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Hopping Around the Fall 2015 Gallery Tour in Broad Ripple

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Johnny McKee in front of his charcoal drawings at Ashland Gallery
  • Dan Grossman
  • Johnny McKee in front of his charcoal drawings at Ashland Gallery


The Fall 2015 Gallery Tour is happening right now as I write this blog. And while I don't think I'll be able to make all 16 venues, I've already seen evidence that Broad Ripple is more than just one big bar and there is some good art here to be seen! The way I found out about this all was a Facebook posting by Johnny McKee, who happens to be the manager of Ashland Gallery and Stu's Studio, for the show he put together that's called "Drawing Conclusions," (which should be up for several months.) You might draw some conclusions yourself if you happen to be driving down Broad Ripple Avenue for the first time. That is, you might conclude that Broad Ripple is just one big bar.

But you'd be wrong to do so because here and there off the main drag there are venues where art is still going on (aside from the very obvious example of the Indianapolis Art Center which I just might get to a little later.)

“I manage Ashland Gallery and I have my studio at the Harrison Building,” says McKee. “So it seemed kind of logical: I’m becoming friends with all of these artists: I just wanted all of them to get together and it seemed like the medium of drawing was universal. I have jewelry makers and sculptors but they all draw. So I just wanted to get everybody to show in the same spot in a little bit more of a casual gallery setting.”

McKee, aside from being a painter, is a photographer who works closely with Stu Johnson, a digital photographer who is based at Ashland and shoots many different subjects in his photography. Johnson has Down Syndrome and McKee also works with two other artists based at Ashland with the condition.

Mostly the work is drawing - by more than 40 artists - but there's also some painting and printmaking in this show. There's paintings hanging everywhere - even over the toilet in the bathroom - so it looks like McKee wasn't all that strict about disallowing work that wasn't drawing but talking to him can give you a good idea why he gravitated towards that media for this show.

“You can’t really hide behind drawing,” he says. “Specifically I like the drawings that are kind of pre-work, they’re doing sketches for a painting, or sketches for a print. I was really surprised at the scope as far as drawing went. I let them do what they wanted to do.”

Many of these artists have made a name for themselves in the city with their distinctive styles including one Kyle Ragsdale. But the Ragsdale included in this venue is anything but the typical colorful Kyle Ragsdale painting, as the only medium is charcoal on paper:

Nude 1 by Kyle Ragsdale
  • Nude 1 by Kyle Ragsdale

And then there was another nude figure by an artist I was unfamiliar with, Josh Rush, whose Francis Baconish "Fibonacci's Note to Self" was kind of a shocker:

Fibonaccis Note to Self by Josh Rush
  • Fibonacci's Note to Self by Josh Rush

And then there's another, perhaps tamer work by the same artist in pastel and mixed media:

Purple Cat by Josh Ruh
  • Purple Cat by Josh Ruh

And there's much more great work here; you should come and check it out and check out some of the other venues, which I'm about to do. I'd stay around to post some more photos... but my battery's out of juice..... Still time to make it out to Broad Ripple. The art should be on view at all the venue 'til at least 9:00 pm!

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