Kent State School of Art Opens Season
Kent State's School of Art Gallery and Downtown Gallery show diversity in artistry
The shows currently on view at the Kent State art galleries are oddly coupled.
But that's what makes them so interesting.
In the School of Art Gallery on the Kent State campus is "Therely Bare," an exhibition curated by John Tallman and Ron Buffington that centers around ideas of non-objective art.
This is a style of art that contains no recognizable figures or objects.
In Kent State's Downtown Gallery, Eric England presents a solo show called "Imprint" inspired by pop culture comic book characters and primitive totems and dolls.
In this show, England uses recognizable figures to create meaning in the work.
And while Anderson Turner, director of Kent State's art galleries, didn't exactly plan it this way, having both shows run simultaneously is a wonderful example of the diverse ways that art is made today.
Turner works with artists to schedule shows in his galleries up to a year in advance. Many artists are alums of Kent State, where Turner then has the opportunity to "connect to the career path" of these artists' years of research. This has been a rewarding experience for Turner.
In the big picture, his aim is to bring artworks into the community that will be thought-provoking, engaging and challenge the viewers to think about new ideas.
The School of Art gallery is designed with the intention of bringing international as well as national artists to show work.
"Therely Bare" hosts artists from the United States, France, Belgium, New Zealand and the Netherlands.
The show came to Turner's attention from Lori Ott, a Kent State painting faculty member who also has a piece in the show.
In this show, "We find there are many different approaches to 'painting' (material/technique/application etc.)," Ott said. Her piece, unstrung, blends into its surroundings by hovering between being there and not being there. Its fleshy color and shape hovers between the organic and the geometric. It is her way of being barely there.
The curators, Tallman and Buffington, are artists and professors from the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga.
"My interest in painting lies in its unending flexibility as a means of individual expression," Tallman said, explaining his reasons for putting this show together.
He added that "within the 'language of non-objective art,' artists can be subversive and dismantle conventions while making it appear that outwardly they're following those conventions."
This curatorial team chose works for the show from the international non-objective art movement they have seen in artist-run project spaces.
On the other hand, the Downtown Gallery intends to show work from local artists.
Eric England is a Kent State alumni who teaches art at Howland High School in Howland, Ohio. England is inspired by our modern American mythology, from Spiderman to Space Ghost to Iron Fist and Halle Berry.
England also pulled inspiration from primitive mythologies. Using techniques similar to African carving and American Indian totems, England translates our modern mythical characters into figures he calls "talismans." There are more than 50 in this show.
The result is like "walking into a comic book store," Turner said.
"They are intensely gratifying to create," England said. "Hand-selected recruits for my own diminutive vigilante army!"
Here the modern meets the archaic, showing us something about ourselves and the "reaches of human imagination and aspiration," as reads England's artist statement.
"Imprint" will be on view at the Downtown Gallery until Sept. 24. It is located at 141 E. Main Street. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Friday noon to 5 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
"Therely Bare" will be on view at the School of Art Gallery until Sept. 30. It is located in the Art Building on Kent State's campus. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.