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Calm the March Madness with First Friday

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Wow, it's already March?

One-sixth of the year is already gone, it's allegedly warming up a little and March Madness is on tap. But before you stress out over crafting the perfect bracket and go comatose from watching too much uninterrupted college basketball, you should go get a shot of culture. It's only healthy before you end up sprawled out on the couch before a sepulchral pile of chicken wing bones, screaming yourself raw because some tiny Jesuit liberal arts school no one had even heard of depth-charges any hope you had of winning your office pool.

Of course, First Friday has got you covered. Acrylics, Joseph Campbell-inspired 3D prints, and portraits of American Apparel models appear at all the usual galleries and alternative spaces like the Rapp Family Gallery at the Indiana Landmarks Center and--for the first time -- the Cerulean Restaurant in CityWay.

Culinary art

In its First Friday debut, Cerulean Restaurant (339 S. Delaware St.) will display the work of Phil O'Malley in its bar. He's worked for decades in a variety of media, including fine art, culinary art, architectural design and graphic design.

"Since we opened, Cerulean has always been focused on highlighting local farmers' ingredients in our dishes," says Andrew Teramoto, a Maitre d' who helped organize the program. "We thought the same should apply to the art on our walls. Indianapolis has an excellent art scene and we wanted to be a part of it. We wanted our restaurant's d├ęcor to inspire conversation and Phil's works are doing just that."

Jonathan McAfee's "Classical Waste" exhibit at Gallery 924 features portraits of American Apparel models. - COURTESY OF JONATHAN MCAFEE
  • Courtesy Of Jonathan McAfee
  • Jonathan McAfee's "Classical Waste" exhibit at Gallery 924 features portraits of American Apparel models.

Made in America

Portraits of American Apparel models will be on display in the Classical Waste exhibit at Gallery 924 (924 N. Pennsylvania St.). Artist Jonathan McAfee has done portraits of Kurt Vonnegut and Biggie Smalls, and he has long been interested in the history of portraiture. He recently turned his focus to the wan, listless and blank-eyed American Apparel models that have been splashed across full-page ads in alt weeklies and magazines. McAfee explores modern views on masculinity and femininity in a historical context.

"Jonathan McAfee is well known locally for his bold and colorful gestural portraits of celebrities, mostly the creative type, such as musicians and artists," Gallery 924 Director Shannon Linker says. "His new work, a series called 'Classical Waste,' references his love of portraiture in a new way -- exploring product and portraiture through the lens of a contemporary mass appeal aesthetic -- namely the American Apparel advertisements the paintings are based upon."

Parrish Cooper (whose studio is shown here) will unveil a new piece at the Art Bank Friday. - COURTESY OF PARRISH COOPER
  • Courtesy of Parrish Cooper
  • Parrish Cooper (whose studio is shown here) will unveil a new piece at the Art Bank Friday.

An unveiling

At around 7:30 p.m. fine-oil painter Parrish Cooper will unveil an addition of a large-scale portrait to her Echoes of Change exhibit, which is the featured show at the Art Bank (811 Mass Ave.). Cooper, who paints portraits and abstracts, regularly hosts critiques at the gallery to give other artists feedback that might help them grow.

"What I most enjoy is having the opportunity to be of help to other artists," Cooper says. "When I was a student at Herron School of Art and Design, I could see that the critiques that we participated with on a regular basis were of great help to all of the art students. When artists 'complete' an artwork, they are often temporarily blind to what might improve the work, but seeing it through the eyes of other artists is extremely helpful in becoming a better artist."

For a good cause

The Franklin Barry Gallery at The Frame Shop (617 Mass Ave.) will showcase Duane Opheim's Heart Mind Soul to benefit the Damien Center, which provides care to persons with AIDS or those infected by HIV. Opheim, a Herron graduate and client of the center, painted stylized cityscapes, representational subjects and abstract expressionism. He was represented by the gallery until he died in 1993.

The Viewfinder Project, an organization that aims to teach children photography, will display work at the Harrison Center for the Arts this First Friday. - COURTESY OF THE VIEWFINDER PROJECT
  • Courtesy of the Viewfinder Project
  • The Viewfinder Project, an organization that aims to teach children photography, will display work at the Harrison Center for the Arts this First Friday.

Viewfinding

The Harrison Center for the Arts (1505 N. Delaware St.) hosts many shows, including new exhibits by Kate Oberreich, Bryan Tisdale, Josh Rush, and The Viewfinder Project, a photographic show in Hank & Dolly's Gallery that challenges people to think creatively and see differently. As if that's not enough, visitors can poke their heads into more than 30 artist studios and hear Chad Caroland play music celebrating Indy's urban underground.

Left behind in the wake of loss

Indianapolis-based artist Robert Allen James, who has participated in Oranje, Indy Visual Fringe and Tonic Ball Tonic Gallery, under the name Robaljam, will show his exhibit The Articles ofLoss at the Rapp Family Gallery in the Indiana Landmarks Center (1201 Central Ave.). His acrylic paintings reflect on decay and loss.

"A house doesn't become obsolete, but it can be abandoned by those who once held it as the symbol of a new life and future," James says. "Using a collage of scraps from everyday life as canvas, I paint images that try to reflect the spiritual adversities we endure. This happens to each of us, and how we adapt to these events informs who we are. I am fascinated by what gets left behind in the wake of loss."

"Skybear" by Robert Allen James will be on display at the Rapp Family Gallery at the Indiana Landmarks Center. - PHOTO COURTESY OF INDIANA LANDMARKS
  • Photo Courtesy of Indiana Landmarks
  • "Skybear" by Robert Allen James will be on display at the Rapp Family Gallery at the Indiana Landmarks Center.

Exhibit with 1,000 Faces

More than 25 artists will take part in a group show inspired by the work of comparative mythologist Joseph Campbell at the Indy Indie Artist Colony (26 E. 14th St.). Gallery director Bobbie Zaphiriou gathered work in a wide range of media that includes clay vessels and performance art for Monsters, Myth &Mayhem.

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