NewsArts & Culture / March 17, 2014

Expansive Exhibit Arrives At IMA

Jill Sheridan
Expansive Exhibit Arrives At IMA

You never know when you'll encounter part of Julianne Swartz's exhibition at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. 

Whether you're washing your hands in the ground floor restroom, or pressing your ear to the light blue tubing spanning all three floors of the museum, "How Deep Is Your" provides unexpected momements of art. 

The show serves as the first career survey of Swartz's work.  IMA curator Rachael Arauz says her viewpoint comes from a conceptual and minimalistic background.

"Any really smart, intelligent artist like Julianne is thinking about precedence and work that has come before them," says Arauz. "Julianne has responded to that long history of modern art with really beautiful complexities."

Often playful and light but also solemn and earnest, her work employs photography, sculpture, installation and sound.  Swartz says she first started exploring the sound of art through music and then sought other audio sources to expose emotion.

"I thought a lot about the voice," explains Swartz, "how the voice is an extension of the body, it's like the only part of our body that doesn't walk around with us."

One piece in the exhibit, "Loop," features an intricate webbing of wires and speakers that broadcast a library of sound that Swartz has cataloged for many years.

"It's meant to be meditative," says Arauz. "There will be a bench in this room and visitors are invited to sit down and really listen; and the longer you listen to it and experience it, certain sounds are picked up as familiar to you."

Visitors will be able to explore and often interact with the art work that often urges contemplation. Blending high and low tech materials, Swartz's seemingly simple arrangements encompass a variety of humanistic themes.

"She doesn't just give you the happy, sweet stuff," says Arauz, "she really gives an edge to it, she explores that edge and the complexity of how we experience things."

The exhibition is free to experience at the IMA through mid June.