4.5 stars


Dean Gallery, Randolph H. Deer Fine Arts Wing, Wabash College, 410 Wabash Ave.,

Crawfordsville; through April 8.


aura of lightness envelopes Nhat Tran's new work created during and following her

recent study of Japanese urushi at Tokyo University of Arts. Five sculptures of

layered lacquer upon molded cloth represent Tran's re-interpretation of Urashi

Kanshitsu. "Experiment in Verification/Experiment in Falsification," (2011) a

dual wall hanging of floating blues on copper/copper with blue, takes her work

into an even freer dimension from her installation at the Indianapolis Airport

and her signature "Carpe Momentum" (2002).


Existence" and "Primitive Invitation," small sculpted layers of lacquer on

fabric mounted on pedestals, also emulate weightlessness.


(2011) with golds on fabric conjures hopping in contrast with her "Inclination

to Believe" (2004) urushi on extruded polystyrene work with its feel of drawing

into itself a rainbow spectrum.


2010 series of urushi lacquer on wooden board placed free floating within

frames equally allows imagery of movement. "Evolution of Unconsciousness" at

first glance seems dark and forbidding, but a second look draws you into its

smooth surface like looking into a deep pool with faces emerging and bodies

floating. "A Nonsensical Affection" equally requires careful inspection.

Following along its copper layerings from left to right, there is a conjuring

of action — perhaps a leopard leaping toward a sunlit pool? "Secretly" is

a bright enigmatic rainbow splash.


newest pieces are surrounded by a retrospective of Tran's work since 2002,

offering an evolution of her constant search for new expressions within an

ancient technique.


Hours: Monday–Friday 9 a.m.–5 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.–2



on exhibit at Wabash's Eric Dean Gallery


Shafer's colorful, energy-filled hybrid paintings combine digital technology

with the materials and methodology of traditional art. Shafer's abstract work

has a sense of landscape. His initial complex images originate as small

glimpses from digital macro photographs, which provide the matrix for freehand

application of oils, colored pencils and oil pastels. These small hybrid

paintings are then redigitized for enlargement and overpainting again and again

to produce large scale canvases.


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