Indianapolis Art Center
Through June 24
If I had a library of my own, a cozy sanctuary walled with books, and if there were room for art, a few carefully chosen prints would make the perfect complement to the printed word. Since I don’t have such a space, I’ll have to settle for the next best thing: the Indianapolis Art Center. The IAC’s library is a breezy, open space with towering picture windows and straight-backed chairs to accommodate special events — it even has a fireplace. The library also offers special exhibitions of a less ambitious scale than the IAC’s dedicated gallery spaces, but these shows have their place and, as in my aforementioned fantasy, prints are often the focus.
This past weekend, as the Indianapolis Art Center’s annual Broad Ripple Art Fair was winding down — the sound of live band music morphing into the clack of chairs, tables and carefully packaged art objects being stacked into vans and the beds of pickup trucks — I meandered into the Art Center building, a quiet oasis amid the bustle outside. The air-conditioned library, as still and cool as a mausoleum, was hung with the work of artists who count themselves members of the INprint Group. A regional association of 25 fine art printmakers from Indianapolis and environs, INprint was founded in 1997 at the Art Center. Its focus is to share, create, educate and promote the media of printmaking. Members join by invitation, but all comers are welcome to demonstrations, studio visits, lectures and other special events.
This year’s INprint exhibition represents a more or less annual offering at the Art Center — other exhibitions are held in venues through the region. It is a pleasant collection of images, uniformly framed and hung throughout the library space. In this case, two print “suites” are offered: “2006 IN the Spirit” and “INprint 2004 Suite Inspire,” together offering a contained spectrum of imagery, from layered complexity to minimalist simplicity.
As the titles suggest, the work is loosely gathered around the themes of spirituality and inspiration; these are closely related in many interpretations. From the overtly religious “Crown of Thorns” by Laurie M. Wright, a brightly hued serigraph recalling a subtle explosion of shards of rainbow-colored glass, to the symbolic “Heron,” a lovely single-hued woodcut of the bird in flight by Judy Leiviska, these are decidedly uplifting images.
There’s certainly nothing wrong with this. While the art has a positive bent, more or less, the artists are challenging themselves with the media, often utilizing non-toxic printmaking techniques that are easier on the artist as well as the environment, and offering an easier visual entry point to those exploring fine art perhaps for the first time. While this isn’t an edgy show, it is a comforting one — like a library filled with favorite books.
The two INprint Suites are on view at the Indianapolis Art Center, 820 E. 67th St., through June 24. Call 317-255-2464 or visit www.indplsartcenter.org for more information.