Visual art

BGSU art exhibit celebrates legacy of Bernie Casey & other African-American artists

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATION Bernie Casey’s death in September 2017 was the impetus for creating an art exhibition in his honor at his alma mater. The Bowling Green State University School of Art is hosting “So Much More … Ohio’s African-American Artists” now through Oct. 21 in the Fine Arts Center’s Willard Wankelman Gallery. Though Casey was best known to the world as an actor and professional football player, he also was remarkably talented as an artist. He attended BGSU on a football scholarship and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in fine arts in 1961 and 1966, respectively. According to Charlie Kanwischer, director of the School of Art, the exhibition evolved from a tribute to the legacy of athlete, actor and visual artist Bernie Casey and other African-American alumni to a broader, intergenerational conversation among alumni, current students and invited African-American artists from Ohio and beyond, addressing the intersection of racial identity and personal experience. “This conversation recognizes that the experience of African-American students in the School of Art has sometimes been fraught, that it has been and continues to be marked by the same fitful and incomplete progress toward equity and inclusiveness too long symptomatic of race relations in our country,” Kanwischer said. “Yet, approaching the exhibition only through the lens of race risks essentializing the participating artists and their work. “‘So Much More’ is fundamentally a celebration of the deeply personal and particular vision of the artists who gently but forcefully remind us that we’re all ‘so much more’ than our racial and ethnic identities, that the sense of agency arising out of a committed studio practice is a powerful means to push back against the injustice of stereotypical assumptions.” Work by 15 alumni and current students is included in the exhibition. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; Thursday, 6-9 p.m., and Sunday, 1-4 p.m. “The exhibition features (Casey’s) work and that of African-American artists with ties to him, to BGSU and to the state of Ohio,” said Jacqueline Nathan, gallery director. Casey’s art was loaned from the collections of the Thelma Harris Art Gallery in Oakland, California; Barbara DuMetz; Vicken J. Festekjian CPA Inc., and Vicki McMillan. Nathan acknowledged three BGSU alumni who helped shape the exhibition’s direction: Col. John Moore Jr., Class of 1966; Edward…

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Law’s exhibit celebrates nature & the flowering of community

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Painting wasn’t enough for Rebecca Louise Law when she was an art student. As much as she loved the richness of painting, she longed for something more immersive. She tried installations, including some horrendous efforts involving food. Law found what she was looking for in her father’s garden – dahlias. Fifteen years after that first flower-based installation, “Dahlias,” the English artist has created an installation that she said most fully realizes her vision. Law’s “Community” opened Saturday in the Toledo Museum of Art’s Canaday Gallery. The site specific work was created over the past several weeks by Law, her four-member team, and more than 400 local volunteers. It uses 520,000 dried flowers. Of those 10,000 were harvested locally, including some from the museum’s grounds. The rest are the flowers used in her previous 51 installations. She saves everything. After an installation’s run, everything is boxed up for future use, even the dust that the flowers eventually become. These are encased in glass. She will return to Toledo in September for a residency at the Glass Pavilion working with that dust. On Saturday, Law discussed the evolution of her work with the museum’s Director of Curatorial Affairs Halona Norton-Westbrook who curated “Community.” Growing up in the countryside near Cambridge, England, she spent her time in the fields and fens. If it wasn’t raining her mother sent her and her siblings out to play. If they were inside often it was among the dried flowers in the attic. Law went on to study painting. “I felt incredibly frustrated. I wanted to work outside the canvas. I couldn’t figure out how to paint in the air.” Then she had her epiphany. Law started to “paint” with flowers. That led her to discover and study a whole new world of botany. “Personally I’m blown away by nature,” Law said. “That’s my ultimate inspiration. The more I know, the less I know.” The flowers are draped across the Canaday’s ceiling and hang down to the floor. From the entry the effect is a shimmering tableau. Then the viewer walks into the scene to be among the blossoms. During a press preview on Friday Law explained that she stands back while others arrange the flowers at her direction. The arrangement is guided by mathematics and…


