Art – ColumbusUnderground.com http://www.columbusunderground.com News, opinions and reviews on all things Columbus, Ohio. Sat, 24 Jun 2017 13:50:44 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8 Columbus Makes Art Presents: Behind the Scenes with Beth Josephsen of Actors’ Theatre http://www.columbusunderground.com/columbus-makes-art-presents-behind-the-scenes-with-beth-josephsen-of-actors-theatre http://www.columbusunderground.com/columbus-makes-art-presents-behind-the-scenes-with-beth-josephsen-of-actors-theatre#respond Thu, 15 Jun 2017 11:00:51 +0000 http://www.columbusunderground.com/?p=1167483 In her ninth season with Actors’ Theatre of Columbus, Beth Josephsen is an actor, director, acting coach and artist educator teaching theater techniques in schools throughout central Ohio. She has performed around the world, on stages big and small, with highlights including A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Virginia Arts Festival, Ordinal Five at the […]]]>

In her ninth season with Actors’ Theatre of Columbus, Beth Josephsen is an actor, director, acting coach and artist educator teaching theater techniques in schools throughout central Ohio. She has performed around the world, on stages big and small, with highlights including A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Virginia Arts Festival, Ordinal Five at the Tate Modern Museum in London, and, most recently, portraying the role of Mrs. Cheveley in the Actors’ Theatre of Columbus production of An Ideal Husband. As Actors’ Theatre’s Outreach Coordinator, Beth has had the opportunity to work with students throughout the Columbus City School district and lead professional development opportunities for their theater instructors, while also conducting and directing student productions for the Columbus Gifted Academy.

We sat down with Beth to chat in anticipation of her role as the eldest Bennet daughter in ATC’s upcoming production of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice.

Elizabeth Harelik with (from left to right) Olivia Sawatzki, Joelle Odoguardi, Emily Grim and Beth Josephsen in the Actors’ Theatre of Columbus production of Pride & Prejudice. Photo by Jerri Shafer.

Scott: Describe your art and your creative process.
Beth:
I am an actor currently in my ninth consecutive season of performing with Actors’ Theatre of Columbus. Whenever I am cast in a role, I like to read the source material (when possible), research the time period, society, social structures, etc. of the character that I am playing. I want to know how this person would move, think and speak. Sometimes that means rehearsing in long skirts or a corset in order to move naturally in them as the character would, sometimes it means learning a new skill such as loading a black powder pistol in order to use it realistically in a scene, or learning a new dialect such as French or Irish. It’s not just about wearing a costume or memorizing lines, I am bringing to life another human being for an evening and the audience should see and hear them, not me.

Scott: How do you recharge and/or refine your artistic process?
Beth:
I am blessed to have a supportive husband and strong circle of friends with whom I can laugh and share life. Gardening and travel also make my heart happy. I like to try new things and find that doing so helps to inform character choices.

Scott: How long have you been acting and what is the most important thing you’ve learned about yourself along the way?
Beth:
I started creating plays and performing them with my friends in elementary school. We used to rehearse them on the playground during recess and perform them for our families during sleepovers. I’ve always loved a challenge which is probably why I was drawn to classical theater (that barely has any female roles written for it, averaging seven male roles to every one female on stage) and performing outside (that is not for the weak of heart as one is exposed to the elements and distractions of nature while performing).

Scott: What role are you most proud of?
Beth:
Mrs. Cheveley in last year’s production of An Ideal Husband. Oscar Wilde describes her as “Lamia-like” in a stage direction in the play so I tried to embody a half-woman, half-snake character slithering out of Greek mythology and onto the stage. As Mrs. Cheveley, I would “coil” around my victims, err… fellow actors, never broke eye contact first, found places to verbally “hiss” and “strike,” and only moved in curving arches (never a straight line) across the stage. It was my first time being type cast and it was a delightful change to release my inner villainess on stage.

Scott: What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
Beth:
I was at a talk back for a SITI company show once and Anne Bogart talked about the origin of the word “enthusiastic.” It means “inspired by God” and she encouraged us to engage in art where we feel divine inspiration.

Scott: What’s the best advice you feel you can give?
Beth:
If you want to act? Audition. If you have a penis you’ll probably be cast pretty quickly. If you don’t (have a penis or get cast), don’t give up, keep auditioning and remember that the opinions of the people behind the casting table do not define your worth as a person.

Scott: How do you feel about the difference between teaching and performing? Do you have a preference?
Beth:
Teaching pays more. I prefer performing.

Scott: Describe one of your favorite moments working with Actors’ Theatre.
Beth:
Stage fights are my favorite. Robin Hood was magical where I got to play a dagger stabbing, bow and arrow shooting Marian. I also loved getting to fire a pistol and fence as Mrs. Sullen in The Beaux’ Stratagem.

Catch Beth performing as Jane Bennet in Actors’ Theatre’s production of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, June 22 – July 16 in Schiller Park. Full show information available at theactorstheatre.org.

Columbus Makes Art Presents is a bi-weekly column brought to you by the Greater Columbus Arts Council – supporting art and advancing culture in Columbus. The column is a project of the Art Makes Columbus campaign, telling the inspiring stories of the people and organizations who create Columbus art. Each column will be written by a different local arts organization to give you an insiders look at how #artmakescbus.

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If a Tree Mural Falls: An Analysis on the Revamp of the SoHud Mural http://www.columbusunderground.com/if-a-tree-mural-falls-an-analysis-on-the-revamp-of-the-sohud-mural-jr1 http://www.columbusunderground.com/if-a-tree-mural-falls-an-analysis-on-the-revamp-of-the-sohud-mural-jr1#respond Sat, 10 Jun 2017 12:00:44 +0000 http://www.columbusunderground.com/?p=1167722 A Humble History   You’ll forgive SoHud if it seems a little disoriented. It’s just not used to all of this attention. The modest neighborhood south of Hudson and north of Ohio State has spent the last 50 years in quiet anonymity; its particularly charmless version of charm being largely overshadowed by more prosperous enclaves […]]]>

A Humble History

 

You’ll forgive SoHud if it seems a little disoriented. It’s just not used to all of this attention. The modest neighborhood south of Hudson and north of Ohio State has spent the last 50 years in quiet anonymity; its particularly charmless version of charm being largely overshadowed by more prosperous enclaves to the north (Glen Echo and Clintonville) and more newsworthy neighbors to the south (the OSU campus and its environs).

