May 1st, 2017


by Kate Oberreich

In 2011 Courtland Blade moved to Indianapolis. At the time his work focused on places of transience – spaces he viewed as “places that are not concerned with identity.” – stark, empty store aisles and cubicle filled offices, for example.

These “non-spaces” as Blade referred to them, held no historical context and could exist anywhere. Corporatization is the word he uses.


Jump to today, progress has been made on the part of the city of Indianapolis and multiple organizations. Effort towards identity and place making is underway and it’s changed the type of locations depicted in Blade’s more recent paintings.


Focusing mostly on the downtown area, the work created for Blade’s new show Places is a result of viewing the city while riding around the areas looking for a space to capture. Looking for “clips of beauty”, his criteria for a good composition is the interaction of color and contrast.


Unlike Blade’s work upon arriving in Indianapolis, the locations captured for Places are largely recognizable and historical, such as in his depictions of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Harrison Center for the Arts’ own neighborhood, the Old Northside.

Explore Courtland Blade’s view of the city at the City Gallery thorough May 26.