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A Beautiful Mind

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A friend’s ongoing recovery from a traumatic brain injury is the inspiration for A Beautiful Mind, an exhibition of new work by Indianapolis artist Elizabeth Guipe Hall that opens Feb. 5 in the Harrison Center for the Arts main gallery.

Hall’s medium is encaustic collage, which incorporates the centuries-old practice of applying molten beeswax and pigment to a surface and fusing successive layers together with heat and flame. Using wax as paint, adhesive and sealant, Hall composes in three dimensions, drawing and etching on the surfaces and juxtaposing collage elements that include original photographs, found images and handmade papers. The translucent layering creates a richness and depth not possible with standard painting and collage techniques.

In this case, the new pieces are assembled around medical illustrations and microscope images of the human nervous system and the brain’s network of neurons. The tree-like patterns are well suited to the interplay of organic and geometric images typical of Hall’s work. She will donate a portion of the show’s proceeds to an expense fund for Indy resident Nic Nihiser, who is miraculously regaining his faculties after being severely injured in a Sept. 19 hit-and-run accident downtown.

“Watching Nic’s recovery made me curious about the relationship between the physical brain and the intangible presence that we call ‘mind’ or ‘soul,’” says Hall, who keeps a studio at the Harrison Center. “When I did some research and saw these amazingly intricate patterns, I knew I had the basis for a new series of pieces.”

The opening reception for A Beautiful Mind is 6 to 9 p.m. Feb. 5 at the Harrison Center, 1505 N. Delaware St. Also opening at the “First Fridays” event is Menagerie, featuring new work by Allison Ford, Chad Campbell and Shannon Hinkle in the center’s Gallery No. 2. The downstairs Hank & Dolly’s Gallery has a webbing installation by Margaret Nichols, and the gymnasium offers swing dancing led by Naptown Stomp, with lessons at 6 and 7:30 p.m.

The exhibition continues through Feb. 27. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays. Contact the Harrison Center at (317) 396-3886.

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