In the Garden By Kimberly Anderson
By Bernie Carreno
Indianapolis Art Center
Through Oct. 10
A detail from ‘In the Garden’ by Kimberly Anderson Under the curatorial guidance of Julia Muney Moore, the Indianapolis Art Center has become a destination for the exhibition of intelligent, contemporary artwork. Moore’s departure to take a new position responsible for art connected with the coming airport expansion should afford her a larger stage on which to express her discerning tastes. In the meantime, though, we can still enjoy the fruits of her labors at the IAC: a pair of installations, one by ceramicist Kimberly Anderson, the other by Art Center faculty member Bernie Carreno.
Anderson’s In the Garden consists of an arrangement of five related pieces that, together, provide a commentary on the Garden of Eden story. What’s new here is that Adam and Eve are monkeys and the garden is a lush and sexual place where male and female organs are practically bursting with vitality. The configuration of figures and what Anderson calls “Bone Flowers” is arrayed on a bed of sparkly black sand.
The concept here might be dismissed as rather obvious satiric whimsy if it weren’t for Anderson’s meticulous craft and attention to detail. What at first glance seems like a variation of Jeff Koons-style lawn jockey kitsch rewards closer inspection thanks to Anderson’s genuine wit. More than a one-liner, In the Garden gets at the tension between our rough appetites and the erotic aristocracy of an unsullied natural world.
Bernie Carreno’s installation, “Intrusions,” takes us to a very different place. You hear it before you see it — the disconcerting sounds of traffic, sirens, ringing phones and scratchy throats drift through a slightly darkened doorway. Once you enter Carreno’s space you are confronted by a dense collection of black geometric shapes that hang from the ceiling and thrust out from the walls at unexpected angles. In the dim light, these forms can almost be confused with shadows, except they bear a certain gravity. That sense of gravity gives the pieces a contemplative quality that, as the installation’s title suggests, is constantly broken up — or intruded upon — by the combination of close quarters as well as the deliberately jarring soundtrack.
Being in this room is like a sudden trip to another planet where our laws of physics no longer apply. Carreno uses this effect to create a spatial correlative for the borderland between our conscious and subconscious ways of understanding ourselves in relation to an often inhospitable environment.
It’s a shame Carreno doesn’t leave the room and its implications well enough alone. Instead, he literalizes the idea of intrusions by blasting visitors with the aforementioned series of obviously obnoxious noises. This is the equivalent of a comic demanding we “get” the punchline. One exits the room more quickly than need be — not because of Carreno’s uncommon art, but to put distance between oneself and what’s all too common everywhere else.
In the Garden by Kimberly Anderson and “Intrusions” by Bernie Carreno are on view at the Indianapolis Art Center through Oct. 10. Call the IAC at 255-2464 for hours.