Visual art

Quilts memorialize migrants who die seeking refuge in the United States

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Migrants searching for a better life in the United States, a life free from violence and poverty, sometimes find a lonely death in the wastelands along the border. The Tucson Sector is the most deadly. And just as American economic and political policies have left many in Central America with little recourse but to flee, so American border policies have funneled them into the most deadly terrain. Since the late 1990s, an average of 150 migrants a year died in the area. Jody Ipsen, a quilter and writer, was backpacking in the area when she came upon what had been a camp for migrants. They’d left behind clothes and embroidered towels that are used to wrap tortillas. She found these traces of their passage through the area touching. That inspired the Migrant Quilt Project. Ipsen and curator and quilter Peggy Hazard visited Bowling Green State University this week as part of the annual Immigrant Ohio seminar. The quilts that have been produced by the project are on display through Dec. 7 on the fourth and fifth floors of Jerome Library on campus. Ipsen collects what the migrants throw away and then with the help of quilters, creates memorials to those who have died. Ipsen said she never  uses material from a site where someone has died out of respect and so as not to interfere with the medical examination of the site. As barriers have been put in place at the locations that are easier to cross, migrants have shifted into the harsher areas. This is part of US policy, she said. Officials say they hope the difficulty will deter migrants. That has not been the case. Thousands have died. “Death by deterrence,” Ipsen called it. The quilts serve as a reminder of their deaths, she said. Each quilt has an inscription for each person who has died, whether the person’s name or simply as unknown, or “desconocido,” for the many whose remains have not been identified. This is a reminder, Ipsen said, that these were people with families and friends. Ipsen told the story of three women whose stories she researched. Prudencia Martin Gomez headed north to find her boyfriend Ismael. He’d had to flee Guatemala because of lingering resentment over his father’s involvement in Army atrocities during the country’s 30-year-long civil war.  Prudencia was hoping to surprise him on his birthday. “She never made it,” Ipsen said. She showed an image of Prudencia’s body as it was found in the desert. While warning the audience of graphic nature, she said people also needed to see the reality  of the crisis. Ipsen choked up. She had talked to the families and came to know these women and what their loss meant to their survivors. “It’s really painful for me to talk about.” Yolanda Garcia Gonzalez left with her 18-month-old daughter when the local agricultural economy collapsed following the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994. The agreement allowed a flood of cheap American corn, rice and beans into the country. Small subsistence farmers, Ipsen said, could not compete. Their centuries-old farm system collapsed in a matter of months. “It’s no wonder people are coming to the country that is unequivocally responsible for dismantling their small scale economies,” Ipsen said. Migration and death along…

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Artists from kindergarten through seniors invited to submit work for Animals 4 Animals exhibit

From BOWLING GREEN ARTS COUNCIL The Bowling Green Arts Council and Four Corners Center will be hosting Artists 4 Animals 5 at the Four Corners Center, 130 S. Main Street, with an opening reception from 4:30-6:30 pm .on Friday, November 9. Interested artists can find information about the show and how to sign up on the Bowling Green Arts Council website, Artists of all ages, kindergarten through adult, will be exhibiting their animal- themed work in the show, which is free and open to the public, during regular Four Corners hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday. Exhibit of all artists can be viewed through November 28. The show features selected top winners in each age category as well as best domestic and wild animal. The winning images will be reproduced on note cards that available for purchase at the Four Corners Center and other Bowling Green venues. Sales of the cards will benefit the Wood County Humane Society and the Bowling Green Arts Council.