For most people, SoHud was little more than the place they sped through on their way somewhere else; an inconvenient right turn on Summit for drivers from nicer neighborhoods heading south to OSU, the Short North, or downtown. No one paid attention to SoHud, and that was fine. There existed a kind of civic detente. SoHud did its thing (which was often nothing), and the people driving through drove on.

It was a quieter time to be sure. Movie theaters could be abandoned, stores could close, businesses could clear out and have their vacated storefronts turned into half-assed apartments. No one made a peep. The neighborhood was of so little consequence that for years it didn’t even have a name. When people did start talking about names a decade or so ago, a cadre of first-generation ironists nearly succeeded in re-branding the whole area Washington Beach, a moniker that’s as cynical as it is absurd. All this could happen and, well, crickets.

 

A Neighborhood Evolves

 

Then things started changing. Trailblazing businesses like Rumba Cafe, Wild Goose Creative, and Capital City Scooters moved in and proved that there was enough of something left in the neighborhood to make rent and keep the doors open. Other businesses followed, and before you knew it, people started caring about things. They cared about homeless people sleeping in the movie theater’s alcove. They cared about attracting more businesses. They cared about speed limits, crosswalks, and bicycles. They cared about graffiti, and more specifically, how to stop it.

Enter the SoHud Community Mural Project. The project, undertaken in 2011 and led by Wild Goose Creative, promised to create a “welcoming gateway into Columbus.” This welcoming gateway was to take the form of an expansive mural on the north-facing wall at Hudson and Summit. Of course it was also hoped that this mural would put an end to the rampant and largely forgettable graffiti that the wall attracted (The theory being that once a wall has been painted, graffiti artists would be bound by the graffiti writer’s code to respect the work and not bomb it into oblivion).

Artists presented proposals for the mural. The community offered feedback in public forums and ultimately the design of architect Tim Lai was accepted. The tree mural, a stylized selection of brightly colored trees meant to evoke the wooded Glen Echo ravine to the north, was born. Far from being the work of a single artist though, the tree mural was a community initiative in every possible way, from months of planning to its selection to the community groups and neighbors who helped fund and paint it.

Most agreed that the project was a success. People liked the mural. They thought it was nice and would tell you as much if you asked. Further, the mural brought the community together, giving businesses and residents both a sense of pride in place. This was no small feat for a neighborhood that, at the time, was not really known for coming together. People and businesses who assisted on the project got to sign their names. Little kids helped.

The mural did its other jobs too. It offered a welcoming face to the neighborhood and kept the graffiti at bay (It turns out that most graffiti artists did indeed honor the aforementioned code). Still, this was SoHud, and the mural was, when all was said and done, simply silhouettes of variegated trees painted in tasteful colors adjacent to a derelict movie theater. Did anyone really care about the mural or what might happen to it?

The answer turned out to be a resounding, internet-sized yes.

 

Pitchforks at the Ready

 

Things happened pretty quickly. On Wednesday, May 31, Baba’s Restaurant announced plans to “revamp the Hudson wall.” On Thursday, June 1, the tree mural was gone. By nightfall Sunday, June 4, the new mural was nearly complete. And if you think that was fast, know that the internet was even faster.

Online backlash began almost immediately. People involved in the original mural chimed in. Neighbors chimed in. People who were both chimed in. People who were neither chimed in. Opinions, it turns out, are like Facebook accounts. Everybody has one.

Criticism generally focused on three main concerns. The first was that Baba’s didn’t rightly honor or appreciate the history of the mural or its significance in the community. The second was that this all happened way too fast. Many felt Baba’s should have given more notice, affording the community a chance to reflect on the proposed changes, celebrate the mural they’d soon lose, and yes, grieve its loss. The third concern was that Baba’s violated the trust of the community by inviting the proprietor of the local graffiti supply shop to plan and execute the new mural in what would turn out to be…wait for it…graffiti style.

Bear with me. It’s not as crazy as it sounds.

Justin Withrow is many things; an entrepreneur, an artist, an evangelist, a hustler. Hustler might sound sketchy, but it’s not meant that way. The dude just flat hustles. Depending on the time or season, you might find him promoting graffiti artists for the 2X2 Hip-Hop Festival, running monthly painting jams, working with school kids on outdoor murals or minding his recently opened graffiti supply store, The Lookout Shop. Withrow lives graffiti and is convinced like no one else that it can make our city better.

Given Withrow’s connections, passion, and proximity to Baba’s (Lookout Supply is just a couple blocks from Baba’s restaurant), it’s no surprise he was tapped to spearhead the new Hudson Street mural. It probably didn’t hurt that his well-regarded Alice in Wonderland mural had previously graced the wall of the Leen O’ Caffe just across the street.

So, Withrow got the job, and spearhead he did. The new Hudson mural went up with the kind of practiced efficiency you would pray for in a contractor. Of course it helped that Withrow had a stable of seasoned veterans working on the project. Each of the artists took responsibility for a specific area and worked in their own style. The palette was limited, and agreed on in advance. This helped maintain at least some continuity across the entire piece. The result is half a block of color-coordinated angles, vortices, and lines overlapping to abstraction and buzzing with frenetic energy.

Which is to say it looks like graffiti.

In hindsight, it’s easy to see how the people who came together to paint trees on this very wall with the hope of eradicating this very thing might be a little bit disappointed in the result. Pissed even.

 

Graffiti Redux

 

Graffiti is a form of expression, but it’s often executed illegally. It carries with it baggage that’s usually negative and mostly related to things like vandalism, gangs, crime, and (let’s face it) race. Graffiti exists on its own terms. It’s a means of expression that developed organically; it’s style and evolution being guided by its practitioners. This independence that graffiti enjoys ensures it a kind of renegade status. Graffiti gets to do what it wants. It doesn’t answer to society or play by society’s rules.

