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Double Vision

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The curators are handing over the reins to the artists at the Indianapolis Art Center's December exhibition, Double Vision.  In a typical art show, curators select the artists and the works, but out of the 10 creators participating in this one, the Art Center only chose five and told them to bring their favorite pieces and a friend.

“Stack” Watershed Clay, Palette, Milk Paint by Meredith Brickell
  • “Stack” Watershed Clay, Palette, Milk Paint by Meredith Brickell

The curators chose the artists they did based on the strength and range of their work. Then those selected suggested other artists to be included in the show. Their only requirement was that they be based in central Indiana. For the show, each artist was asked to display something new from their collections that excites them. So the curators did not see the art until it showed up to be exhibited. It's an incredible act of trust, and it's resulted in an eclectic collection of innovative work.

The minds behind the show are the IAC's Director of Exhibitions & Artist Services Patrick Flaherty and Exhibitions Associate Kyle Herrington. Instead of providing a cohesive view of one person's vision, they wanted to offer visitors a panoramic shot of what was possible for artists right here and now.

"This is a celebration of taking a chance on local artists," says Flaherty of the show that has mediums as varied as photo-realistic drawings, abstract assemblages and site-specific installations. The final list of artists includes Lesley Baker (ceramics), Devin Balara (fiber art), Rachel Baxter (printmaking), John Berry (painting), Meredith Brickell (installation), Joseph Crone (drawing), Martha Macleish (3D), John McKee (2D), Andrew Nafziger (2D) and Kipp Normand (Assemblage).

“Domestic Settlement” Wood and Fabric by Devin Balara
  • “Domestic Settlement” Wood and Fabric by Devin Balara

Letting half of the artists pick their fellow exhibitors wasn't just a gimmick; it was an attempt to broaden the range of art in the show. While they know many artists in the area, they're always eager to find more.

"We're always going to local and regional shows looking at artists, but there are some out there that we still don't know," says Herrington. "Sometimes the best way to find out about them is through other artists."

The IAC has drawn talent from all over the country for previous shows, but they wanted to find local creatives for this one. They wanted to eliminate the stigma sometimes associated with "regional" artists.

"These are regional people; they are making a living in art right here," says Herrington. "Sometimes there's a separation between 'legitimate high artists' and regional artists. But these are people making work that stands up on a national level. They are making a living doing what they're doing without compromising their work or vision."

"These are people making original work that's important to them," says Flaherty. "People making work with art in mind first."

“Spirit Tree” Oil on Canvas by John Berry
  • “Spirit Tree” Oil on Canvas by John Berry

In uncovering new talent, the Art Center is not just thinking about variety for the sake of the general public, but it hopes to inspire its students as well.

"What we're challenged to do, is bring our students in front of something other than what they expect," says Flaherty. "It doesn't necessarily need to be shocking. What does Leslie Baker's work bring to them that they might not be thinking of on a daily basis?"

Double Vision is an ambitious show that succeeds in tying together varied and disparate pieces into a collage of visual art in central Indiana. While it'd be impossible to capture everything that is going on in the region, the show will hopefully pique the interest of visitors and students alike.

"Another way to look at it," says Herrington, "is that it shows how artists can come together as a community and support each other. I think that's something that we have here in Central Indiana that you might not be able to find in other places."

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