Indianapolis is not a city one immediately associates with the arts or anything otherwise cosmopolitan. Then again, a little over a decade ago, neither was Miami. Rhonda Long-Sharp of the Long-Sharp Gallery in Indianapolis, formerly a lawyer specializing in death-penalty cases, has dedicated much of her soul to collecting art, by both legendary masters and local Indiana-based artists.
Politics, Peace, and Passion, Long-Sharp’s first show at SCOPE, draws from her personal collection and features the work of artists from Indiana and elsewhere — Banksy, Pablo Picasso, Constance Edwards Scopelitis, and the Georgian-born David Datuna among them.
The meaning of Politics, Peace, and Passion is implied by the name: most of the works are less about any specific signifiers or ideologies, and more about the expression of those ideas, or the passion and spirit behind them. While some of the works seem heavily politicized, others are about love or abstractions or pain. David Datuna’s featured piece, Star Spangled Banner, is part of his Viewpoint of Millions series, a set of images covered in lenses. Each lens contains visual representations of the varied facets comprising the overarching theme. Fittingly, the lenses that make up his American flag, his Star Spangled Banner, represent many passions, many politics, many abstractions. “For me, the flag is not just a banner of the country,” he explains. “The flags are living organisms … they can even give birth to something new.”
One Datuna installation that predates the show and even Viewpoint of Millions features what looks like tiny, colorful dots and stones forming a large circle, made more beautiful by its smaller parts. Context — the small parts of a whole — is a focal point for Datuna, it seems. “The lenses are the views of the people, their opinions, and their deepest concerns. For me, this is a whole world, and each one of these lenses, like each person, has a specific opinion, a different energy, but together they form … the mood of the society.”
Post-election, with the current situation in the Middle East — to be vague — it seems the emotions and general awareness of the collective unconscious are heightened. It’ll be easy to push that aside during the madness and cultural consumption of Basel, but David Datuna will ask us to remember it all.
“In my works, I intentionally push the viewer to think about the pieces and their concepts through the net of lenses,” he explains. “This net represents, symbolically, the views of the people, concentrating their attention on the most significant events, historical figures, and, at the same time, I encourage the viewer to find a lens he or she can relate to.”
This is Long-Sharp’s goal, too. “It asks more questions than it gives answers,” she says of David Datuna’s work. Politics, Peace, and Passion will probably prompt many ideas and many questions. The decision to answer them is entirely yours.
Politics, Peace and Passion presented by Long-Sharp Gallery at SCOPE Miami Art Show features Banksy, David Datuna, Gino Miles, Constance Edwards Scopelitis, Russell Young, Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, William John Kennedy, Robert Indiana, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Robert Motherwell, Roy Lichtenstein, Keith Haring. Opens Tuesday, Dec. 4; hours: Dec. 6 – 8 from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m., and Dec. 9 from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. (110 NE 36th Street at Midtown Blvd., Miami ) General Admission: $20; students, $15. For more information visit longsharpgallery.com, scope-art.com.
Check out Monica Uszerowicz’s full Q&A with Datuna, Monday, Dec. 3.