Except it sort of does. The renegade narrative obscures a lot about what graffiti aspires to, about what it can be and about how we might view it. The new Hudson mural is a case in point. The people behind this mural have talent. Many have been doing this for years. They’ve put in long hours honing and refining their craft. They’ve made sacrifices for their work. They’re passionate and enthusiastic about what they’re doing. They talk about developing their style, pushing themselves, growing. They are artists. They may be working in a style that’s not universally accepted, but they’re artists nonetheless.

Monster Steve has a resume that’s as impressive as any MFA grad. In addition to creating a number of high profile murals around Ohio and adjoining states Steve has taught mural making to high school and college students. His smaller works have been exhibited at Lindsay Gallery. Steve’s purple monster stomps gleefully through the center of the new Hudson mural.

Mandi Caskey became disillusioned at CCAD and dropped out after two years. She fell hard for the freedom street art afforded and eventually found herself commissioned to create a mural for the observation deck of the Rhodes State Office Tower. Caskey and her work have been profiled in the Columbus Alive, 614 Columbus and DowntownColumbus.com. Her hot pink skull graces the west end of the new mural.

Derik Yelloweyes has been doing graffiti for over 15 years. A veteran of the scene, he served time for his work. As someone who’s plied his trade both legally and illegally, he appreciates the opportunities that “legal walls” offer artists. Yelloweyes insists that “we all want the same thing, to enjoy and elevate public spaces.” His piece, a complex set of letters abstracted to the breaking point, resides to the left of Caskey’s skull.

And that’s just a few of the artists. They all have stories, and those stories are told in part through this mural.

 

Public Space Public Debate

 

Baba’s chose art over advertising. It was a noble choice, but a risky one too. The fact is we’ve ceded so much of our public space to paid advertising that the Baba’s logo in fifteen foot letters (or a giant banner featuring the iPhone 7) would have caused less controversy than this new mural. It certainly would have been less surprising. Really, who could blame a business for wanting to raise their profile or cash in? Advertising’s ubiquity self-fulfills. The more its foisted on us, the less likely we are to object to it. Further, our willingness to accept paid advertising in public spaces (often without community comment or consent) has left us unprepared to debate alternatives in any meaningful way.

So we build strawmen and knock them down instead. We make assumptions and wield them in place of facts. We assign the worst motives to others and assume the best about ourselves. We create narratives based on personal biases and hold on to them to the bitter end. Who knows? Maybe that’s what the internet’s for after all.

Or, maybe the internet’s for something else. Maybe it’s for broadening our horizons, reaching out and making connections. Maybe it’s for building bridges. Abraham Lincoln once said, “I don’t like that man. I must get to know him better.” That sentiment could apply here as well, and the internet makes it easier than ever to do just that.

Have a question about Baba’s and why they did what they did? Message them on Facebook. Want to learn more about the graffiti scene? Find Justin Withrow online. He’s certainly no stranger to the internet. Interested in learning more about the artists? Google them. Find them on Twitter. Check out their Instagram profiles. Constructive, civil conversations are just a click away. Sure, it takes a little more time than immediately posting your hottest of takes or sickest of burns, but the benefits are worth it.

SoHud isn’t the afterthought it once was. People are more willing than ever to commit time, talent and treasure to its success. But more stakeholders means more opinions and more occasions to disagree. People care though. They’re passionate, and that’s not a bad thing. In Baba’s original announcement they declared, “as the neighborhood changes, so must the art.” It turns out they were right. The neighborhood is changing. So is the art. It will likely change again. Here’s hoping the next round of change will bring people together and make the neighborhood’s bonds stronger.

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The Confluence Cast: Actors’ Theatre of Columbus http://www.columbusunderground.com/the-confluence-cast-actors-theatre-of-columbus-tf1 http://www.columbusunderground.com/the-confluence-cast-actors-theatre-of-columbus-tf1#respond Tue, 06 Jun 2017 19:39:30 +0000 http://www.columbusunderground.com/?p=1167532 All the world’s a stage… and one man in his time plays many parts. The artistic director of Actors’ Theatre is no different. On the occasion of their 36th season, Phillip Hickman sat down to talk about his role at the Schiller Park institution, how they put together their season each year, and the importance […]]]>

All the world’s a stage… and one man in his time plays many parts. The artistic director of Actors’ Theatre is no different. On the occasion of their 36th season, Phillip Hickman sat down to talk about his role at the Schiller Park institution, how they put together their season each year, and the importance of accessible art.

Shownotes for this episode

This Confluence Cast episode is sponsored by Art Makes Columbus, Columbus Makes Art, featuring stories about our city’s incredible artists — stories full of inspiration, challenge, passion, and success. For videos, articles, an up-to-the-minute calendar of events and an artist directory visit ColumbusMakesArt.com, the resource for all things arts and culture in the capital city.

Connect with the Confluence Cast:
Web | Patreon | iTunes | Facebook | Twitter

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Columbus Makes Art Presents: Artist Lucie Shearer on Her Evolving Work and Appearing at the Columbus Arts Festival http://www.columbusunderground.com/columbus-makes-art-presents-artist-lucie-shearer-on-her-evolving-work-and-appearing-at-the-columbus-arts-festival http://www.columbusunderground.com/columbus-makes-art-presents-artist-lucie-shearer-on-her-evolving-work-and-appearing-at-the-columbus-arts-festival#respond Thu, 01 Jun 2017 11:00:56 +0000 http://www.columbusunderground.com/?p=1166457 Lucie Shearer first appeared at the 2016 Columbus Arts Festival as part of the Emerging Artist program. She tied for the award for Best Emerging Artist, and returns to the 2017 Festival, powered by American Electric Power, June 9-11 on the riverfront. We chatted with Lucie about her evolving artwork, what she’s learned about working […]]]>

Lucie Shearer first appeared at the 2016 Columbus Arts Festival as part of the Emerging Artist program. She tied for the award for Best Emerging Artist, and returns to the 2017 Festival, powered by American Electric Power, June 9-11 on the riverfront. We chatted with Lucie about her evolving artwork, what she’s learned about working festivals and stepping out into a full-time career as an artist.

