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Review: A Hand in the Inadvertent: Hugh Leeman

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4 stars

Visual artist Hugh Leeman is an artist equally at home in the studio and on the street.

Originally from Logansport, this young artist now lives in San Francisco, where he has recently spent much of his time making portraits of homeless people. He is something of a social entrepreneur in the way he goes about this: Leeman imprints T-shirts with silkscreen images from drawings based on photos of his homeless subjects. He turns around and gives these T-shirts to his homeless friends to sell and make a profit — and he gets their consent to use their images in his own work.

Leeman works in interesting, and possibly unique, mediums. In "Though I know you spoke I got less from what I heard and more from what I saw," he took a blowtorch to wood to create a portrait of one of his subjects, while in "Seeing my Thoughts off into the Universe," he treated a block of steel with urine (his own) and boric acid before painting on it and then sealing it with resin. The spectacular chemical reaction caused by the latter treatment adds more than a touch of "inadvertency" to this steel canvas. But the painting of the homeless subject over it — like all the other images in his recent work on display here — is photoreal in its precision and painterly in its conception.

ARTBOX; through Oct. 29; 955-2450; www.artboxindy.com.

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