A&E: Bend it like Bob Lang: Origami at the IMA

March 17, 2008

Like the people who can solve a Rubik's Cube behind their backs, origami artists have thought processes the rest of us mere mortals can't fathom. Even more so than with chess masters, it's difficult not to be awed by people who can think 50 steps ahead in order to make recognizably representational beasts out of paper, without the use of scissors.

The new Indianapolis Museum of Art exhibition "Squares-Folds-Life: Contemporary Origami by Robert J. Lang" (through July 20) illustrates the skill, the limitations and the difficulty of the art. The skill is demonstrated by Lang's work, which ranges from the rerepresentational to the gloriously geometrical. The limitations are clear when one realizes how quickly seeing these statically displayed creations makes one a little numb to their intricate work. And the difficulty will be unquestionable once you take a seat in the lab and try one on your own. All in all, a great use of the Star Studio space.

A stop at "Square One" offers an easy way to sample the work of more than 35 artists housed in the Stutz Business Center. Showcased in the new Stutz Art Space Gallery (a little tricky to find on the first floor but this is a great place to get lost in).

For this show, the mandate was to create a work in a 16-inch-by-16-inch format. Some highlights: Kate Oberreich isolates a home in shades of yellow, Biagio Azzarelli uses a partial square to frame a bronze violinist (the frame itself was created by Stutz Artist Vincent Davis), Lynn Andalman creates a landscape/wound in an untitled piece, and Michael Swolsky expands the form with his metal, copper, brass and steel "70 Square." All in all, a solid appetizer for the entrée that will be this year's Stutz Artists Open House. Mark your calendar now for April 25-26.

This column appears weekly. Send information on upcoming arts and entertainment events to lharry@ibj.com.
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