February’s First Friday to include four exhibits opening at Big Car

The Tube Factory artspace will unleash no fewer than three exhibits on to the public on First Friday, Feb. 4, with a fourth opening at Listen Hear, the Big Car Collaborative’s nearby sound art studio space. The exhibits will remain open for nearly two months to give the public more opportunities to see the exhibitions amid ongoing pandemic conditions. Masks are required for all visitors.

The exhibitions will inspire a second First Friday reception from 6 to 10 p.m. March 4. Those exhibits are:

* Scenes From The Carbon Border. Laura Foster Nicholson’s handwoven tapestries will illuminate the paths taken by the goods we purchase.

* A Southern Horror. Kris Graves will present photographs of memorials, monuments, and sites of the antebellum South and the Confederacy. The exhibit will be presented by Aurora PhotoCenter.

* Process/Progress. Kelvin Burzon and Jenny Delfuego collaborate on this exhibit to be presented in collaboration with Indy Movement Arts. Burzon’s recent work addresses, but does not attempt to resolve, the tension between religion and homosexuality. He examines religion’s traditions, imagery, theatricality, and psychological vestige. Delfuego examines ephemerality, light and shadow, and the edges of impermanence. The exhibit includes a performance at 6 p.m. Friday, March 26. Tickets are required.

* Art and Vinyl. At Listen Hear, Snuggy Bear will present an exhibition featuring Amber Zuri Keel, Kendia Lovelady and Harriet Watson. “For this exhibition I wanted to create comfort while stepping outside of who and what I am accustomed to,” said Dr. Dortch, aka “Snuggy Bear.” “The artists were chosen based on their differing approaches as it pertains to medium, subject matter and artistic styles which represent the diversity of the Black woman who so often are subjected to the monolithic categorizations and restrictive boxes created by the mainstream media and the patriarchal society as a whole.”

artwork above: Laura Foster Nicholson’s Hanjin, made of wool, mylar and cotton.

Nicholson used “warming stripes” to indicate long-term warming trends.

Here’s more on the four exhibitions, as provided by Big Car:

* Scenes From The Carbon Border: From the hands of a young person in China, to a shipping container crossing the Suez Canal, to a semi-truck driver transporting containers cross country, to people at the big box or mom and pop who unload them, to everyone going to the stores to buy things. These are carbon borders we’ve created 一 our feet, our cars, trains, planes, streets, and sidewalks all in motion. These borders both connect and divide us.
Two years ago, driving from her home in the southwest Indiana community of New Harmony to Chicago, artist Laura Foster Nicholson — a textile artist known for her handwoven tapestries — paused to notice the landscapes from our carbon borders. And the work she began creating then offers us — in this exhibition — a view of the path taken by the goods we purchase. This is often unseen and costs the world more than what’s listed on the price tag. And these carbon borders separate us from the people who made many of the items with which we live and adorn ourselves.
Nicholson noticed the cost to the environment and ultimately ourselves. She began incorporating these aspects in her works, calling attention to disasters and accidents along these borders, reminding us of the seen and unseen dangers of our way of life. “I watched the Wabash swell annually, frequently inundating the fields, sometimes filling basements, and once in a while warranting the efforts of the National Guard to sandbag around the New Harmony Inn. This past couple of weeks, texts have updated me regularly about extending the flash flood warning for the area,” Nicholoson said.
With this, we can pause to consider the invisible people and places behind items we consume and the inevitable disasters that result from the journeys. As each piece takes many hours to create, Nicholson’s work gives us access to our connectedness as humans instead of being based on consumerism and the whims of market research and algorithms. “As an artist, I am first visually inspired: the reflections in the water of these structures, foretelling the future, reflecting the past,” Nicholson continued..
This work reminds us that though we say the world has become smaller, we have become more distant from one another. No longer do we know all the hands that touched the objects we use to define ourselves. These tapestries are scenes from the carbon borders driven by our consumption and connecting us like the threads of her works.
Nicholson’s artwork is in several museum collections, including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, and the Denver Art Museum. With a BFA from Kansas City Art Institute and MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art, she has lectured, taught, and exhibited in the US, Canada and Italy. She has been awarded an NEA fellowship, the Leone di Pietra prize at the Venice Biennale of Architecture, three Illinois Arts Council fellowships, and a grant from the Graham Foundation for Research in the Fine Arts. Most recently she was awarded the Dehaan Artist of Distinction grant.

