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“Praise is Such Meager Fare”

South Bend's Spurious Fugitive, "Rolled Out" show, and more…

By Dan Swartz

Fort Wayne Reader

2009-03-23


After more than four years of a continuous program of exhibitions and events, the South Bend based Spurious Fugitive Gallery will be closing its doors. While this may not initially seem like a pressing issue to Fort Wayne’s art scene, the fact that this was one of only a handful of private contemporary art galleries in the region makes its closing much more relevant. The Spurious Fugitive represents two of Fort Wayne’s most promising artists, Audrey Riley, former graphic designer and current fine artist and Justin Henry Miller, an accomplished painter and professor at the University of St. Francis.

Spurious Fugitive was the brainchild of artist and curator Scott L. Hatt and embodied the white cube, international contemporary art gallery principles that one can find in most major metropolitan centers. Solo and group exhibitions here regularly featured artists from both coasts and throughout the nation. The fact that this gallery was located on the Colfax Art Corridor in Southbend, IN, and survived as long as it did is significant. This shows that the Midwest is more receptive to the very challenging nature of contemporary art, and not only that, but that there is even a market for it here. If not for the South Bend/Elkhart areas double-digit unemployment and general economic situation, who knows what the Spurious Fugitive would bring us.

Spurious Fugitive’s current and final show “Praise is such Meager Fare” opened March 6th and will be closing on the 21st of March. This terminal exhibition includes the works of Alan Larkin, Jason Cytacki, Adam Benjamin Fung, Leonard Gridley, Scott L. Hatt, Merna Holloway, Eugene Larkin, David Lester Learn, Justin Henry Miller, Philip Petrie, Botond Reszegh, Tim Vermeulen and Heath Yenna. No matter how meager, this whole pursuit, executed wonderfully deserves much praise for the doors which have been opened by the Spurious Fugitive, and which will hopefully stay open for the regional community, and for others to ambitiously open art spaces which bring the rest of the world to Northeast Indiana and create dialogues about art and our culture as a whole.

The Spurious Fugitive, LLC: A Postmodern Galley
114 West Colfax Avenue, South Bend, Indiana 46601
www.spuriousfugitive.com


Thankfully, one of Fort Wayne’s oldest art spaces, Artlink, is not only staying open during our current economic downturn, but continues to provide quality shows representing artists locally and throughout our region. Artlink’s current exhibition, “Glass”, features approximately 15 artists representing many different forms of glass based art works. This exhibition also includes works on loan from a private collector.

While many of the pieces in this show exhibit masterful control over this ancient art form, the stained glass pieces by Aston Prespent, and the sculptural vessels of Steve Sizelove were the most impressive. Prespent’s pieces “Swan” and “Angel” have timeless art nouveau patterns and colors, which, when illuminated, would impress the most philistine of audiences. Steven Sizelove, on the other hand, utilizes glass’ malleability and shape shifting textural capacities to create intricate and visibly delicate vessels, two of which contain figures as well. “Strong Woman Vessel” is a compact very vivid yellow vessel with an almost impossibly fluted pedestal extending upward, which supports a dancing female figure. The grace of Sizelove’s constructions is incomparable.

Artlink’s Glass exhibit will be open through April 8th. Also make sure to check out Andrea Dailey’s photographs in the Hallway gallery.

Last but certainly not least, remember to mark your calendars for “Rolled Out: A Poster Show”, which is going to be happening at 816 Pint N Slice, the great little pizza joint on Calhoun between Berry and Wayne has also become a great venue for the local art and music scene. “Rolled Out”, which is being organized by local graphic designer and artist Shaun Malinowski, will be a collection of poster artwork from bands and other events. Artists include Malinowski, Jake Sauer, Matt Kelley, Nate Utesch, Bob Storey and Eric Stine. More and more contemporary art and graphic design are blurring the definitions of function and expression. This is an awesome way of exhibiting the immense design talents we have in Fort Wayne, and to get the two adjacent social circles of advertising/marketing, and the arts to merge a bit.

“Rolled Out: A Poster Show”, 816 Pint N Slice on March 28th from 7-10pm.

Although all artists are acutely aware that they cannot continue to create and live on praise alone, it is a sad reality that in the early stages of the construction of a vital art scene, praise is many times the only fare available. As art spaces and events continue to come and go, it is important to remember the artists involved, and not just the institutions which they work through. Artists and the works they create, being the economic cogs of any art market, many times go unnoticed in times of great need as people scurry to keep the buildings which house art in order. This can be devastating to careers and creativities, and is many times irreparable, compared to the galleries and institutions which many times have much more “padding” to get them through the harder times.

It is so important to remember the arts in seemingly desperate times, because it is the arts, and the innovative ways of experiencing the world which comes from them that supports us most in our times of need and provides us with new ways to live happily. Please remember to support local arts organizations like Arts United which provide support for many other organizations throughout the region, organizations like Artlink which provide a means for exhibition of many artists throughout the region, and events like “Rolled Out”, which are put together by artists and are great places to get a great deal on new works, and to experience the community which comes along with any creative practice.

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