Yes, I happily wear my art snobbery on my sleeve (actually on my vanity plate), but there are times when I really have to put it in check. This morning I visited Parallel Visions VII at the Studio San Giuseppe Art Gallery at the College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati. This is an exhibition of works by art educators at various area schools. Determined to make a quick stop before lunch, I found myself taken by not only the number of artists in the show, but by the various techniques and rage of subjects that make up this show.
My interest was really to see the work of one of the artists, Cathy Herring. She is the art teacher at Mercy Montessori. I’ve worked with Cathy on a few different projects and know her as an art teacher. But I’ve not seen her own work and like many parents, I was really interested in knowing not just her work with her students, but this side of her creativity. Her work in this show includes framed textile collages of kimonos. The ordered combination of geometric shapes and organic fabric designs both highlight the Japanese kimono form and texture. Ms. Herring’s work seems to capture what I saw throughout the show; a combination of styles, media, and techniques that really celebrate the wonderful breadth of creativity infused into our schools.
It is usually pretty easy to prepare myself for a number of shows I visit throughout the year. Too many times I approach an exhibition seemingly so well prepared that if you look closely you can see a rather large chip on my shoulder. This biennial and many other exhibitions focusing on our schools art teachers always catch me off guard. Here I am forced to put away for a moment my own theoretical approach to art criticism and simply recognize the range of creativity filling the lives of Cincinnati’s school children. And I hope others recognize it too.