* A Southern Horror: Kris Graves creates artwork that deals with societal problems and aims to use art as a means to inform people about cultural issues. He also works to elevate the representation of people of color in the fine art canon; and to create opportunities for conversation about race, representation, and urban life. Graves creates photographs of landscapes and people to preserve memory.
Said Graves: “In Summer 2020 a collective uprising rooted in local civic engagements ricocheted around the world in response to the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers. It relied on one of the central pillars of Democracy—peaceful protest. Although grounded in the particular, the embodied actions of the multitudes illuminated larger universal questions of basic human rights and dignity in the 21st century. The echo of empathy, anger, and pain born from the eight minutes and 46 seconds of viral video that captured Floyd’s passing, resonated not only in the United States, but in ongoing struggles across the globe. While this was going on, I photographed memorials, monuments, and sites of the antebellum South and the Confederacy. My friend Marshall (@fu64) and I drove approximately 4000 miles across eight southern states making photographs of every site we could find. Some have been removed, most remain in place.”
A Southern Horror is primarily a series of 175 non fungible tokens. “NFTs” are unique digital files that can be owned. While any person can replicate the artwork through screenshot or other means, NFTs are designed to give the purchaser ownership of the work. For example anyone can own a Mona Lisa print but there is only one owner of the actual painting. 
Graves is an artist and publisher based in New York and California. He received his BFA in Visual Arts from S.U.N.Y. Purchase College and has been published and exhibited globally, including Museum of Modern Art, New York; Getty Institute, Los Angeles; and National Portrait Gallery in London, England; among others. Permanent collections include the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Getty Institute, Schomburg Center, Whitney Museum, Guggenheim Museum, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Brooklyn Museum; and The Wedge Collection, Toronto; amongst others. Graves also sits on the board of Blue Sky Gallery: Oregon Center for the Photographic Arts, Portland; and The Architectural League of New York as Vice President of Photography

* Process/Progress: Multi-genre visual artists Kelvin Burzon and Jenny Delfuego are creating movement-based work to accompany their visual art as part of a partnership between Big Car Collaborative and Indy Movement Arts. In the fall of 2020, Indy Movement Arts began experimenting with small, digital fellowships as a small contribution towards the arts economy and keeping artistic production viable. The Process/Progress residency is the latest iteration of this experiment, paying intermedia artists to reflect on their creative process and how they incorporate movement into their practice.
The residency was conceived as a digital one –  but given that Indy Movement Arts is rooted in movement and dance, a discipline that often involves some immediate interchange between artist and audience, the artists were commissioned in partnership between the two organizations to make a new work involving such an interchange.
Burzon’s recent work addresses, but does not attempt to resolve, the tension between religion and homosexuality. He examines religion’s traditions, imagery, theatricality, and psychological vestige. By appropriating religious imagery and language, the work is recontextualized by the insertion of LGBTQ members and activists. Burzon’s work has been exhibited abroad and all over the country and is part of several permanent collections including the Kinsey Institute and The Center for Photography at Woodstock.
Delfuego was born in Chicago to immigrant parents and has been exhibiting work under different monikers since the 90s. She examines ephemerality, light and shadow, and the edges of impermanence. The indications of our existence are often made and unmade in the time it takes to observe them. Her involvement with Indy Movement Arts has promoted experiments in communal conversation and collaboration. What marks, what indications do these conversations leave? Delfuego studied painting at Indiana University and her work is in private and corporate collections on five continents.

* Art and Vinyl: Said Dr. Jarrod Nicholas Dortch (aka Snuggy Bear), “For this exhibition (at Listen Hear) I wanted to create comfort while stepping outside of who and what I am accustomed to. The artists were chosen based on their differing approaches as it pertains to medium, subject matter and artistic styles which represent the diversity of the Black woman who so often are subjected to the monolithic categorizations and restrictive boxes created by the mainstream media and the patriarchal society as a whole.”
Largely underrepresented in museums and galleries, “Snuggy Bear is part of a movement of Black artists and curators who are hosting exhibits and creating work that shines a light on Black culture. He has been affiliated with Big Car as a community artist and gardener at the Tube Factory artspace. He is also a member of “The Eighteen,” a collective of local artists who made history by painting the #BlackLivesMatter mural on historic Indiana Avenue. Since this offering he has been part of exhibitions and programs at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis and The Indianapolis Art Center, curated Art and Vinyl, an annual celebration of Black art and music for Big Car and has received several grants to create artworks throughout the city. His work was displayed on downtown storefronts during the NCAA Men’s and Women’s College Basketball Tournament as part of #SWISH.