Art in the Park shines even under cloudy skies

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Rain couldn’t dampen the spirit of the fourth Art in the Park Friday at Simpson Garden Park. It did deter some, but not all, plein air artists. But others came out in force to entertain the attendees, who grew in number as the two-hour event progressed. The rain that arrived mid-afternoon was receding just as folks arrived. So a trio of musicians were heading out to the gazebo. Alice Calderonello, of the BG Arts Council which staged the event with the city Parks and Recreation Department, said the performers took the changes necessitated by the weather in good spirits, even if it meant they were playing in odd corners, and for a shorter period of time. Still by the time the event was wrapping up, musicians had ventured outdoors, and some visitors had wandered off into the garden to admire the garden’s blooms, which are delayed a bit by the cool, wet spring. Phil Hollenbaugh, the volunteer who tends the extensive hosta garden, was on hand checking the plants. Mayor Dick Edwards said that Bowling Green is second only to Dubuque, Iowa, in the number of hosta varieties in its municipal garden. Hollenbaugh said he has 50 more varieties to plant. But he laughed off any competition between the two cities. He’s always happy when people come into the garden to enjoy the plants. Painter Kim Sockman, one of the three artists to arrive to paint outside in the garden, was as close to the outside as she could be while still being inside. The retired art teacher was near the doorway to the Children’s Discovery Garden. With an eye on the weather Thursday, she came out and snapped a photo of the wooden arch in the area. She worked from that image as well as glancing out at the scene. It was good she got a head start on her work because so many people, including her former art students, stopped to chat she wasn’t get a lot of work done. “This is Bowling Green,” she said. “It’s a blast.” That sense of community also attracted newer arrivals to town. Rachel and Phil Beskid were there with their daughters Sylvia and Lucy, who were busy working on a craft project. The family moved to BG about a year…


Airing out the arts in Simpson Garden Park

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Art in the Park allows the arts to blossom right along with the flowers in Simpson Garden. For the fourth year, the festival of arts will take place at the garden, at the intersection of Conneaut and Wintergarden, Friday, June 8 from 5 to 7 p.m. The event packs in a lot of activity into a two-hour span. It features plein air art – artists working in the open air, as well as strolling musicians, theater, at every turn, and children’s activities in the Simpson Building. That’s where performances will happen if the rain comes. But Alice Calderonello, of the Bowling Green Arts Council, urged people not to give up on the weather. Last year the rain threatened all afternoon, but then the skies cleared just in time for art walk. “For some reason heaven smiles on us,” she said. This year, said her husband, John Calderonello, there are more performers than ever. They will be spread from the upper healing garden where strolling performers from the university’s doctorate in contemporary music will do their musical version of plein air art, improvising to suit the mood. Also, new to the event will by the vocal ensemble Inside Voices, also near the healing garden. Down the way in the peace garden the Kaze No Daichi Taiko drum ensemble will perform. In stages closer to the building singer Tom Gorman, the old time ensemble Root Cellar Band, Irish tunes by Toraigh an Sonas, and the Black Swamp Drum Circle will entertain. In the amphitheater, Horizon Youth Theater will stage a preview of its summer musical, “Dorothy in Wonderland,” at 5:15 and 6:30 and in between the Black Swamp Players will read a section of Scott Regan’s original play “Peanuts and Crackerjacks.” The play will be part of the Players’ 51st season. Spread throughout the garden will be artists at work, though not so intently that they won’t take a time to chat with guests. Last year eight artists took part, but organizers are always hoping for more. Jules Webster of Art Supply Depo is again sponsoring a $100 gift certificate to go to one artist voted the favorite by those attending. While artists can sign up on the day of the event, Alice Calderonello encouraged them to register in advance to…


Toledo Federation of Art Societies celebrates its tradition & looks to the future

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Doug Adams-Arman remembers attending the “May” Show, the once annual Toledo Area Artists exhibition. Presented by the Toledo Federation of Arts Societies at the Toledo Museum of Art, it showcased the work of the best regional artists, from the elders who helped put Toledo on the artistic map to students from Bowling Green State University and the University of Toledo. “To know that Toledo art could be in the museum was fantastic,” Adams-Arman, who has just be elected to his second term as the TFAS president, said recently. “It just gave me a sense of that I was living in a city with living artists. It was very exciting.” Now that show is history. Its tradition is celebrated in the current exhibit “Decades in the Making: Highlights from the Toledo Federation of Art Societies” at the museum through June 24. The show features more than 20 works, from the about 300 that the TFAS purchased from those shown in the area show. That collection is now being housed at the Toledo School for the Arts, where Adams-Arman works as a major gifts officer. The work spans almost 70 years of the show from early representational paintings, “Still Life with Pheasant” by Jeannette Doak Martin and “Spanish Girl” by Miriam Silverman to the most recent purchase, “Slaughter of the Innocents” by K.A. Letts, an Ann Arbor-based painter. Letts, Adams-Arman said, has a rising reputation in the art world and “it’s privilege” for TFAS to own one of her works. “Slaughter” was exhibited in the 95th annual show, and the last one presented. Change was afoot in 2014. The boundaries for entries were expanded, but fewer artists, just 28, were included. Those exhibiting got to show more work. The painting mixes Letts’ concern with current issues expressed through myth and primordial iconography. Religious iconography plays an understated role in Sister Jane Catherine Lauer’s 1952 painting “Afternoon Collation.” With its use of straight lines and geometric blocks of color, it evokes a stain glass window. Yet the scene it depicts is a slice of everyday life in the Ursuline convent. The piece Adams-Arman said was painted for the Toledo area exhibit. The show also has iconic names from the Toledo scene. That includes Edith Franklin, a ceramicist who also participated in the…