Art fest’s Chalk Walk competition goes on despite rainout

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Two weeks after the Black Swamp Arts Festival’s Chalk Walk competition was washed out by rain, four teams from Bowling Green High School were at work bringing their designs to life. Working on the sidewalk leading to the school the chalk-dusted students created out-of-this-world art. This year’s theme was Outer Space and the Solar System. After the competition had to be canceled, Tom and Lorena Perez, who coordinated the event for the festival, and guest artist Chris Fry decided that instead of judging the works based on the designs submitted by the 15 teams, they would give the students a chance to draw those designs at their schools. Most of the other teams have either scheduled or completed their work. They are teams from Otsego, Sylvania Northview, Eastwood, Holgate, Wayne Trace, Anthony Wayne, Genoa, and Lake. The basic rules remain the same — teams of five or fewer, no teacher involvement in the actual creation of the drawing, and a four-hour time frame to draw the image. Teams are required to submit time and date stamped photos documenting the beginning and end of the process, as well as other photos showing the work in progress. Teams have until Sunday at 6 p.m. to submit their work.  Winners will be notified at 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29. The BG students were disappointed that they weren’t able to create their work as originally planned. “I definitely prefer to do it at the festival,” Anne Weaver said. She loves “the ambiance with all the music and people walking by. “Still this is fun,” she added. “We were bummed we didn’t get to talk to the chalk artist,” said Sophi Hachtel. On Saturday morning each team had it own soundtrack. Etta Gallaway said she was glad the school organized the event so all the teams could work together. Kate Bozzo said she and her teammates have been participating in the event for the past three years since art teacher Lloyd Triggs suggested they give it a try. They always have fun creating art with their friends. “We’re all the secret sauce,” said Uzochi Nwauwa. “We all bring stuff to the table for the perfect recipe.” Sophie Pineau said that the chalk medium can be difficult. She highly recommends wearing gloves.  “When you don’t have gloves blending with bare fingers on asphalt is brutal.” But that blending is needed to bring out the full range of colors. Nwauwa said it did have a nostalgic feel, of drawing with chalk as a child. “It’s like that childhood experience,” Bozzo said, “except up a level. Now we can make it really, really beautiful.” Nwauwa said: “There’s a lot of hidden talent in Bowling Green. In an event like this you get to see that talent.”

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 Sewell, Class of 1968; and attorney Vivian Moore, Class of 1967 and 1968. “I would like to thank them for all of their energy and enthusiasm in helping to organize this show,” she said. Sponsors of the exhibition include the Ohio Arts Council and the College of Arts and Sciences Ethnic Cultural Arts Program.

Beth Genson exhibits nature paintings at Marathon Center

From MARATHON CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS The Fisher/Wall Art Gallery, located in Marathon Center for the Performing Arts, welcomes encaustic artist, Beth Genson, whose exhibition, “Exploring Nature in Paint and Wax,” is now on display through Thursday, September 27, 2018. Trained in fine art and education at Bowling Green State University, Genson has spent the majority of her career as an art instructor for middle school through college-age students. She has also studied at France’s Grenoble University. Genson refers to herself as an artistic explorer which has led her to creating works in the ancient art of encaustic. This method of art uses a hot paint mixture of beeswax, damar resin and oil pigments. She finds encaustic is a medium particularly suited to her exploration of water as a subject matter thus rivers and ponds are the focal point of many her paintings. An advocate for access to potable drinking water, a portion of her sales is donated to Charity: Water, an organization that utilizes 100 percent of its donations to fund water projects. The Fisher/Wall Art Gallery is open Monday through Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 4:30 pm. and there is no admission fee to view the exhibit. An artist’s reception will be held on Wednesday, September 19 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. This event is free and open to the public.  

