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Voir Art: 'Sacred Geometry'

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Slavik (l) and Severns have collaborated on jam bands and now, art. Photo by Mark Lee
  • Slavik (l) and Severns have collaborated on jam bands and now, art. Photo by Mark Lee

Andrew Severns and Michael Slavik used to jam together in various bands, so it's fitting their upcoming art show, Sacred Geometry, will have a musical element. And don't be surprised if the beats DJ K. Sabroso and DJ Vinnie B scratch out have a galactic, ethereal quality.

"Usually the DJs do some music that goes along with the art," says Severns, who in addition to being co-founder of the Voir Art de Fletcher gallery and a graphic designer, is an artist whose primary medium is spray paint.

Severns portrays subatomic processes against the blackness of empty space in his new paintings. His inspiration comes from such books as the Dali Lama's The Universe in a Single Atom and this inspiration is apparent in the painting entitled "Exchange." Severns describes this spray paint on canvas painting as "a visual representation of what goes on at the quantum level.

Severns' 'Exchange' features the geometric intricacies his work highlights.
  • Severns' 'Exchange' features the geometric intricacies his work highlights.

"Recently my art's been towards experimenting with a lot of geometry," he continues. "I have a new technique I call gridding." With this stenciling technique, Severns incorporates the complex geometry of the subatomic universe in his paintings.

In contrast, Michael Slavik finds his own sacred geometry in the places of worship around Indy. Slavik photographs these sites using a mix of film and digital photography.

"Sacred Geometry is sort of the idea of pairing opposites and trying to show the connections between them like, for instance, math and religion," says Slavik. "It really struck me of connecting the idea of geometry to fit into the show. It seemed to me that there's a bunch of religious places here in Indianapolis and I wanted to go there and... study the physical places where people choose to express their faith and see how the architecture and just the space relates to their idea of religion."

So when Slavik discovered there was a local Vietnamese Buddhist temple, he felt compelled to go there.

"I just happened to stumble in there one Saturday morning trying to get some pictures from across the street or just take a look at it," he says. The congregants, he says, were extremely welcoming and not only allowed him to photograph whatever he wanted in the temple, but invited him to a free vegetarian pitch in lunch.

One particular photograph, shot on the An Lac Temple grounds, portrays a statue of a laughing Buddha under the incomplete shade of a tree. Beyond the sun-dappled Buddha, you can see the temple. You might glance at the photograph and think; nice composition, nice contrasts, but what's the big deal?

Work by Michael Slavik as part of 'Sacred Geometry.'
  • Work by Michael Slavik as part of 'Sacred Geometry.'

However, between the laughing Buddha and the temple there is a car. It's impossible by looking at the photograph to know whether this car is parked or moving. So there is an element of mystery to this photograph you could describe as a sort of visual Zen riddle. It just might, if you're in the right frame of mind, make you wonder who -- if anyone -- steers things in our universe.

Voir Art de Fletcher history

The first VoirArt de Fletcher show was on Friday, Jan. 7 in a house on Fletcher Street in the Fountain Square neighborhood where Severns lived at the time.

"My roommate and I, J. Chin, we'd been in art for a while," recalls Severns. "We decided to start doing showings. We just wanted to bring people together and make something happen."

That first show featured work by J. Chin and Severns -- as well as the sounds of DJ Metrognome, K. Sabraso and Turtle Matt. After three more shows, and a great response from the Indy art community, Voir Art outgrew its Fletcher Street venue. (Now that shows are no longer taking place in the old Fletcher St. location, the gallery's name has been shortened to Voir Art).

The May First Friday show, Urban Fantasy, featuring work by woodcut artist Brad Taylor, took place instead in the basement gallery of the Murphy Building known as TheIdentityComplex.

A number of other artists have been featured by Voir Art this year, including A.M. Harlow, Justin Cooper, Ryan Freeman, C.S. Kobets, and the Fab Crew.

In June, Voir Art moved next door to Served Café/Bistro, located at 4638 E. 10th Street adjacent to the Emerson Theater. In addition to having first Saturday events in this particular location VoirArt will also participate in the First Friday by hosting events closer to well-trodden venues. (See infobox.)

Working collaboratively

Severns and Slavik both attended Broad Ripple High School, but were in different grades and didn't become friends until years later. Severns graduated in 2000 and went on to found his own graphic design business, AS Design & Marketing. Slavik, a couple years younger than Severns, is now working towards a degree in photo-communications at St. Edward's University in Austin, Texas.

"I took this summer off," says Slavik. "And I spent some time in Indy reconnecting with a bunch of people. I was talking with Andy. I knew he had been deeper into the Voir de Fletcher Gallery and he had posted things online. He knew I was pursuing photography. So it kind of just came together like that. "

They bounced ideas off one another. "Mike had the idea of documenting different churches," says Severns, "And I had already had this idea in my mind about doing a sacred geometry themed show so it kind of came together naturally."

NOTE:

Voir Art, also featuring the work of the artists Izaak Hayes, Wes Slayton, Nick Moon and the photography by Ben 'Kahlil' Rose, as well as the stylings of live DJs, will have shows on two consecutive nights in two different locations. See infobox for details.

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