Artist going ‘to paint in the air’ to create installation for Toledo Museum

From TOLEDO MUSEUM OF ART British installation artist Rebecca Louise Law uses flowers and natural materials as her medium to “paint in the air.” The Toledo Museum of Art (TMA) has commissioned this vanguard contemporary artist to design and implement her largest site-specific installation to date exploring the relationship between humanity and nature. Sourcing approximately 150,000 plants and flowers native to the Toledo region and requiring 4,000 volunteer hours of assistance from community members over 15 days, Law will create an immersive environment that will thematically and literally represent northwest Ohio. A proponent of sustainability, Law also plans to reuse flowers from her previous installations around the world for the TMA project. Curated by TMA Director of Curatorial Affairs Halona Horton-Westbrook, Rebecca Louise Law: Community will be on view exclusively in Toledo from June 16, 2018, through Jan. 13, 2019. “We hope this installation will offer visitors a sensory experience, evocative of the people and places, natural history and landscapes of northwest Ohio,” said Brian Kennedy, TMA’s Edward Drummond and Florence Scott Libbey director. “Law’s transporting vision wonderfully reflects the spirit and textures of our local and global communities.” Law uses both dried and fresh flowers in her work, and the process of decay is part of her time-based installations. Inspired by the dried flowers that hung in her attic as a child, Law’s “sculptures” are suspended from above and held together with copper wire. Drawing on the theme of community, the coordinated volunteer effort will begin in May, with local residents assisting with stringing together garlands of plants and flowers and taking some ownership over the ambitious installation, an aspect of the project that the artist feels passionate about. “I started out studying printmaking and painting, but I’ve always enjoyed nature. I come from seven generations of artists on my mum’s side, and seven generations of gardeners on my dad’s,” said Law. “My intention was to get others to physically experience a painting. I soon began to realize that color wasn’t what mattered as much; it’s about nature and preservation, processes of life and decay.” Based in London, Law has been commissioned to create installations at the Onassis Cultural Centre in Athens, Chandran Gallery in San Francisco, Kew Royal Botanic Gardens in London and in New York City’s Times Square, among other venues. Her work has been exhibited…


Marissa Saneholtz makes her mark as a woman artist to watch

By DAVID DUPONT BG independent News Marissa Saneholtz only has two smallish tattoos. The women she depicts on her jewelry, though, are covered with ink. Yet these women are depictions of the artist, proud assertions of her feminism. The copper and enamel broaches with decals fired into the surface that mix of social commentary, aesthetic grace, and technical mastery, have earned the Bowling Green native a place in Women to Watch Ohio – 2018. The show is now on exhibit in the Riffe Gallery in Columbus. The exhibit, which features the work of 10 women artists working in metals, is a collaboration of the Ohio Arts Council and the Ohio Advisory Group of the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Saneholtz honed her skills close to home, first in the Bowling Green High and then at Bowling Green State University, before heading to East Carolina University to earn her Master of Fine Arts. After stints in Italy, Vail, Colorado, and at Appalachian State University, she’s back home as an instructor in the metals and jewelry program at BGSU’s School of Art. Saneholtz, 32, said her art activity started from the time she came out of the womb. Her mother, Karen, did the arts projects for Plan, Do, and Talk. And when her daughter was a preschooler, she served as her “Guinea pig.” If she could do a project, the other kids could as well. When Saneholtz was older, she’d help her mother by demonstrating the projects. At Bowling Green High School, she started in art inspired by teacher Becky Laabs. As a freshman, Saneholtz won a prize in a state competition. She thought, “I can do this.” Academics came easily for her. “Art was good because I could challenge myself and research anything I wanted and turn it into art.” Metalsmithing was a good fit. The process jibed with her talents in science and math. It takes logic and organization. It’s “very planned out,” Saneholtz said. Science meets art as she deals with patinas, melting temps and alloys. “That’s all really exciting.” Using glass for enameling, she also has to consider fusion temperatures and expansion rates. “Not everyone wants to think about those things when they’re making art.” When it came to going to college, she didn’t consider BGSU at first. “I didn’t want…