Here’s that rainy day, & night, theme for Black Swamp Arts Festival

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News This is what legends are made of — blues star Samantha Fish laying down the blues to a packed Howard’s Club H for closing set of the rain-soaked Black Swamp Arts Festival.  She delivered assertive blues with no holds-bar vocals and searing electric guitar to listeners happy not to standing outside in the rain. From the time her festival appearance was announced in June, fans have buzzing about Fish’s appearance. She delivered. Fish delivered more than a powerful set, she delivered a lift to a festival bedeviled by constant rain. The weather, though, never got as severe as expected. That forecast of heavy rain and a series of thunderstorms, led the festival’s organizers on Friday afternoon to cancel the outdoor activities for Sunday. The music was moved inside at Howard’s and Grounds for Thought to salvage most of the music. Bill Donnelly, chair of the festival, stood by the decision Monday. It was made with the safety of everyone involved — patrons, visual artists, performers, and volunteers.  The festival committee had been watching the weather, and consulted with the Wood County Emergency Management Agency and National Weather Service. On Friday, there was a 70 percent chance of heavy rain, strong wings, and lightning on Sunday. “Probability is probability.” That led the committee after meeting with fire, police and public works officials to cancel all outdoor activities on Sunday. He praised the site and logistics team, chaired by Alex Hann, site and logistics team for being “responsive, flexible and focused on protecting the safety of everybody” as well as the festival’s marketing committee for keeping the public informed throughout the weekend.  Cutting the art show short meant the tents in downtown disappeared Saturday evening, leaving Main Street feeling haunted and bleak on Sunday. Donnelly noted that even before the decision was made, artists were contacting the festival saying they would not come because of the weather. About 20 artists scheduled did not show up, he said, though how many because of the weather is not known. Others asked about the possibility of leaving on Saturday, Donnelly said. Having a scattershot exit of artists would have been  logistical nightmare. Though they lost a day of sales, most artists on Saturday were understanding. They appreciated the decision being made earlier enough so they could plan accordingly. One woman whose husband is an artist said that he has lost hundreds of dollars worth of work at shows that refused to cancel, Donnelly said. Though the catastrophic weather did not hit, even the weather that did arrive, cold, rainy, and blustery would have resulted in few patrons and fewer sales, artists told organizers. The rain out was rare this season on the art fair circuit. Artist Mike Grau was one of several who noted high temps, topping 100 degrees at some shows, were more of a problem. People don’t show up when it’s that hot, he said. But Grau and others said that Saturday’s business was brisk. On Facebook, Stacy Poca, co-chair of the visual arts ,said many artists reported good sales, while a few did not do as well. ”It was pretty consistent for what I’ve done on a Saturday, “ said JBird Cremeans, an artist from West Virginia, who won best of show honors. Cremeans and others said…

Art show judges take a shine to whimsical work at Black Swamp Arts Festival

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Whimsy was a winner at the Black Swamp Art Show Saturday. JBird Cremeans from Huntington, West Virginia, won Best of Show for her digital images which superimpose animals heads onto human figures taken from vintage photographs. First place in three-dimensional art went to the colorful ceramic houses created by Gint and Regina Sabaliauskas. The first place for two-dimensional art went to Nicholas Ringelstetter who creates intricately drafted paintings filled with cartoon figures. Other award winners were: ° Second Place: furniture maker Ellen Smith  ° Third place: Chris Plummer for his wood cuts and monoprints  ° Honorable mentions: Peggy Schuning, slate mosaics; Dave Thompson, metal found object sculptures; and Robin Lauersdorf, hyper-realistic drawings. Cremeans said she was inspired by seeing a man in her hometown of Huntington, West Virginia, selling his art in his driveway. She wanted to do that. Now she does about a dozen shows a year and plans to do more.  As a child she always loved anthropomorphic creatures such as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. She was inspired to head in this direction by seeing “the original cat memes” produced for books by Harry Whittier Frees. He created “these horrifyingly cute pictures” by dressing cats and posing them, Cremeans decided to do this digitally and use a variety of animals. She collects vintage photographs and decides what species or breed fits the personality of the human subject. She does custom work, allowing people to place their own pets into her images. Cremeans works in Photoshop with a variety of tools, and then prints them on light sensitive paper,  akin to photographic paper. Cremeans has been doing the art fair circuit for about 10 years. College towns tend to be a good market, with the exception of her hometown of Huntington. Big cities are receptive to her work as well. Cremeans has a steady following at the Black Swamp Art Festival with customers seeking her out. Ringelstetter said he was also inspired by an artist he encountered in his home town of Spring Green, Wisconsin. That artist Andy Van Schyndle, who trades in whimsical large scale paintings, also exhibits at the Black Swamp Arts Festival. Ringelstetter said he used to go to his hometown art fair just to see Van Schyndle’s work. About 10 years ago Ringelstetter decided to exhibit at the fair. He showed his first 16 paintings, which he’d done for “my own walls.” Thirteen sold, and he knew he had something. He turned to Van Schyndle who gave him all the advice he needed to be successful on the art fair circuit. The work he sells is an extension of what he’s been doing as long as he can remember. Whenever he had a pencil in his hand he’d draw aliens, monsters, and foreign planets. Growing up in a farming community “I felt like an outcast my whole life,” he said.  “The great thing about an art show is to be able to put yourself in front of people who get you.” People come to look at and buy art, and talk to artists. Doing so many shows he’s turned to supplementing his originals — he does about a half dozen large pieces a year as well as smaller concept pieces — with reproductions. The originals have gotten too…