Saturday, September 26, 2009

With the opening of "Parallel Space," Manifest Becomes an Artist Gallery

Last night Manifest Gallery inaugurated its new "Parallel Space," adding more gallery space to one of Cincinnati's best art galleries. The new space no doubt allows Director, Jason Franz to respond to the growing number of submissions for each artist call Manifest sends out throughout the year. This is not to say Franz and Assistant Director, Tim Parsley are growing less selective in order to hang more work, but instead employs even more selectivity to use the opportunity to invite new and previously shown artists to return to Cincinnati for solo shows.

San Francisco artist Kirstine Reiner returns to Manifest for her solo show, (In)animate. The simply breathtaking realism of her paintings of still life, genre, and portraiture recalls a Dutch tradition. Even subjects like fruit, teapots, camera lens and mirrors seem to reference the interests of the earlier artists. Yet it is these same objects that expose themselves as contemporary or at the very least modern. It is almost as if Reiner invites us to see our lives through the eyes of an earlier era.

The photographs by Andrea Hoelscher are a fitting inaugural show for "Parallel Space" as she explores remodeling architectural spaces, by "remolding" familiar spaces through photographs. Interestingly, these beautifully glossy photos were a bit more unsettling than Reiner's paintings. I'm still amused at my own frustration at knowing that I simply must know where Hoelscher shot these photographs and to learn only they are interiors of a Museum or Library or a Public Bathroom. Of course it does not matter which museum or library for Interior, but I still want to know.

Monochrome simply knocks your socks off as soon as you walk into Manifest's main gallery. As with most thematic shows, you really never know what to expect. However, recently I have grown more suspect of shows revolving around a single element or medium. Too often the result is a collection of pieces that seemed to have been thrown together simply to meet the parameters of the show. Well, Monochrome is not that exhibition. Not only is every piece incredibly engaging, but the diversity of new well-thought out ideas and various media is great to see.

As we see with these three exhibitions, their diversity extends to the showing artists as well. For the past year or more Manifest Gallery has shown work by artists from places that increasingly extend well beyond our region. While this is sure to help put Manifest on the map of Midwestern art galleries, what's more important is Manifest is quickly becoming the gallery that attracts not only local patrons of the arts, but local artists. Manifest Gallery has worked to assure our artists an opportunity to engage the international art discussion. It is for this reason I see Manifest as an Artist Gallery.


Anonymous said...

It is obvious that todays art historian has no idea how to critique Contemporary realism.

Me said...

Perhaps not as obvious as you may think. This posting is about the gallery, not about Contemporary Realism.

For that you can read my interview of Emil Robinson.

Anonymous said...

Aww snap!