Saturday, September 02, 2006

Reviews in Brief: At the Murphy

new works by Justin Cooper
at Galerie Penumbra

My first stop in the Murphy Art Center was to see the new body of paintings by Justin Cooper at Galerie Penumbra. I would have to say that Justin's work has always reminded me of New Age illustration and Tarot Card imagery and continues to do so. At times this turns me off from the work but I was surprised by this show. This particular body of work, in my opinion, is by far his strongest to date. The shear element of the craftsmanship has made these works stronger than previous efforts. The new works are more complex in composition, design, and color. It is the color that is the most fascinating aspect of these works including the use of metallic foils and gold leafing. These elements along with the imagery work together to create a sort of New Age Iconography. If your in the area you should stop on in.

"Born to Die"
work by Jason Sho Green
at Big Car Gallery

Seattle based artist Jason Sho Green's show was delightful. Many of the small paintings and collages on wood and paper have a wonderful wit about them. And his way of looking at people and social situations seems to come through the work. The work continues in that vein of cartoon/illustration that seems to be the trend these days. This is not to take away from his work by any means. The smaller pieces in the show are the strongest of the pieces as most of the larger paintings feel to dark and lack much of the wit of the other works.
My personal favorite (the image to the left) shows his wonderful use of materials along with his play of interesting character types that appear in many of the works. I enjoy his use of the found materials and collage and how he incorporates his drawing style to make these elements come together. Another nice piece, "Octopisland", is a fun digitally printed vinyl wall graphic from a company called, pop cling. If you enjoy fun and affordable art works, you may want to see the show as his prices are quite affordable and may not be available for long.

In Brief:

I was surprised to see as much activity in the Murphy this Friday as there was. I don't remember seeing this much going on in the building on an opening night since the gallery Everyday Inventors was around. I stopped by the small gallery space where Jo Legner was exhibiting some works, the most enticing to me were a series of works she called Jaxxed Boxes (I believe that is the proper title of the works). These pieces were exquisitely strange creations that play on the classic toy, the Jack in the Box but in her hand these things seemed to have a more sensuous grotesque manner.

Around the building artists K. Scott and Lois Main Templeton had their studios open and on the ground level, in the location where Deano's Vino used to be was the first exhibition of works in what will be Alchemy Salon, a duel gallery space and hair salon. Currently on view in the space are some works by artists Peter Shear, Rene Gonzalez, Mark Miller, and Rob Meko. For those who frequented Deano's in that location you will be quite surprised as how much the interior has changed. Though the salon is currently not operational it should be with in weeks. The space should prove a nice spot to view art while you wait for your hair appointment. Good Luck to the owners and I can't wait to see what type of shows will be held there.

7 Responses to “Reviews in Brief: At the Murphy”

Anonymous said...
September 6, 2006 at 8:28 AM

When and if his studio is open, Carl L. Peters is on the third floor (sort of hard to find) and always has great work showing. His large abstracts are as equally high quality as his realistic works and photography.

Sad that the Murph can't get a complete building openhouse going the way they used to when the late Doris Hails of Woodburn & Westcott coralled everyone together and made cohesive (and highly attended) things happen for the area. The building management SHOULD pull their collective heads out of their asses, hold a meeting with the tenents (duh!) and get their act together. Then that spot might take off again and become a "must-see" instead of a "might go".

katherine said...
September 11, 2006 at 10:30 AM

I totally agree with the previous comment. It's a shame that what COULD
be THE most interesting arts districts in the city (Fountain Square) is
being pulled down by the weight of "The Smurphy", floundering under the
"management" of a self-absorbed clique diddling around behind a facade
improved by community development grants. This sure gives artists a bad
name. No wonder the corporate drones eventually take over everything.

Anonymous said...
September 12, 2006 at 10:35 AM

Since when it it become de rigeur for artists with working studios to opening them to the public for idle entertainment?

As to making it sound as though the owners of the Murphy had it all handed to thme on a platter, are you insane or just small-minded? Belittling the Murph just because they don't chose to run the operation - or their lives- the way you think they should ...give me a break.

Go open your own building of art studios and galleries.

Anonymous said...
September 14, 2006 at 7:45 AM

When you purchase and (painfully slowly) rehab a Historic building and then call it an "art center", (regardless if you had financial help or did it all on a shoestring and sweat), you owe it to the community and the lease holders to become just that: An Art Center.

It's of little concern to me what the owners do with their private lives, no matter how tawdry.

It is, however, important for this city, the arts and the art community in general to do the absolute BEST job you can at putting forth a notion of an "art center" and all that it COULD mean.

(Are you listening, owner of School 30?)

When you go about something in a lazy, half-ass way, it puts yet another stain on the art community here and shows the public that the arts in Fountain Square are a joke; yet another small piece of the puzzle as to why art and artists get so little respect in our city and sports reign supreme.

The responsibility to run a successful Murphy Art Center with open studios and galleries lands SQUARELY on the shoulders of Phil Campbell and Ed Funk. If they want to continue to be lazy and unprofessional about running their building, it will continue to slide into obscurity. It's an insult to the lease holders and in general they are thumbing their noses at Indy.

Believe me, if I had the timing, money and the opportunity those two had, I'd give it a go. I guarantee it would shine a lot brighter than the Murph does currently.

They still have a chance to do the right thing. But they'd better hurry before the bulk of the art crowd decides Mass Ave is the only place to see art.

And a huge YES: with the current climate of the arts in Indy, it is by all means "de rigeur for artists with working studios to open them to the public for idle entertainment". That's how you build a following, open eyes of the public, create a "scene", and maybe even sell something once in a while. The galleries here certainly aren't doing their job getting the public and Indy artists together, so this is one of the things an artist can do on their way to success.

It pays to open your studio and stop being the typical introverted, angst-ridden artist and connect with the public for a change.

Posts like the one above just pave the way for artists to continue to be lazy, arrogant, and worst of all: unseen.

Anonymous said...
September 20, 2006 at 6:22 PM

Art studios are not the only place to see art, no? As for the integrety, ingenuity etc., of artists, isn't the art the place to put that. Making great art is successful these other measures are merely the contrived and cliched current way of thinking about promoting something.

Isn't the criticism of Phil and Ed a little too much "what have you done for me lately"? If you want something to happen at the Murph why not step up to the plate yourself? As for timing, money and opportunity, you really do sell them short. If you think that is the whole of what is behind having acquired the Murph you are dead wrong. It was blood, sweat and tears, baby. And that, believe me, I am not at all convinced you have.

Anonymous said...
September 21, 2006 at 9:42 AM

I know the history of the Murphy backwards and forwards. I personally lived and took part in a very early part of it. I watched as responsibility and intergrity took a backseat to ego and silliness. I have a very solid foundation from where I speak to these issues. I know each player and many past and present tenents very well.

The earlier post which has critisism of Ed and Phil is DEAD ON. Scratch around and you'll find plenty of others that feel exactly the same way because they've witnessed it as well. They'll only say so, however, in private.

Anything big and important takes blood, sweat and tears, baby. It's what you do after the sweating, bleeding and crying is done that the public sees.


That's called INTERGRITY.

That's what is missing at the Murph.

Anonymous said...
September 24, 2006 at 1:21 PM

Moralizing condescention, you're a trip.

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