Monday, March 20, 2006

Amy Cutler at the IMA

[image left, "Dwelling" 2005, recent acquisition for IMA]

The recent opening of the Amy Cutler exhibition at the Indianapolis Museum of Art once again proves how important Lisa Freiman has been to the growth of the Indianapolis art scene. Lisa has brought to Indianapolis, the largest exhibition of Amy Cutler's art (some 50+ pieces) seen in one location, along with the publication of the first book of Amy's artwork. In connection with the exhibition of Amy's work, she was brought here for what turned out to be a wonderfully attended lecture and just this past weekend the screening of the Jan Svankmajer film, Alice, which Amy chose as an inspiration/parallel to her own work.

I was quite surprised by the turn out for the Amy Cutler lecture. Here was a large turn out for what is still a very young artist. I am thinking I was told she was 31. But the place was packed with people. In one conversation I had with an older acquaintance, she remarked, "I can't believe how many young people are here for this." She seemed surprised that such a number of young people would come out to hear from an artist so early in her career. Strangely enough, I think I was more surprised that many of the older people in the crowd would even know who Amy Cutler was. I guess this says a lot about both of us and of the power of Amy's work. While I enjoyed the lecture, which mostly consisted of an explanation about the narrative of each of her slides, after a while the lecture seemed to drag. Amy seemed to be very layed back and approachable and it is this aspect of her demeanor that made for such a delightful lecture.

As far as the exhibition goes, I liked it quite a bit. To be able to see such a large number of works by a single artist at one time really allows you to get to know their work, to understand their visual language. As I am sure I have said before, I am a fan of solo exhibition over the usual group show. That said the sheer number of works in the show has a down side. Too much of a good thing. After a while you are numbed by the images. The great pieces are brought down a little by the lesser pieces surrounding them. I know, I know, it seems I want my cake and to eat it too. Well, who doesn't. I enjoyed many of the works within the show. The two I most enjoyed were both works from 2001, "Umbrage" and "Disembark". Both of these works were gouache on paper and can be seen in the Forefront Amy Cutler handout at the exhibition. There is simply a graceful mystery to each of these works that I am drawn to.

Most of Amy Cutler's work plays with fairy tale and myth in relation to women. This is not to say that she is dealing with particular fairy tales or myths but more to the point that she is creating her own fairy tales and myths in her work. Fairy tales for today. What some may read as a feminist aspect of her work, could easily fall into a trap of heavy handedness, but the work never feels this way. Her work is always much more personal and poignant. It is very much a show worth seeing. Take advantage of it while it is here.

2 Responses to “Amy Cutler at the IMA”

Christopher said...
March 23, 2006 at 8:52 AM

I too have been very encouraged by audience support for the arts so far in 2006. And not just at openings and First Fridays. The big three lectures I have attended so far this year (Amy Cutler, Wim Delvoye and Ron Arad) have all been packed.

It appears to me, even though everyone loves to complain around here, that Indy is really poised to spring forward (no pun intended with daylight savings time starting soon!).

And a brief note on Cutler - there is a lot of work out there right now in this Cutler/Dzama fashion but in my opinion, Amy is one of if not the top example of this genre. Her work is a nice, quiet relief from the Ernesto Neto madness of the last few months, and I can find myself lost in her galleries. I also found her talk refreshing, nothing pretentious, just the artist simply talking about what she loves.


saint robert said...
March 24, 2006 at 1:50 AM

speaking of complaining and daylight savings... fuck daylight savings.


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