Monday, March 30, 2009

Manifest Gallery 12-Hour Life Drawing Marathon This Weekend

Open Figure is an uninstructed life-drawing studio format whereby professionals, students, and the creative public can work side-by-side in common pursuit of excellence in the discipline of drawing (or various other media) while working from the nude model. This no-performance-pressure environment inevitably leads to new learning, support, and productivity that complements formal study (at the high school, college, or professional level), or other non-figure-related artistic work. Each session is moderated by Manifest Associates who are trained and well-qualified artists and/or instructors at the college level.

For more information and to register for the Weekend Drawing Marathon click here.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Ohio Artist goes “back and forth in history”

Columbus, Ohio, artist Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson (b. 1940) has been creating sumptuous mixed media paintings and sculptures for more than half a century. These document the stories she has gleaned from her elders, her travels throughout the world and her study of African and African American history. Her recent series of rag paintings entitled Along Water Street is based on the stores her Uncle Alvin told her as she was growing up and on old maps of Ohio she studied at the library. The artist describes the series as “going back and forth in history” with references to early Native American and African inhabitants who may have populated the Americas hundreds of years ago.

Along Water Street is on view at the Akron Art Museum through April 5, 2009

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center Artist Call

Call to Artists for The Carnegie's 2010 Exhibition Season Deadline May 1, 2009!

The Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center is dedicated to showcasing the works of emerging and established artists in all artistic disciplines. The Carnegie is located in Covington, Kentucky, ten blocks from the Ohio River and downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. The organization was established in 1971. Each year, 30-40 group and solo shows are awarded for the five galleries consisting of over 6,000 square feet of exhibition space.

Click here for eligibility and forms.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Sculpture Center Artist Call Deadline

Ann Albano, Executive Director of The Sculpture Center in Cleveland, Ohio is reminding artists of their artist call. The April 6 deadline for entries for After the Pedestal, the 5th Annual of Small Sculpture from the Region is fast approaching. Don’t miss this opportunity to have your artwork selected by the juror Paola Morsiani, Curator of Contemporary Art at the Cleveland Museum of Art and former Senior Curator at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Texas. This summer exhibition will run from June 5 – July 25, 2009.

Consideration will be given to work in all media of sculpture, including installation, conceptual work, and performance video, if object based. The work may be conceived for exhibition on a pedestal, on the wall, on the floor, or hanging from the ceiling – it just should not be too large, made within the last three years, and not previously exhibited in northeastern Ohio. Up to three works of art can be entered for consideration.

For full information and online entry, please click here.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Joan Snyder Goes Solo in Los Angeles

In January I wrote of how fortunate we are to have the Carl Solway Gallery in Cincinnati as a portal for modern art. Then the gallery just opened their exhibition showing Joan Snyder, Joan Miró, Hans Hoffman, and Fred Tomaselli. Now, Joan Snyder is showing at the Solway-Jones Gallery in Los Angeles in a solo debut. Check out David Pagel’s review of Snyder’s “funky art” here.

Solway-Jones in LA is owned by Carl's son Michael and his wife, Angela Jones.

Friday, March 13, 2009

ArtWorks Forces My Hand on Outsider Art

When I visited Cincinnati Art Museum’s Isn’t Great To Be An Artist? Insider/Outsider Art from the Robert A. Lewis Collection a few weeks ago, I was met yet again by my inherent discomfort with Outsider Art. I do love folk art, but this show exposes an underlying “primitivist” aesthetic that exploits along racial, cultural, and economic lines. Because I struggle to get beyond this (I left the museum in tears), I decided not to write about the show.

Last night however, I left ArtWorks Green Spaces: Everyday is Earth Day simply furious. The show featured work by artists from Visionaries & Voices, a non-profit art studio in Cincinnati for artists with disabilities. My anger over the show last night is a direct response to a clear lack of respect for these artists. The first thing I notice when entering the gallery was a failure to label any of the works of art. Instead, ArtWorks supplied a printed list of the artists’ names, the names of the works, and poor quality b&w reproductions of the art. I found myself and others walking around the gallery trying to match up the art with the information on the list. I’ve never seen such a poor art installation.

According their website, Visionaries & Voices has a “vision that artists with disabilities are valued members of the cultural community, and that they have opportunities for artistic success and creative growth in an atmosphere of mutual respect, inspiration, and joy.” ArtWorks’ disrespect for these artists is immediately clear in the poor presentation. Further, the marginalization of the artist of Visionaries & Voices became more painfully clear when I walked towards the back of the gallery and saw works by two artists not part of the show whose work were clearly labeled.

While the Cincinnati Art Museum asks the question with Isn't It Great To Be An Artist?, Artworks answers with, perhaps not always.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Manifest Gallery Presents Iconic Mythography

Thematic exhibitions often present various styles of art worked towards a broad idea. A good show also offers the viewer a opportunity to see clearly articulated artistic perspectives on a theme. Rare is a show made up of iconic pieces. Mythography, currently on view at Manifest Gallery is such a show.

