U of Indy Art Gallery Offers Retrospective on Indiana Artist

Kevin Vogel | Arts, Etc. Editor


When members of the Butler University community think “art,” the first thing that comes to mind might be the Jordan College of the Arts.

This is  probably closely followed by the Indianapolis Museum of Art, which is fortunately located practically at our doorstep.

Some may have even made trips to see the rotating exhibits at Clowes Memorial Hall or galleries in Broad Ripple or downtown.

Few, one imagines, are familiar with the gallery work of Butler’s neighbor to the south, the University of Indianapolis.

U of I has a fine performing and visual art center of its own, the Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center and Ruth Lilly Performance Hall.

The DeHaan Center, located at 1400 E. Hanna Ave., features a handful of changing exhibits throughout the school year.

Its current exhibition, “30-Year Retrospective: Paintings & Works on Paper,” features works by Gregory Huebner, emeritus professor of art at Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Ind.

The works span a little more than 30 years, from 1981 through 2014.

The paintings in the small gallery strike the viewer as exceedingly organic. Huebner’s use of texture, brushstroke and the contrast of color work both to illuminate and obscure.

It is as if one is looking at an object at once from a distance and from up close.

“These compositions, be they aggressive or contemplative, deal with harmonizing very divergent structural opposites,” Huebner wrote in a statement about the works in this gallery.

“The search for harmony and balance through the act of painting continues in my work to this day and I expect it always will.”

The gallery itself only takes about a half hour to explore at a reasonable pace.

For being small, however, this exhibition offers a lot of depth and is well worth the 20-minute trip from Butler.

Included for visitors is an essay by art historian Hipólito Rafael Chacón on the work of Huebner and a photo collection of works that were exhibited at Wabash College’s fine arts center in 1993 as part of a 20-year retrospective.

“Gregory Huebner’s contribution to contemporary painting transcends the Modern obsession with new techniques, forms and subject matter,” Chacón wrote.

“He does not paint for the sake of art history nor the hopes of future fame, but rather to satisfy a powerful inner need to know, to feel, to understand the present.”

Huebner paints with an abstract visual language, but his works still have a very tangible form, which stretches the mind’s eye to  pursue the elusive kernel of each piece.

The “louder” paintings are balanced by almost minimalistic canvasses, where Huebner relies on subletly and emphasizes shape and color relations.

“30-Year Retrospective” will be on exhibit through Feb. 7. The gallery is open weekdays from 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. and is free to attend.

Visitors to the Christel DeHaan Center should also take time to examine the works that are on display outside the gallery, a humble hodgepodge of styles.

The works include an etching by Rembrandt, a Japanese landscape painting and modern sculptures.

A complete list of exhibitions that the art gallery will host this semester is available online at www.uindy.edu/arts/art-gallery-schedule.