Emerging Artists of Cincinnati
The Clifton Cultural Arts Center is currently showing the work of a dozen artists in the annual “2018 Summerfair Cincinnati Emerging Artists” exhibition. Twelve graduate and undergraduate fine arts and graphic design college students were selected from Miami University, Mt. St. Joseph University, Northern Kentucky University, Xavier University, and the University of Cincinnati. Each of the students exhibited 3 pieces, spread out between the lobby of the CCAC and the connected gallery space. The pieces varied greatly in media and content, and the wide breadth of works included showcase the abilities and variation of artistic approaches amongst the included artists.
The first works one encounters when entering the lobby is work by Aubrey Theobald and and Devon Hensler of UC DAAP, Amanda Adams of Miami University, and Megan Doebrich of NKU. Adam’s lithographs are technically stunning. The artist creates compelling and emotive portraits, investigating through texture and form how to capture emulate the personality of her subjects.
Theobald’s work consisted of a tennis net with two large photographs of a tennis court suspended above the net. The three-part cohesive piece deals with ideas of competition, participation, and the regulation of public spaces in relation to the current political U.S. climate. Hensler’s work deals with personal anxiety and meditation through line repetition and mindfulness, done on paper in ink.
Doebrich also deals with personal anxiety and the irrationality of fear, but instead of employing abstract forms as Hensler does, Doebrich personifies such concerns into expertly rendered ceramic animals painted in acrylic. A hyena, deer, and rabbit all represent Doebrich’s nervousness about leaving home and independence, as each animal either can either only survive in a pack, or must experience forced solitude Seen together, Hensler and Doebrich’s works are an interesting contrast, highlighting the different ways to approach an idea or problem through artistic process.
The Harrick Gallery connected to the lobby space features more works by Patrick Zoff of Mt. St, Joseph University, Ruowang Yao and Selina Davis of Miami, Macartney Greer of UC, Isabella Della’Aria of NKU, and Erin Bollinger, Taylor Healy, and Gabrielle Sapata of Xavier. Greer’s and Sapata’s works stand out in the space because, like Theobald, both artists unified their works for this exhibition.
For example, Greer's work features the leftovers of her “Pity Party” performance, complete with a cake, prints, and solemn silkscreened greeting cards disguised by happy, kitschy imagery, and balloons. Greer’s work deals with celebrating the sad, mundane, or ugly through kitschy paraphernalia. Sapata uses a projection of fish shown on a triptych of drapes, printed with figures to reflect her memories of her Portuguese heritage and culture.
Works by Zoff and Healey dealt with issues of police brutality and Black Lives Matter. Mounted on opposite walls, Zoff’s painting of Sam Dubose, the unarmed man fatally shot by UCPD officer Ray Tensing in 2015, titled “Innocence” and Healey’s resin sculpture of a police man wearing a BLM shirt under his uniform face one another, creating an interesting political dynamic between the two works.
Bollinger and Della’Aria’s works deal with analyzing and rendering form, Bollinger through drawing and sculpture, Della’Aria through figural drawings and design work. And conversely, Yao creates nonrepresentational paintings, building abstract form through color, texture, and composition. Davis’ paintings venerate comic book illustration, kitsch, and pop culture to create vibrant and overzealous images of mass production.
While the Summerfair 2018 exhibition does not have a unifying theme or motif, it is united in vitality. Though the show is only up till February 3rd, it is a reminder of how the support of institutions like Summerfair Cincinnati and the Clifton Cultural Arts Center is necessary for emerging artists to begin building their practice and network as working and active artists.
The 2018 Summerfair Emerging Artists Exhibition ran at the Clifton Cultural Arts Center from January 19th-February 3rd 2018.