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Review: City Gallery Grand Opening

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Kyle Ragsdale's painting, "King Park," currently on view at City Gallery.
  • Kyle Ragsdale's painting, "King Park," currently on view at City Gallery.

4 stars

City Gallery at the Harrison Center; through Aug 26.

I've criticized Kyle Ragsdale in the past by what appears to me to be an unfinished quality to some of his oil on canvas paintings (leaving faces of people blank, etc). But, then, one man's unfinished painting is another's impressionistic masterpiece. In any case, much of Ragsdale's work is popular, at least in part, because it unpretentiously reflects contemporary urban life. As such, there's no better artist to hang on the walls of the City Gallery for the grand opening.

The standout for me is "First Home," which portrays a proud young couple in front of their St. Clair neighborhood home. Unlike the stern figures in Grant Wood's "American Gothic," a painting that this work clearly alludes to, you can tell by the well-articulated facial features that this particular couple is relaxed and happy.

But not all urban Indy residents are people, Ragsdale reminds us, with his painting "Bird Sanctuary," representing the Watson McCord Neighborhood. (If you didn't know there was a bird sanctuary along Fall Creek, well, neither did I.) Your eyes are drawn to the yellow and red dashes of color, representing flowers, as well as the yellow birds on the vegetation in the foreground. Ragsdale does a lot here with a limited color palette (mostly green and yellow). It wouldn't be too much of a stretch to think that these paintings, focused on five particular neighborhoods, could do a lot to spur potential homeowners to consider in living in urban Indy.

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