A digital illustration titled “Beautiful Words” by Lucie Shearer.

Lacey: You’ve mentioned before that you started creating at a young age. What was the first medium that you remember loving to work with?
Lucie: I remember using pretty much everything I could get my hands on as a kid. Pens, pencils, markers, colored pencils, crayons, construction paper, glue, Legos, model clay… you name it! I was constantly making things. I remember unusual details, like how I loved crayons because they were clean, but crayons and pencils blended better. Is that weird for an eight year old to think about? I also remember using those little primary watercolor sets. I had no idea what I was doing but it was delightful to make things!

Lacey: How would you describe your artwork today?
Lucie: I have two, maybe three, different styles or “lines” of work. There is a collection of digital illustrations, an ongoing series of black and white line illustrations and a few fine art paintings. The illustration work is a bit more lighthearted and sweet, with a bit of an edge. My fine art work is definitely more surreal and relies heavily on symbolism and emotional interpretation.

I have difficulty describing my own work, but others have described it as feminine, luscious, voluptuous or striking, with an underlying theme of turmoil. I like to think of the work as telling stories of things known but left unsaid. My work focuses on portraiture, so it automatically appears to be expressing some sort of emotion or feeling. Each portrait is pretty and seductive (and it’s not always necessarily in a sexual way) but it’s also disconcerting. There are themes of self-reflection, insecurity, confidence, strength and intelligence or knowledge. It is beautiful with a darkness to it. There are multiple levels to each painting, and it’s up to the viewer to figure those levels out for themself.

Lacey: How has your work evolved over the years?
Lucie: With consistent practice, my work has gotten more skilled over the last 10-15 years. The general focus on female portraits has remained constant, while the media I’ve used might have changed based on my mood.

As a young teenager my drawings were highly influenced by manga and anime. When I got to high school and college, I focused on more traditional styles in my work to prove a point that I could be very technically “good” at drawing and painting.

With being so technical and realistic, I felt I lost a certain personal quality in my work. I have recently reconnected with my love for inked line work and painting in a less traditional manner. I’ve become much more interested in how symbolism, lighting and composition can create a feeling and impact and image.

Lacey: You involve yourself in a wide variety of arts events, from exhibitions to Columbus’ Urban Scrawl event to designing last year’s Independents Day poster — what drew you to the Columbus Arts Festival Emerging Artist program?
Lucie: As an artist I feel it is so incredibly important to be part of a bigger community. Artists create to express and communicate, and expression is its best when shared. I like to be involved to get to know other artists and connect with people.

It has always been a dream of mine to show work in my own booth at an art festival, so when I’d heard about the Emerging Artist program with the Columbus Arts Festival, I knew I’d found the key to something big in my life. It was the perfect opportunity to learn about doing festivals (and how to do them well!). Being involved in the CAF has helped me to develop into a reputable artist locally and build my business and entrepreneurial skills.

Lacey: Have you done other arts festivals in the last year?
Lucie: The last few years have been a sort of “test and learn” phase for me. The Columbus Arts Fest was inspiring and successful, so it inspired me to go after my dream of being a full time artist. This spring I took the leap into making my art career a full time job! I have been doing quite a few smaller shows and freelancing as an illustrator and designer. I haven’t done anything else on quite the grand scale of the CAF since last summer, but I definitely intend to next year.

Artist Lucie Shearer will debut new work at the 2017 Columbus Arts Festival. Photo courtesy the artist.

Lacey: Do you create work specifically for the festival and if so, does it differ from the work that you submit for exhibitions or sell on your website?
Lucie: The CAF is a fine art festival, so I have been focusing my time in the studio on creating a series of original paintings that will debut specifically at this year’s festival. I want to provide something unique to the attendees of the festival that they would not find on my website or other art fairs. These paintings are all one-of-a-kind images that have not been reproduced as prints or merchandised as part of my illustration line.

Lacey: Describe a high point for you as an artist.
Lucie: The Columbus Arts Festival was a pretty big accomplishment for me last year. In a lot of ways it felt like a dream. I’d had a similar feeling when I set up a small booth in my high school senior year art show.

Lacey: Is there anything that you are doing differently for the Arts Festival this year, based on what you learned last year?
Lucie: I will be making a lot more art!

Kiss, artist Lucie Shearer’s contribution to the Sign Your Art! Project. Photo courtesy the artist.

Lacey: What do you want people who visit you at the Arts Festival to know about you and your work?
Lucie: Come on by my booth and say hello! I will be in booth 364G, on Washington Boulevard. It’s very close to the Columbus Makes Art Activity Village and Big Local Arts Tent!

Lacey: You are also an anchor artist for the Sign Your Art project — what can you tell us about the tile that you created?
Lucie: This was a fun project and challenge. The panel has a hole in the center where it will be attached to a sign, which poses a problem for an artist who likes to do vertical portrait illustrations. The hole would be in the center of her face!

So I chose to incorporate the hole into the illustration. I decided to draw a girl in profile view, so it became a large gauge in the girl’s ear. I painted her with acrylics in some of my favorite colors. It is a very lighthearted piece and titled “Kiss!”

Lacey: If you could have dinner with anyone dead or alive, who would it be?
Lucie: I would have one giant dinner party with the many of the artists I adore. I’d start by inviting some of my idols like JC Leyendecker, Gustav Klimt and John Singer Sargent. Then I’d invite the artists from the Turn the Page: The First Tens Years of Hi Fructose exhibition (which I recently viewed at the Akron Art Museum). Mark Ryden, James Jean, Tara McPherson, Audrey Kawasaki, Mark Witfooth, AJ Fosik, to name a few… I mean seriously, how amazing would that dinner party be?!

See Lucie Shearer and nearly 300 visual artists — including the new class of Emerging Artists — at the 2017 Columbus Arts Festival, powered by American Electric Power, June 9-11 at the riverfront.

