003). Some 80 engravings, etchings and woodcuts comprise The Print in the North, prints which are reflective of the Renaissance, a time when artistic innovation flourished. These works, which date between 1425 and 1550, strike a curious tonal resemblance to the aforementioned Vik Muniz"s work. Muniz uses the photographic medium both to manipulate existing images and to capture his own sculptural manipulations. His Pictures of Thread, for example, are landscapes composed of fine thread; at first blush they resemble an etching or a woodcut. His "Mona Lisa", constructed in peanut butter and jelly (then photographed), has much the same effect, as does his "The Radeau de La Medusa, (diptych)," rendered in chocolate syrup. For the socially inclined, there"s the Mass. Ave. Fall Gallery Walk to kick off the season: Many of the seven blocks of unique businesses - and new ones are popping up almost daily - will open their doors on Sept. 6. Free cab shuttles will ferry folks up and down the avenue. Among the galleries, Kuaba will continue its revolving exhibition of art from the African continent alongside gift items on permanent display (and for sale). The Photography Gallery will open an exhibit of work by veteran Indianapolis photographer Wilbur Montgomery (through Oct. 26). I"m particularly looking forward to 4 Star Gallery"s exhibit of newcomer Petra Nyendick"s mandala-like mixed media constructions. The Toronto-based artist has exhibited widely in Canada, and her work here, entitled Scapes, combines natural and man-made materials. The artwork is intended to "re-engineer perspective," and yet provoke deeper contemplation. I always look forward to New Art of the West, and this is the year for the biennial exhibition put together by the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art. New Art brings together the work of artists who either hail from the West or interpret it in some way. This year"s offering, up Sept. 28, 2002-Jan. 5, 2003, will include 19 contemporary artists of Latino, Asian, Euro-American, or Native American persuasion. I can"t help but point out another IMA offering: the provocative comic strip narratives of Layah Ali will be exhibited from Oct. 19, 2002 - Jan. 26, 2003, in the museum"s Contemporary Gallery. Ali"s work depicts genderless figures in situations suggesting racial subjugation or religious oppression. I"ve also taken special note of Ruschman Gallery"s season opener, the serious but quirky work of Indiana artist Tom Torluemke (Sept. 6-28), alongside the colorful landscapes of Tom Keesee. Torluemke composes brilliant and compelling abstractions from colored construction paper. I"m also looking forward to the return of figurative painter Tina Newberry, who will exhibit her Civil War Series Dec. 13, 2002-Jan. 11, 2003. Speaking of season openers Ö sports fans who appreciate art will want to head to the IUPUI campus for the National Art Museum of Sport"s exhibit The Stories Sport Art Tells, continuing through December 2002 in the museum"s University Place Conference Center & Hotel space. The exhibit includes 35 works of art from the museum"s permanent collection of 800 artworks, displayed with expanded story labels, in an exhibit of 200 works in total. Finally, I"m particularly anticipating the exhibition of Jeffery Martin, who has been busy running an art gallery, a manufacturing business and coordinating the bi-annual Allotropy omnibus exhibits around town. Martin has finally produced a much-awaited gallery-full of work, which he will exhibit in his J. Martin Gallery from Oct. 11-Nov. 29. Sculptures from found and otherwise unanticipated objects will be exhibited alongside his paintings. Martin will open his own season with IU-Bloomington artist Arthur Liou"s multiroom video and sound installation, Things That Are Edible, which will run through Oct. 4. Mixing mediums with technology, of course, is the ultimate in the marriage of extremes; and while I"m more inclined towards the subtle, there"s something to be said for expanding one"s horizons.

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