Art Happens: A Visual Fringe Review

In conjunction with its annual week long theater festival, the indyFringe also hosts a Visual Fringe Festival spanning the entire month of August. The venues are peppered throughout the Mass Ave Cultural District. You can stop by any Visual Fringe gallery and get in with your Fringe Back Button.

The work at in the Visual Fringe is eclectic. It represents many different points of view on life in Indianapolis. Spend some time in any of the galleries and you will be told much different stories through the work. The first venue I stopped by was in the lobby of the Theater on the Square. Three pieces of work were of particular interest to me.

Karen Seltzer’s piece “Theater on the Square” was venue specific. The oil painting of the store front of Theater on the Square created a similar effect to placing two mirrors facing each other. The bold colors of the familiar front we had just walked through told the story of the people you will see along Mass Ave. They stared back at their own reflections in her window, giving them a sepctral feel.

Robert Hoffman’s work “Hate Crime” was unassuming, yet powerful. On at small 11 by 14 canvas, he created a collage of sorts using mixed media, vine and plaster. The blotchy red squares blur together at times looking like blood spatter at times appearing as a geometric statement about human nature.

In the Franklin Barry Gallery at The Frame Shop, work from Mike Altman hung auspiciously next to the front desk. House paint on cardboard were his tools to create two similar pieces: “Costume? What Costume?” and “There’s a hole in my head.” His surreal cycloptic figures stood in groups of four. The brightness of color and the panel effect of each body next to each other created a kind of comic strip effect. However, these panels held a deeper more twisted feeling than anything in the Sunday funnies.

Lydia Burris showed a piece called “They Came Half Delirious.” Acrylic, mixed media this work had an interesting technique to it. Two figures with beak like noses that protruded from the canvas stood in a mess of bright color. Burris created a world for them contained in her square canvas, that at the same time could not contain them.

The newly renovated Earthhouse Collective showed the work of students and faculty from the Herron School of Art and Design at IUPUI. Two pieces by Emily Schnelbacher stood side by side. “Universal Duality” was full of faces emerging seemingly spontaneously. Painted in muted colors but with vibrant life, this work had the ability to pull your eye in a swirl from place to place. With a focus on nature, she seems to be revealing a glimpse into the answer to some big question. “Blurb” painted in the same color palatte and with similar themes was less obtrusive and more abstract. Next to each other, these paintings are like two windows into an alternate reality.

Brittany Eaton’s “95,849,00 (diptych)” was by far my favorite. A multi colored herd of cattle blended together to form a mass of swirling color. As first sight each body is indistinguishable, yest closer inspection reveals their indviduality and simulataneous unity. Most of the bovine stare straight out of the canvas as if to say, “look at me.”

Christine Plantenga used yarn, wood and acrylic to create “Paint.” The knited colors had the attempted effect of paint dripping down the wall. Though the idea and execution were a bit stale, the form seemed original.

To check out more information about the Visual Fringe such as locations and times, go the indyFringe website. Stay tuned to Fun City Finder as we cover the entire indyFringe Festival in depth!

Directory of Indianapolis theatres and performing arts venues

Theatre on the Square
627 Massachusetts Ave
Indianapolis, IN 46204

Art Happens: A Visual Fringe Review
August, 2009

IndyFringe Theatre Festival
The IndyFringe Building
719 E St. Clair St
Indianapolis, IN46202