Mythography is an annual show inviting national and international artists to tell a story. The result is an exhibition that includes painting, sculpture, drawing, video, and photography presenting stories with details we may not know, with images strikingly familiar. David Hannon’s Strange Gifts for example depicts a scene in which a young man has just opened a package containing a sculptural bust. He is presumably on his front patio, which is surrounded by examples of a polluted disregard for the urban landscape. Factories drape the landscape along with sewage draining nearby and a car exhausting fumes passes by.

The films of Bill Domonokos are similarly engaging. Domonokos’s work includes found photographic images and archival film he represents as film collage. While we may not be familiar with the narrative, the aesthetic of these black and white images are easily recognizable. His film “Nocturne” is accompanied and inspired by the absolutely beautiful music of Tchaikovsky adding another level of iconic familiarity.

While Mythography allows for a broad definition of the narrative, the art of storytelling pulls the show together with dramatically engaging results. Through the iconic forms of Jessica Grace Bechtel’s Ripening and Chris White’s endearing Grandma & Grandpa that pull us into the gallery to the welcoming familiarity of Laura Fisher’s Part One: Dreams, an old book of prints Mythography makes room for the storyteller.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Another Dose of Friedlander

I just learned northern Ohio has another Friedlander exhibition currently open. The Akron Art Museum is now showing Lee Friedlander’s Factory Valleys through May 31st. This series that includes about 60 photographs was commissioned by the museum 30 years ago.

A Weekend with Family and Friedlander

While visiting my family in Lorain, Ohio over the weekend, my 87 year old Aunt Mary made a rare and much anticipated visit with her photo albums in tow. Aunt Mary has happily assumed the role of the family historian though has never written anything down. The pictures are her record. We often hear about families suffering with Alzheimer’s disease, so while my family has not yet been touched by this memory crippling disease, I was still amazed as Aunt Mary seemed to be able to recall a story or two from each of the pages of the albums.

Who was married to whom and who was in the wedding, where everyone lived and worked between Italy, Pennsylvania, and finally Ohio, who owned what car, and family pets animated this oral history. Aunt Mary remembered everything. I suspected there were even a few details she left out, like her time working at a nightclub. Aunt Mary insists she was not a dancer in the club though a picture of her in a leotard seems to suggest otherwise. But this was her history more than mine last weekend. I asked her how she is able to remember all of these details. She said, “When I feel a bit depressed, I look through my pictures and remember how wonderful my family is and much fun my life has been.”

My visit to see family included the requisite stop to the Cleveland Museum of Art. This time I stopped to see the Friedlander show. Lee Friedlander has always been one of my favorite photographers. No doubt it’s the wonderfully entertaining puns found throughout much of his oeuvre that entertain me. Many of his photographs I hold especially dear because his work was perhaps most easily recognizable during slide identification exams in both History of Photography classes I took. Each time one of his pictures projected onto the screen during an exam, I let out an audible sigh of relief. Many of these images are included in this exhibition.

Friedlander’s photographs and books are displayed in chronological order within various categories making it easy to see simultaneously a breadth and depth of his career of five decades. Not only did I recognize many of these photographs, but some of the subjects too. I’ve visited or lived in many of the cities in which he shot, including Boston, Los Angeles, and Albuquerque, NM. I also met at least a couple of his subjects, like Maya Lin and John Szarkowski. With such familiarity of the work combined with walking through the show with my sister, I couldn’t help but recognize the Friedlander show as a wonderful complement to my Aunt Mary’s photographs. As a photographer of “the American social landscape,” Friedlander captures the wonder and wit American life.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Stewart Goldman, Rebel?

The Cincinnati Art Museum would have you think so in its new show. However an artist who rebelled against Abstract Expressionism is rather cliché. In doing so, Stewart Goldman: Presence through Absence seems to play down some of the rather obvious references to AbEx’s geometric and organic visual language that find their way throughout Goldman’s work. By trying to illustrate a different road towards abstraction, the show seems to battle art history. For example, Goldman’s abstract Feldafing Scape of 1997 is said to have been created after the artist’s trip to Germany. Yet there is no mention of a possible influence of German Expressionism even if to dismiss it. Similarly, Goldman’s Untitled series of couches bathed in various light neglects referring to Monet’s Haystack series, which achieved the same.

I enjoyed the presentation of the development of Goldman’s work over the last few decades from a geometric realism to abstraction. Perhaps because it mirrors a history of Modern art that I still enjoy watching unfold each time I walk through museums. The show's focus on absence is intriguing, but I think the narrative is forced. Perhaps I will have to wait until May 6th for Professor Matthew Dayler’s gallery talk to better see what is not there.

Monday, March 2, 2009

No Street Cred for Shepard Fairey

The debate over Shepard Fairey’s use of Mannie Garcia’s photograph of Barack Obama to create the iconic “Hope” poster continued on Fresh Air with Terri Gross last Thursday.

But one of my new found favorite blogs, My Art Space has been following the Shephard Fairey controversy with interviews of Los Angeles street artists. One of these artists, The Phantom Street Artist has issued a direct challenge to Fairey.

Word on the street.