Columbus Makes Art Presents is a bi-weekly column brought to you by the Greater Columbus Arts Council – supporting art and advancing culture in Columbus. The column is a project of the Art Makes Columbus campaign, telling the inspiring stories of the people and organizations who create Columbus art. Each column will be written by a different local arts organization to give you an insiders look at how #artmakescbus.

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Columbus Makes Art Presents: Glass Artist Michael Hric http://www.columbusunderground.com/columbus-makes-art-presents-glass-artist-michael-hric http://www.columbusunderground.com/columbus-makes-art-presents-glass-artist-michael-hric#respond Thu, 18 May 2017 14:40:46 +0000 http://www.columbusunderground.com/?p=1165970 The Ohio Craft Museum will showcase work by its members in the annual juried exhibition, Best of 2017, now through June 18. Glass vessels by Columbus artist Michael Hric will be featured; Hric received the Artist Scholarship Award, which will allow him to attend a workshop at the Corning Museum of Glass in New York. […]]]>

The Ohio Craft Museum will showcase work by its members in the annual juried exhibition, Best of 2017, now through June 18. Glass vessels by Columbus artist Michael Hric will be featured; Hric received the Artist Scholarship Award, which will allow him to attend a workshop at the Corning Museum of Glass in New York.

Kim: What drew you to glass as a medium?
Michael:
I began working with glass in the fall of 2003. During my first year at the Cleveland Institute of Art, I would visit the different departments when I had free moments between working on foundation course projects. One evening, I walked through the glass department and watched fourth- and fifth-year students blow glass. To say the least, I was mesmerized. At that moment, I knew glassblowing was what I wanted to pursue.

Kim: How long have you been working in Columbus?
Michael:
After graduating from the Cleveland Institute of Art in 2007, I moved to Columbus. Initially, I had no connections in the glass community and worked at Franklin Art Glass for about a year. My time there allowed me to learn about leaded glass and stained glass, which I had very minimal knowledge of at the time.

A year passed and an opportunity to assist another local artist presented itself. I began to assist multiple glass artists at Glass Axis and slowly began making my own work.

I now work as studio manager for Crystal Remembrance, which creates glass memorials. In my downtime, I can utilize the studio to create my art.

Reticulated Vessels by glass artist Michael Hric.

Kim: What process do you use to create your work?
Michael:
My current body of work employs the Venetian technique of applying cane to create my line patterns and color designs. The “reticulated” pattern within my work was born from altering a traditional cane technique.

I usually draw a small sketch of a form, which will then be made from glass. Many times, the initial sketch is only a base or foundation for a final piece. From the start, I keep elements of proportion, balance and shape in mind, but the line designs from the cane are unique in each piece.

During the creation of my pieces, especially sculptural work, a more pleasing and exciting form will take shape. Glass has the tendency to be its own creature. It will allow a certain amount of control, but you need to be able to know what it desires. Over time, manipulation of the material has become second nature.

Kim: What is the importance of being juried into the Ohio Craft Museum’s Best of 2017?
Michael:
The Best of 2017 offers me a chance to share my work with collectors and enthusiasts within Ohio. It also allows me to see what other artists and craftspeople are creating within our community. Each year, I am impressed with the quality of work presented through “Best of.”

The Best of 2017 will be on view through June 18 at the Ohio Craft Museum, 1665 W. Fifth Ave., Columbus 43212. Hours are Monday–Friday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Saturday–Sunday, 1-4 p.m. For details, see www.ohiocraft.org or call (614) 486-4402.

Columbus Makes Art Presents is a bi-weekly column brought to you by the Greater Columbus Arts Council – supporting art and advancing culture in Columbus. The column is a project of the Art Makes Columbus campaign, telling the inspiring stories of the people and organizations who create Columbus art. Each column will be written by a different local arts organization to give you an insiders look at how #artmakescbus.

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Exhibition Review: Action at a Distance at Angela Meleca Gallery http://www.columbusunderground.com/exhibition-review-action-at-a-distance-at-angela-meleca-gallery-lt1 http://www.columbusunderground.com/exhibition-review-action-at-a-distance-at-angela-meleca-gallery-lt1#comments Thu, 18 May 2017 14:00:57 +0000 http://www.columbusunderground.com/?p=1166077 Action at a Distance is a prolific exhibition mounted by Angela Meleca Gallery which seeks to redefine and reintroduce images of the Middle East. The works of five Lebanese artists – Youmna Chlala, Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, Rhea Karam, and Rania Matar – make a collective statement reconfiguring and reimagining dominant cultural representations of […]]]>

Action at a Distance is a prolific exhibition mounted by Angela Meleca Gallery which seeks to redefine and reintroduce images of the Middle East. The works of five Lebanese artists – Youmna Chlala, Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, Rhea Karam, and Rania Matar – make a collective statement reconfiguring and reimagining dominant cultural representations of the region.

Through a careful selection of a dozen or so works of art, these artists collectively grapple with their personal identities as Middle Eastern and Middle Eastern American artists, what that means for a continued cultural heritage, and how that image is often skewed through politics and history.

One of the most striking works of the exhibition, and the first the viewer comes across is a large scale photograph by Rania Matar titled Samira 15, Bourj El Barajneh Refugee Camp, Beirut taken in 2015 (feature image, above).  In it, Samira stands against a weathered and graffiti-scrawled wall, her brilliant red veil frames her pensive expression and her body is arranged in the slightly unsure way any teenage girl might hold herself.  This familiarity in Samira’s pose reminds us that there is some universality in teenage girl culture regardless of vast differences in daily challenges and lifestyle that life in a refugee camp would present.

Rania Matar, Tamer 6, Beirut, 2015.

For Matar, who lives permanently in the United States but frequently visits the large refugee camps near her hometown in Lebanon, this work is part of a series titled Invisible Children. One where Matar photographs recent Syrian refugees living in the camps and Palestinian refugees who are in many cases, going on their third generation living in camps.

Matar frames and gives voice voice to the children who often fade into the background of the camps. Tamer 6, Beirut another of her Invisible Children series in the exhibition captures the young boy in a defiant pose.  Tamer, with his hands on his hips and one hip swung out, stands in a pose that makes him seem older than his six years.  He is perched against a whitewashed wall between two images of figures which are scrawled in graffiti – one is a faceless man in a suit, the other a child – Tamer figuratively and symbolically stands between the two.

