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Review: Doing it themselves at the IAC

6 young artists showcasing their work in the Indianapolis Art Center’s Winter Series Exhibition

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Peggy in a Power Suit,” “She’s a Mean Breed,” and “Sue in a Power Suit.”
  • Peggy in a Power Suit,” “She’s a Mean Breed,” and “Sue in a Power Suit.”


3.5 stars

Emily Gable is one of the six young artists showcasing her work in this group show, a part of the Indianapolis Art Center’s Winter Series Exhibition.

In addition to showing her work individually, Gable is a member of The Droops, an Indy-based art collective. You may have heard of the controversy that resulted last month when the group painted the exterior wall of The Spot, a bar in Lafayette, IN bar with a penis. That is, they included in their mural a depiction of a penis in a hotdog. Gable’s tryptic of acrylic on wood paintings at this exhibition isn’t quite so provocative. Nevertheless “Peggy in a Power Suit,” “She’s a Mean Breed,” and “Sue in a Power Suit,” create an interesting juxtaposition with the symmetric ovals radiating outward in the background (and with each other). Peggy is depicted right-side-up while Sue is depicted upside-down. Both Peggy and Sue, taking calls on their cell phones, are oblivious of the “mean breed” monster in the center. The depictions are abstracted and stylized, like you might find in a graphic novel. You might read ambivalence here to, for example, the go-getter feminism advocated by Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg in her book Lean in. Or at least irreverence, as if she was seeing this world through Ren and Stimpy cartoons running in Google Glass.

And that cartoonishness carries over into much of the work here. Take Eric Stine’s wall-hanging painted constructions. His “Composition 2” depicts a three-legged creature as abstractly as possible with a primary color palette. Or take Erin Drew whose mixed media/ hand-cut-paper  “Difficult Women Pop Up Poster” features a depiction of Nancy, from Ernie Bushmiller’s long-running Nancy comic strip. And while Drew might enjoy sticking it to art purists with text in her work like “Welcome Fuck,” it’s hard to see the message of said work, if there is such a thing, as anything but irreverence writ large.

Curator Kyle Herrington makes much of the fact that this work conforms to a DIY ethos, reveling in imperfection and eschewing “3D printers, wireless scanning and ever-evolving machinery,” according to his exhibition booklet text. A corollary might be that these likeminded artists have created a dialoguing community – in this sick, mechanized world – where irreverence is cultivated, an irreverence that largely avoids social commentary or premonitions of environmental apocalypse apparent in much of the work of their peers. 

Indianapolis Art Center through January 30, 2016

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