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A night in hyperspace: Oct. First Friday reviews

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James Wille Faust, "Bandelier," from a solo show at Gallery 924
  • James Wille Faust, "Bandelier," from a solo show at Gallery 924

James Wille Faust: Works on Canvas, Wood and Paper
Gallery 924 through Oct. 25
★★★★1/2
You don't get a lot of chances to see a major exhibit of James Wille Faust's work in Indianapolis. So if you are interested at all in this dynamic artist - who works comfortably in painting, photomontage, and sculpture - then this one's a must. Some of his highly abstracted landscapes on canvas allude to real places; "Bandelier" refers to an ancient cliff dwelling in the American Southwest. The painting includes much that's appealing about Faust's major work - his geometric simplification of shapes, his mastery of shading and value and his transmutation of landscape into an explosively colorful imaginative realm. - Dan Grossman

Jan Ruhtenberg: Come Here Architekt
iMOCA through Nov. 23

★★★★
"The largest building that he ever designed was, ironically, his smallest," says local musician/guy-about-town Vess Ruhtenberg about the Opera House designed by his grandfather, the modernist architect Jan Ruhtenberg. This is another way of saying that the project never came to fruition and exists only as a model. Too bad for the city of Colorado Springs, for which he designed the building in 1957. At least it lives again in a retrospective of Ruhtenberg's life and work that features photos of buildings, plus carefully researched wall text, specimens of furniture he designed and architectural blueprints. - Dan Grossman

Cheryl Anne Lorance, "Ovum," from Rooted at the Stutz
  • Cheryl Anne Lorance, "Ovum," from Rooted at the Stutz

Rooted: Sculpture Inspired by Nature and the Environment
Raymond James Stutz Art Gallery through October 25

★★★★
Exciting bronze sculptures by Emily Budd and wall hanging jellyfish-like chandelier by Lauren Kussro (Carulea Luminosia) greet you here - plus a nice selection from other Indy-area artists working in sculpture. But the great pleasure for me was discovering the work of someone I'd never even heard of before, Cheryl Anne Lorance. You might think of her "Either/Oar" (bronze, brass) as either a boat or a wave, with its fluid structure and its oars. Or maybe it transcends the either/or dichotomy, as it soars on the waves of your imagination long after you see it. - Dan Grossman

Hyperraum: Holger Kurt Jäger and Brian James Priest
Primary Gallery; closing reception Oct. 25

★★★★
Hyperraum is a German word that translates roughly into English as "hyperspace." Conceptually the word alludes to German artist Holger Kurt Jäger and Indy-based Brian James Priest's shared affinity for constructing alternate realities. Jäger has several paintings that seem to show what people look like after a bender, when your love beside you in the morning appears as fixed in place as a spinning roulette wheel. This wooziness makes the precision of his portraits so alarming. Priest's digital drawing "Somewhere on Earth" marries an earthly landscape with a scar on his hand. It's a corollary to the joint Priest/Jäger collaboration "High Noon," which runs American and German flags through a tanning bed to bleed out their colors so that we all become one. - Dan Grossman

Becky Wilson, "Pine and Palm," from Curtains at the Harrison Gallery
  • Becky Wilson, "Pine and Palm," from Curtains at the Harrison Gallery

Erin K. Drew: Ruiner
General Public Collective (1060 Virginia Ave.) through Oct. 26
★★★★
This month's grand opening of Fountain Square's General Public Collective takes the form of an exhibition of excellent new work by Indianapolis native Erin K. Drew, now based in Bloomington. The space features five large drywall squares, used by Drew for five murals, all of which refer to vernacular visual communication, such as hand painted signs and stripe designs on commercial vehicles. The work is simple and straightforward with bold colors and highly expressive line work. A whole watermelon is matched with the phrase "SOMETHING I CAN NEVER HAVE;" a watermelon slice with a bite taken out of it reads "HELP ME, I AM IN HELL." All of the text, including the exhibition title, is drawn from Nine Inch Nails songs, and strikingly contrasts with the paintings' cartoony, whimsical iconography. Drew has taken light, relatable imagery and imbued it with nihilism. - Charles Fox

Curtains: New Work by Becky Wilson
Harrison Center for the Arts through Sept. 25

★★★1/2
Becky Wilson's paintings, which feature a menagerie of skeletons engaged in various artsy activities, are timely enough: The Day of the Dead is right around the corner. "Art School-Visual" finds a beret wearing skeleton/artist painting en plein air, against a red, abstracted cityscape, staring at his canvas. But he can't really stare because he's got hollowed out eye sockets. "Tops" features what I thought might be a Russian matryoshka doll but is actually supposed to be an owl. But it hardly matters because the playful composition and harmonies of color and line give plenty to think about. - Dan Grossman

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