Rhea Karam. TS_12 2015.

Rhea Karam’s works are as much about process as they are about the image – and through her photographs of lively trees against decrepit buildings in Beruit, she makes a powerful statement.  Karam photographs trees in New York’s Central Park, prints them, goes to Beruit and pastes an individual Central Park tree on walls in Beirut – her placement is specific and often is in close relation to refugee camps.  The resulting photograph acts as both an attempt to draw attention to the lack of green space in Beruit, as well as the symbolic nature of what it means to be uprooted.

Karam and Matar’s works are juxtaposed with photographs of seemingly perfect cityscapes created by a team of researchers and cinematic artists, Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige who track a piece of largely lost Lebanese history in which a group of students in Beirut attempted to launch a rocket into space in the 1960s. Their photographs, which generally appear to be cityscapes of Beirut on an idyllic blue-sky day, consistently have an element of blurred action. To the viewer, the only reference to the rocket society appears in the series title ‘Lebanese Rocket Society’  which not only formally references the lost history, but asks the viewer to conduct research of their own.

Joana Hadji Thomas and Khalil Joreige. The Lebanese Rocket Societ #8. 2016. Lambda print on aluminum. 39″x28″.

A series of four very small scale works by Youmna Chlala lure the viewer in with their sense of intimacy, complexity, and dreamlike qualities. Her series of works, Notes on Leaving and Arriving in themselves have a duel identity. Set up like sculptures that you can circumnavigate, with transparent photographs suspended in the middle, street scenes transform from idyllic to devastating as they are viewed by one side or the other.

Through the works in Action at a Distance, you get the sense that there is a larger and more personal message at stake. Perhaps Matar and Karam are using elements of displacement to categorize not only their subjects, but their own experiences living between cultures.  The weight of the themes of transition, loss, and building identity are mirrored in Chlala’s intimate works which seem to desperately hold onto fading memories.

Oscillating between dreamlike and tragic states, these works weave together a varied and unique view of different aspects of Lebanese history and culture which collectively have the ability to reach the viewer in profound and numerous ways.

Action at a Distance is a must-see exhibition. On view through May 27, 2017 at Angela Meleca Gallery at 144 E. State St. Columbus, OH 43215. For more information visit angelamelecagallery.com

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The Confluence Cast: Artist Stephanie Rond http://www.columbusunderground.com/the-confluence-cast-artist-stephanie-rond-tf1 http://www.columbusunderground.com/the-confluence-cast-artist-stephanie-rond-tf1#respond Tue, 16 May 2017 12:00:07 +0000 http://www.columbusunderground.com/?p=1165936 The Columbus Arts Festival is quickly approaching, and their Sign Your Art installation is making a comeback. I sat down with organizer and artist Stephanie Rond to talk about the project, her work and background, and the thorns that she sees in the Columbus arts community. http://media.blubrry.com/confluence/p/theconfluencecast.com/episodes/38_stephanierond.mp3 Shownotes for this episode This Confluence Cast episode […]]]>

The Columbus Arts Festival is quickly approaching, and their Sign Your Art installation is making a comeback. I sat down with organizer and artist Stephanie Rond to talk about the project, her work and background, and the thorns that she sees in the Columbus arts community.

Shownotes for this episode

This Confluence Cast episode is sponsored by Art Makes Columbus, Columbus Makes Art, featuring stories about our city’s incredible artists — stories full of inspiration, challenge, passion, and success. For videos, articles, an up-to-the-minute calendar of events and an artist directory visit ColumbusMakesArt.com, the resource for all things arts and culture in the capital city.

Connect with the Confluence Cast:
Web | Patreon | iTunes | Facebook | Twitter

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A Dangerous Woman: Subversion and Surrealism in the Art of Honoré Sharrer http://www.columbusunderground.com/a-dangerous-woman-subversion-and-surrealism-in-the-art-of-honore-sharrer-jr1 http://www.columbusunderground.com/a-dangerous-woman-subversion-and-surrealism-in-the-art-of-honore-sharrer-jr1#comments Mon, 15 May 2017 15:45:03 +0000 http://www.columbusunderground.com/?p=1165934 In the last gallery of the Columbus Museum of Art’s stellar exhibition A Dangerous Woman, visitors are prompted to answer the question, “Why do you think Honoré Sharrer was a dangerous woman?” It’s a fantastic question, and one that made me consider not just the singularly dangerous woman whose work is on view, but also […]]]>

In the last gallery of the Columbus Museum of Art’s stellar exhibition A Dangerous Woman, visitors are prompted to answer the question, “Why do you think Honoré Sharrer was a dangerous woman?”

It’s a fantastic question, and one that made me consider not just the singularly dangerous woman whose work is on view, but also the wider world of outspoken women; women who were warned, women who persisted, women who marched, and yes, “nasty” women.

I didn’t complete the exercise, but, if I had, my answer would have been the same for all of the above, “Because they said or did things that men in power didn’t want to hear or see.” I won’t claim that’s the right answer for every dangerous, outspoken or “nasty” woman, but history (recent and otherwise) suggests it’s certainly the right answer much of the time.

In this context, the Columbus Museum of Art couldn’t have timed this exhibition any better if they’d tried. Women are front, center, and (for some at least) dangerous. Other museums have noted this as well. The Wexner Center for the Arts has designated 2017 “a calendar year of exhibition programming in which every artist featured in the galleries is a woman.” Similarly, the Brooklyn Museum has committed to A Year of Yes: Reimagining Feminism at the Brooklyn Museum. MOMA hosts the must-see Making Space: Women Artists and Postwar Abstraction, and the Met Breuer has staged much-deserved retrospectives by Marisa Merz and Lygia Pape.

These exhibitions, and others like them, serve two functions. They add variety and perspective to our cultural conversations, and they remind us that the history of art, like all history, is being constantly reexamined, revised and rewritten.

