Enchanters, new work by Kyle Ragsdale
One of the things I love about working at the Harrison Center is looking forward to the things that have become part of the rhythm of our organization—the open studio nights that happen every March, May, September and December; the June and December INDIEana Handicraft Exchange shows; the annual Independent Music + Art Festival; FoodCon; and the solo show by our curator and HCA studio artist, Kyle Ragsdale, that takes place each November. There is no escaping the excited anticipation that comes each fall as we wait to see what new direction his work will take. And he never disappoints. Dramatic, fanciful, sometimes otherworldly, his style is instantly recognizable, but also ever-changing.
The work you’ll see Friday, November 1st in the Harrison Gallery was created in response to a recent trip to the artist’s boyhood home in New Mexico. In fact, the title for the show, Enchanters, comes from the New Mexico state motto "The Land of Enchantment.” During his visit to Ghost Ranch, Ragsdale “witnessed views of Georgia O’Keefe’s wild, rugged landscapes and journeyed to old chapels with mystical healing qualities.” This took his work in a new direction, capturing “spiritual forces that work together for our good.” The familiar, Victorian figures of his recent work are present, but they and their surroundings have changed. Rather than free-floating in the air, they now appear to be riding “satellites,” angular, architectural, hard-edged forms that carry these angelic warriors through space. Ragsdale sees this new work as both a continuation of his figurative work and an exploration into new ways of creating.
In the Gallery Annex is a collection of paintings and drawings that build on the work from the 2012 exhibit, “Tableaux”. Using yards of billowing silk and long poles as props for a cast of characters that includes Herron High School students and King Park Area residents, Ragsdale creates intriguing narratives that draw viewers in without giving too much away. These paintings give us a new way of looking at and celebrating the familiar surroundings of our urban neighborhoods.
We hope you will join us along with our partner for the event, historicindianapolis.com, Friday, November 1st from 6 to 9pm. If you can’t make it to the opening, visit us Monday through Friday between 9 and 5. The work hangs through November 27th.