Arts » Visual Arts

Review: Institutions at the Harrison


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3.5 stars

Harrison Gallery at the Harrison Center for the Arts.

This show, featuring Austin Dickson’s digital photography, gives you a kaleidoscopic view of downtown Indianapolis but in more than just one particular sense. That is, you get to see a wide variety of downtown buildings that define the urban center and you also get to view these buildings through a kaleidoscopic lens thanks to Dickson’s manipulation with Photoshop software.

In “Institutions #10” you see the capitol building taking the form of a four-petal flower. There’s no ground level in this particular representation; there’s just a central point where the entire structure folds in on itself. There’s no particular horizon here either since the entire mass is surrounded by sky.

With Dickson’s photos of more modern buildings you get a more geometrically simple, sharper type of image such as the rendering of the Simon Building on Washington St. (“Institutions #1”). Here you see an upside down pyramid of glass and steel, like a spaceship for mall magnates, unmoored to the earth.

You can argue, like some of my photographer friends, that such images verge on cliché because of the ease of use of digital manipulation technology. They have a point. But never before this show have I seen the particulars of the Indy skyline portrayed in such a mind-bending way.

Through April 29th.


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