To the second point, Honoré Sharrer provides a great example. While she enjoyed early success working in the representational style she never abandoned, the combination of politics and abstraction saw to it that she never received the wider recognition she rightly deserved. With this exhibition, that should change.

A Dangerous Woman: Subversion and Surrealism in the Art of Honoré Sharrer brings together over forty paintings to showcase an artistic career that was focused and intense. The exhibition follows Sharrer’s path from purveyor of politically-charged realism to something more personal, but no less compelling. Along the way, her unwavering commitment to meticulous representation serves as the thread that ties the whole collection together. There can be no doubt that Sharrer was a voracious fan of painting. Her works contain paintings within paintings, and borrow stylistically and thematically from the Northern Renaissance to Surrealism to Pop.

Further, her works are so infused with sly and subtle painting references, that once you start noticing them, they pop up everywhere. Look in the upper right corner of Workers and Paintings, and you’ll find a New England church steeple that could have come straight out of a Grant Wood painting. And that gravity-defying knife in the lower lefthand corner of Nursery Rhyme? Browse through images of classic still life paintings and note how many knives you see balanced precariously over the edge of a table. It’s a thing. So are the pitchers, vessels, shellfish, fruit and flies. Sharrer was a painter’s painter in every way imaginable, skilled both in the vocabulary of painting and in execution.

Surrealism and Magic Realism are often used to describe Sharrer’s work. I suppose I can see that on the surface, but I’m not sure I buy it completely. Those terms suggest something subconscious, something dreamlike and hidden. Sharrer strikes me as too deliberate and careful for that. Allegorical? Sure. Speaking in a language I’m not completely familiar with? Absolutely. But the riddle she offers is the viewer’s to solve. I’m pretty sure Sharrer knows exactly what it all means.

The end result, and what we see when Sharrer is at her best, is something closer to poetry. Sharrer mines our rich traditions of myth, religion, folklore and symbolism, and manipulates the pieces in a way that eschews straightforward narrative in favor of something more nebulous and elusive. In her paintings, fragments of our collective consciousness are taken apart, laid bare, and then reconstructed to invent something novel. Sharrer is creating relationships and connections that simply didn’t exist before. That’s the magic.

It’s visual magic, and it goes a long way toward explaining how a painting like Meat can simultaneously be an allegory about suffering and sacrifice, an homage to the paintings of Francis Bacon, a memento mori (reminding us of our own mortality), and a deconstructed Dutch still life. It is all of those things, and yet none of them. It’s made from them, but bigger than them. Sharrer is upending our world. She’s re-ordering it, remaking it and ultimately releasing us from it. And if that’s not dangerous to some, I’m not sure what is.

A Dangerous Woman: Subversion and Surrealism in the Art of Honoré Sharrer is on view at the Columbus Museum of Art through May 21. Additionally, the museum will be hosting a Dangerous Women Panel and Reception on Thursday, May 18 from 5:30 to 8 p.m.

Don’t Murder Me I’m Not Ready for Eternity

 

Meat

Reception

Workers and Paintings

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Art Review: Discerning Patterns at Hammond Harkins Galleries Places Impeccable Craftsmanship on View http://www.columbusunderground.com/art-review-discerning-patterns-at-hammond-harkins-galleries-lt1 http://www.columbusunderground.com/art-review-discerning-patterns-at-hammond-harkins-galleries-lt1#respond Thu, 11 May 2017 13:40:19 +0000 http://www.columbusunderground.com/?p=1165520 An evocative show of over 30 works examines the relationship between craft and fine art. Discerning Patterns, an exhibition of Carol Stewart’s paintings and Janice Lessman-Moss’s textile works at Hammond Harkins Galleries, is inspired by the interplay of color, pattern, and impeccable craftsmanship which is present in both artists’ works. Stewart, a Columbus-based still-life painter, […]]]>

An evocative show of over 30 works examines the relationship between craft and fine art.

Discerning Patterns, an exhibition of Carol Stewart’s paintings and Janice Lessman-Moss’s textile works at Hammond Harkins Galleries, is inspired by the interplay of color, pattern, and impeccable craftsmanship which is present in both artists’ works.

Stewart, a Columbus-based still-life painter, and Lessman-Moss, a professor of Textile Arts at Kent State University, are tethered together by references to domesticity, and yet Discerning Patterns is after something larger than that. This exhibition brings up complex and relevant issues of fine art, a context that Stewart’s paintings would traditionally belong to, versus craft, the context that Lessman-Moss’s textile works would belong to. In recent history, since the 1940s or so, craft has taken a backseat to fine art in the context of the gallery setting. Aside from that, craft is typically analyzed through a varied set of terms that center on functionality and use-value.  What sets Discerning Patterns apart is the requirement that the viewer give equal space to each object, and therefore analyze the works through a fixed lens.

Coming Home by Going Away (left) and Casting Shadows. Works by Janice Lessman-Moss.

Stewart’s paintings, mostly still-life and interior scenes, are tied to representation. There are moments in Stewart’s paintings where her loose brushwork seems to define something else, elements of pattern which aren’t tied to objects at all. Studio Patterns is exemplary of Stewart’s aim.  Using oil on paper, mounted on canvas, Stewart achieves a buttery smooth surface to her images. The absorption of the oil into the paper creates evident transparent layers of paint which are often hidden in the medium.

Carol Stewart’s Studio Patterns, on view at Hammond Harkins Galleries as part of Discerning Patterns through May 27, 2017.

The painting is an interior scene of Stewart’s studio, packed with too many plants, tables with patterned cloths, a textile draped in the background –  it’s so busy that your eye doesn’t have a place to rest. This is an important aspect of the work because it is the packed picture plane itself which seems to transform the canvas to an abstract pattern forcing it to depart from observational reality. This reminds me of the French painter, Henri Matisse’s lively interiors of the early 20th century where his very aim was not to let the eye rest.

