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Mueller showcases work in Christel DeHaan

Posted on 04.10.2013

The University of Indianapolis is currently displaying the work of local photographer Thomas Mueller in an exhibit entitled “Seduced by Color: Flags, Art and the Midway”  in the Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center.
According to Mueller’s website,, though Mueller spent most of his life in the medical field, he has been a serious photographer for 25 years. He said that he became interested in photography while in college. And though Mueller was trained in black and white photography,  he now has fully embraced the color and digital age.
According to Art and Design Professor Dee Schaad, the exhibit showcases Mueller’s eye for making ordinary objects and everyday scenes into art. Schaad said that in addition to Mueller’s eye for design, composition and color, Mueller has a special way of seeing the world’s potential for art that is unique to the best artists.
“He’s just got a really good eye for things that the rest of us would find interesting, too, if we could see it the same way,” Schaad said. “In some ways that’s what an artist does.”
Some of the photos on display were taken as locally as the Indiana State Fair, while others were taken in far-away places such as Greece and Italy.

“Seduced by Color: Flags, Art and the Midway,” featuring photographs by Thomas Mueller, will be displayed until May 10 in the Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center. Photo by Annisa Nunn

“Seduced by Color: Flags, Art and the Midway,” featuring photographs by Thomas Mueller, will be displayed until May 10 in the Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center. Photo by Annisa Nunn

Many of the photographs feature vibrant colors and offer unexpected takes on the subjects and people he showcases. The photographic angles range from an extreme close-up of carnival rides to a wide candid shot of men hard at work cleaning artwork.
The subject matter ranges from the patriotism, at times, both stark and ironic in the flag photos, to the gentle childhood reminder of warm nights of fair fun riding the swings in the midway photos.
Another photograph displayed is a woman capturing one of  Andy Warhol’s well-known Campbell’s Soup paintings. The wide array of photographs currently on exhibit can appeal to both artists and  viewers.
Mueller said that the particular images on display at UIndy, like much of his other artwork, were not planned.
“I am drawn to many subjects, but these three series grew out of a realization that I was starting to make a lot of images of these subjects. In other words, the series started almost by accident,” Mueller said. “I find I like a few photos of a given subject and [then] begin to pursue it further. They seem to end the same way.  After a time, I don’t find myself looking for images that would fit in a certain group any longer.”
Mueller said art is not easily understood and that humans are drawn to art both intellectually and innately.
“This is a very complex question, and one that art theorists have struggled with probably since the Middle Ages or before. Quite clearly, humans respond to aesthetic stimuli,” Mueller said. “Why else would we go to so much trouble to be artists, buy art, keep art in museums, care about what is on our walls or even care how our walls are put together as architecture? At some level, there are some very complex brain functions involved. This is the topic that I have tried to explore in the series ‘Keeping Art.’ The mystery [of art] is a lot of fun to explore.”
The reception will be held on April 12, 4-7 p.m., and Mueller’s work will be on display until May 10th.


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