Dortch serves as both a professor of communication and a business owner. He owns and operates Solful Gardens, a natural produce provider in Central Indiana that brings quality food access to urban areas that are underserved with an overall focus on food equity. He also has created Snuggy Bear Presents as a way to further disrupt the status quo of contemporary and fine art. With roots in art, community, and education, Snuggy Bear is leveraging these disciplines to help promote personal and communal growth one bespoke curation at a time.
Amber Zuri is an Indy native and city-based artist. She has spent most of her life in pursuit of understanding and honing her creative practices. Growing up with a mother who is also a painter, Amber was exposed to an endless flow of both materials and the encouragement to use them as she saw fit. Over the years she has devoted herself to developing her own relationship to painting in order to discover her own voice. Emotion is the driving force behind her work. By giving herself permission to create as freely as possible, she is able to feel more herself and more at peace in a chaotic world. This persistent effort has afforded her the opportunity to share her work at a number of local galleries.
“These pieces are the result of deliberate intention. They are an abstract contemplation on communication. In a world where the way one represents oneself has manifested as a form of social currency; communication has become a vital skill. For my part, the language I understand best is that of line, shape, and color. With this work I am attempting to communicate an ease of spirit. We have all had a tumultuous couple of years. The best and most profound message I could try to communicate with my work at this time, is to choose peace, for yourself. Whenever and wherever you can. Your attention is yours to pay to whomever and whatever you choose. For the moment, I choose peace.”
Watson was born in Indianapolis, on Christmas Day 1994. She was adopted two days later and grew up with her family in Greencastle – a rural community with little to no diversity. Harriet found difficulties being biracial in a mainly white town. Throughout her life, she has never been content being conventional and doing what society expects of a biracial female. She simply enjoys being Harriet. Many of her early works are self-portraits, depicting herself in different environments, often surrealist with vibrant colors, and using many different types of 2-D mediums. After spending two years at Ohio Wesleyan University studying art and psychology, and nearly two years at Herron School of Art and Design, Harriet finished her degree at Indiana University, Bloomington, with a BA in psychology in 2020.
Today, Harriet is a working artist and is an active member of The Eighteen. Harriet enjoys painting portraits with acrylics and draws inspiration from Black female artists from the 70s. Harriet was selected as the first-place winner of drawing and painting at the 2013 S.W.O.P.E Student Exhibition. In 2020, she was placed alongside 17 other Black artists from Indianapolis and painted the “A” in “Matter” on the #BlackLivesMatter mural on Indiana Avenue. 
Kendia Lovelady a 21-year-old local abstract artist. Painting since before she can remember, she made her official artist debut, In The Eye of Genesis, in March of 2020 at the Hoy Polloy Art Gallery located on the Near East side. Since then she has taken a break from publishing her art after creating a life of her own, but don’t be mistaken she has never stopped creating. 6 months later she is now honored to be featured in Art and Vinyl 2022 presented by Snuggy Bear, where she hopes to inspire and connect with other creatives.
“I remember the day my father introduced me to the artwork of Jean-Michel Basquiat,” she said. “I was around the age of 11, and while looking over my latest piece he told me you could be the next Basquiat. I immediately asked who that was (they never spoke of him in any art class I ever attended) and he proceeded to show me some google images of his work. I vividly remember saying and I quote, “Those are scribbles and a kindergartner could draw that.” Now almost 11 years later I find myself being inspired religiously by the works of Basquiat. Inspired not only by his artwork, but his philosophies on life. Basquiat once said, ‘I don’t think about art when I’m working. I try to think about life.’ This quote represents everything I stand for as an artist today.”
Initially once I started painting I would always have an idea of what I was going to paint and from that idea came a sketch. I knew what colors I would use and I stayed within the lines of my sketches, everything had to be clean and close to perfection. I created these unrealistic standards and expectations for myself that eventually drove me into a depressed creative block. Then one day I stopped thinking about art and started thinking about life. I put down the brushes, picked up some paint and just started splattering it. Before that moment I thought art had to be a certain way and once I realized it didn’t everything about my work changed for the better. I didn’t stop with just splattering paints, I did things that made me feel like a child again. I tried finger painting, with a creative twist of course, I painted my feet and stomped on canvases. Any and everything I thought would be enjoyable I tried. Eventually I’d pick back up the brush but not to create a predetermined idea, I drew inspiration from music, current events, and life experiences then I let the brush lead me. I stopped caring about making clean and precise art pieces because my art is just that, my art and there is no rule book to how to create. Ever since that day I made a promise to myself that I would only paint again if I made the experience just as fun and expressive as that one, and I have been doing so ever since.
“ If there’s any message I want to get across with my story, it’s that there is no limit to creativity, think outside of the box and do whatever it is that brings you joy even if it’s just scribbles that a kindergartner could draw.” The Tube Factory artspace, located in the Garfield Park neighborhood, is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekends. Hours extend to 10 p.m. on First Fridays.