Four and a half stars
Ruschman Art Gallery
Malcolm Mobutu Smith takes the forms of everyday objects and re-imagines them. He might, for example, begin with a lump of clay on a potter’s wheel and fashion a simple cup from it. Then he’ll rework that cup by hand so that the end product looks like nothing in your kitchen cabinet. “Konscript Cloud Cup” is actually closed off at the top with a glazed blue surface, depicting the liquid “Konscript” within the cup, as it were. An oblong protrusion of said cup is marked with perpendicular lines that resemble longitudes and latitudes. “Taggist Bottle” is tagged by graffiti as advertised. So how, you may ask, does this piece come off looking like an ancient Babylonian flask mutated with a seashell? Other works abandon references to drinking objects altogether. “Slump Tripod,” for example, hints at eroticism with its legs that resemble Hershey’s Kisses. Smith’s cutting-edge ceramic sculptures contain amalgams of contemporary American associations and references — Rorschach tests for the early 21st century. Through Jan. 3; 317-634-3114, www.ruschmangallery.com.