"The Indigo Show" at Recspec Gallery

This group show is appealing for the ways in which it showcases this most intense, moody, serene, and opulent of all the blues

Blue Is True by Heather Sundquist Hall

Blue has the honor of being the most favored of favorite colors. Unfortunately for many admirers, it has historically also been one of the most difficult pigments to produce, found rarely in nature, and reserved for the rich and royal. Present-day azure-ophiles suffer far less, though, with synthetic dyes in abundance and even natural pigments easier to produce on a greater level. Of all the blues, perhaps the most intense, most moody and wallowing, most serene and opulent, is indigo.

Recspec Gallery's current group show, "The Indigo Show," curated by jewelry maker and artist Holly Bobisuthi, chooses a common thread dyed this deepest blue. Bobisuthi's eye for little treasures turns here from metals to a color theme and, personally, textiles. She contributes to the show The Blue Dress. Hand-dyed and handsewn, the fabric sculpture as it hangs on the wall looks far from wearable but is undeniably beautiful and enticing, a tumble of dyed cotton pocked with minuscule and varying shades of blue stitches, framed by an embroidery hoop, seemingly still in progress.

The 17 artists gathered by Bobisuthi tackle the prompt from a variety of viewpoints and mediums. There is tattoo ink on skin (Annie Alonzi and Eric Redpath's Blue Lady blushes cornflower in a photo of the inkwork on someone's arm), a large whirlpool of midnight-glazed ceramic (Jenn Lamb's Forces Act Upon It serves as a reflection of the endless blues we associate with both above and below, a stoneware portal), and adorable gouache paintings (Heather Sundquist Hall's waterscape Blue Is True, where rock, water, and sky surround an eerie, almost glowing swan boat in a flood of blue), to name a few.

In hearing the name of the show, one expects things of luxury and melancholy, with hints of otherworldliness. As rare in auras as it is in the natural world, an important aspect of indigo is its sacredness. This spring, I had my aura photographed and read and discovered an indigo patch in my aura pulsing just over my heart, indicating, I was told, a deep intuition and spirituality. Mary Grisey's Anima/Animus Talisman channels the transmundane hue's throbbing devotion. The sculpture hangs from a heavy-looking chain and hook, evoking the ascetic violence of a whip and a rough-hewn piety. Created from handwoven linen and horsehair, the gathered fibers are stained bruising blue-black-brown with indigo, quebracho, rust, and black walnut dyes.

Joni Mitchell, whose color-titled albums pull exclusively from the blue family, prefaced "indigo" with "turbulent" in her 1994 album title. OPI, the nail polish brand, went with "indignantly indigo" when naming their bluish-purpley-black polish shade. Really, though, the color needs no adjective. Indigo alone implies all that it needs to, and so "The Indigo Show" is perfectly concise and perfectly timed. In late August, when the air is thick and stifling and time stretches like a heat mirage, I can think of little more appealing than a cool room with beautiful objects and pools, or thimblefuls, of indigo.

“The Indigo Show”

Recspec Gallery, 2832 E. MLK
Through Sept. 8

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Recspec Gallery, Holly Bobisuthi, Annie Alonzi, Eric Redpath, Jenn Lamb, Heather Sundquist Hall, Mary Grisey

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