Lessman-Moss’s textile pieces are completely informed by her process. They are large and abstract, brimming with lively line, sophisticated and brilliant colors. The works are made on a Jacquard loom, meaning there is a portion of her process that follows her design, then the digitally-driven loom takes over. Lensman-Moss then, at times, goes back into her work to alter the digital process. The result is elaborate and alluring, large tableaus with organic and intricate line-work which is grounded by defined warp and weft rows – the images are optical and fixating. Works like her Coming Home by Going Away, a largely green and blue textile work created through this process –  emblematize her process and creates an incredible dichotomy with Stewart’s Studio Patterns. 

Summer Flowers (left) and Dusk Walk.

The curation of the gallery emphasizes the relationship between the works. Stewart’s paintings and Lessman-Moss’s textiles are paired or grouped together based on the formal nature of each object.  For instance, a lively painting of a bouquet of wildflowers titled Summer Flowers, and a second botanical painting Strawflowers, Satsumas by Stewart are paired with a fairly large textile work Dusk Walk by Lessman-Moss.  The largely pink, red, and blue of the palettes and the vibrating line-work unite the trio.

Discerning Patterns presents the unique and unexpected relationship between these two artists works which only draw out the strengths in each artist.

Discerning Patterns is on view through May 27, 2017 at Hammond Harkins Galleries, for more information visit hammondharkins.com.

Carol Stewart
Studio Patterns
Oil on paper on panel
30 x 40 inches

Janice Lessman-Moss
Coming Home by Going Away
Silk, linen, digital jacquard, hand woven TC2, painted warp, shifted weft ikat
58 x 57 ½ inches

Janice Lessman-Moss
Casting Shadows
Silk, linen, digital jacquard, hand woven TC2 loom, painted warp and weft
64 x 56 ½ inches

Carol Stewart
Summer Flowers
Oil on paper on panel
30 x 20 inches

Janice Lessman-Moss
Dusk Walk
Silk, linen, digital jacquard, hand woven TC2 loom, painted warp shifted weft ikat
57 x 57 inches

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Columbus Makes Art Presents: Dave Buker on Combining Science and Art http://www.columbusunderground.com/columbus-makes-art-presents-dave-buker-on-combining-science-and-art http://www.columbusunderground.com/columbus-makes-art-presents-dave-buker-on-combining-science-and-art#respond Thu, 04 May 2017 12:00:43 +0000 http://www.columbusunderground.com/?p=1164945 Many of COSI’s Team Members combine their passion for art with science education to give COSI guests a rich learning experience. Dave Buker, of Dave Buker & the Historians, is a talented musician and works as the Manager of the Tech Studio at COSI. He not only teaches students of all ages music creation, but […]]]>

Many of COSI’s Team Members combine their passion for art with science education to give COSI guests a rich learning experience. Dave Buker, of Dave Buker & the Historians, is a talented musician and works as the Manager of the Tech Studio at COSI. He not only teaches students of all ages music creation, but also teaches 3D modeling/printing, videography/photography and digital art. I had a chance to talk with him about how his passion for music intersects with teaching at COSI.

Dave Buker, of Dave Buker & the Historians, and Manager of the Tech Studio at COSI.

Jaclyn: Tell me a little bit about your background in music.
Dave: I discovered a love for music at a young age, and started playing brass instruments in middle school. Throughout middle and high school, I started playing guitar in several bands, which is when I really began to compose my own music. That ultimately led me to pursue music at a collegiate level; I graduated from Youngstown State University in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in music education (classical guitar emphasis). My time spent at YSU was also when I learned more about music theory, compositional techniques, arranging and piano fundamentals.
After graduating, I moved to Columbus and formed Dave Buker & the Historians with drummer Joe Spurlock and keyboardist Paul Valdiviez. Both Joe and Paul have music degrees, and play multiple instruments, so we’ve always spoken a very similar language. The band’s lineup has changed a bit over time but now also features my fiancé, Leanna Stansell (vocals/keyboard), and bassist Tim Jennings, both of whom bring very complementary elements to what Joe, Paul and I began cultivating seven years ago.

Jaclyn: Where do you find inspiration for your music?
Dave: Like many songwriters, I draw inspiration from personal experiences and the experiences of those in my life. In fact, that is why we use the name “historians;” I feel that songwriters often serve as documentarians for things that might have otherwise gone undocumented.

Jaclyn: How do you combine your passion for music with your work in the Tech Studio?
Dave: My passion for music, as well as media and art in general, is directly correlated to the activities in Tech Studio. There are obvious examples: I get to teach about audio production, recording, composition, etc. But also my background as an artist helps me when working with students in any discipline, whether it be videography, graphic design or animation. All of these disciplines require a certain measure of storytelling and so that is always a reference for me. Also, all art requires the artist to go through a process, which can at times be challenging; I find it helpful that I often go through a similar process through my work.

Jaclyn: Are there ways in which your band life intersects with your work life?
Dave: Absolutely. We have several students who visit Tech Studio to work on audio production and music composition. I often work very closely with them and site musical examples from my own work… which in turn leads to these students listening to Dave Buker & the Historians… which leads to conversations about things they noticed in the music. Also, students sometimes come to see me play, often bringing their whole family along. I really appreciate that support.

Jaclyn: Other than audio production, what is your favorite thing to teach about in Tech Studio?
Dave: I really like to teach about video production. I, along with our Tech Studio team (Ryan Westhoven and Liz Martin), produce most of COSI’s educational and marketing videos and so videography is something we’ve become increasingly passionate about. We even offer week-long summer camps that focus exclusively on editing, green screen compositing and the basics of camera functions.

Tech Studio at COSI is open Wednesdays from 3pm-5pm and Saturdays from 12pm-5pm. A special workshop on electronics prototyping will be held on May 20 at COSI, 333 W. Broad Street, Columbus, OH 43215. Visit cosi.org or call 614.228.2674 for details. Dave Buker & the Historians will release a new EP, You Can Follow, on June 10 with a performance at Rambling House Soda. Visit davebuker.com for details.

Columbus Makes Art Presents is a bi-weekly column brought to you by the Greater Columbus Arts Council – supporting art and advancing culture in Columbus. The column is a project of the Art Makes Columbus campaign, telling the inspiring stories of the people and organizations who create Columbus art. Each column will be written by a different local arts organization to give you an insiders look at how #artmakescbus.

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