Visual art

Isaac Smith returns to hometown festival as reigning Best of Show winner

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When he was growing up in Bowling Green, Isaac Smith created his share of macaroni masterpieces in the Youth Arts area of the Black Swamp Arts Festival. He also liked wandering through the crowd and visiting the art booths. It didn’t occur to him that the day would come that he’d be one of those artists. That he would be displaying and selling his own highly detailed and realistic pen and ink drawings, and his artwork would named Best of Show. Smith, a 2011 graduate of Bowling Green High School, returns next month to the Black Swamp Arts Festival’s juried art show to be held Sept. 9 and 10 on Main Street in downtown Bowling Green. The festival begins with music on the Main Stage Friday, Sept. 8 at 5 p.m. Last year was Smith’s second at the festival. He had exhibited in 2015 in the Wood County Invitational Show. In awarding him Best of Show honors, festival juror Brandon Briggs praised the artist’s “penetrating vision” Smith, Briggs said, was able to pick up on subtle details in his subject matter that most other observers would miss. “That takes not only time and patience, but a certain amount of heart. … Most people are willing to go as far as good enough. You’re a real artist if you’re willing to go ‘good enough is not good enough. I’m going to take it farther.’” Smith said f drawing: “I enjoy the long process, and the patience it takes.” Even as a child he spend more…


BGSU undergrad wins NowOH Popular Choice Award

Yuanyi Wang won the Popular Choice Award at the 10th Annual Northwest Ohio Community Art Exhibit. Wang, an undergraduate student in the Bowling Green State University’s School of Art, was honored for her self-portrait “Perfect or Not Perfect.” The oil painting also received the Toledo Federation of Art Societies Award at the show, which was held in the Bryan Gallery in the BGSU School of Art. The exhibit, which was open to artists from 12 counties in Northwest Ohio, closed July29. At that point the ballots for the Popular Choice Award were counted. The $50 prize is sponsored by the Bowling Green Arts Council. Jacqueline Nathan, gallery director, said Wang’s margin of victory was definitive. See http://bgindependentmedia.org/nowoh-exhibit-surveys-local-art-scene/ for related story.


Black Swamp Arts Festival’s juried art show celebrates continued excellence in its 25th year

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News For the Black Swamp Arts Festival’s juried art show the 25th year celebration is pretty much business as usual. That means working to maintain its standing in the Sunshine Artist magazine’s listing of top art shows. Last year the festival was ranked 70th on the journal’s Top 100 Classic and Contemporary Show list. That’s about where the festival has ranked in the 15 years or so that, it has broken onto the list. Those rankings are based on artists’ average sales which are something shy of $3,000. The 25th Black Swamp Arts Festival will be presented Friday, Sept. 8 through Sunday, Sept.10, with the art shows presents Saturday and Sunday. For more details, visit: http://www.blackswampfest.org/. Brenda Baker, who chairs the festival’s visual arts committee, said she would like to think the milestone year has attracted a few more artists to apply. As it was the jurors Kathy Buszkiewicz and Brandon Briggs reviewed 222 applications to fill the 112 booth spaces on Main Street in downtown Bowling Green. Six award winners from last year have committed to returning. That includes best of show winner Isaac Smith. Baker said that 18, or 12.5 percent, of the artists are in their first Black Swamp Arts Festival. “That’s pretty high.” Another 15 percent have been regulars for at least that past five years. The rest are in or out depending on the judgement of the jurors. Buszkiewicz wrote in an email: “Having judged this show in the past, this time I have seen some good returning artists’ applications….


NowOH exhibit surveys local art scene

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News For an art exhibit dedicated to artists of Northwest Ohio, it was fitting that the best of show winner was a local scene. Aaron Pickens received the top honor at the 10th Northwest Ohio Community Art Exhibition for a pairing of two small paintings of fields in the Grand Rapids area. They were certainly not the flashiest pieces among the work by 47 artists in the Bryan Gallery in the Bowling Green State University Fine Arts Building. They were not even the flashiest of the pieces Pickens was showing. For juror Robert Thurmer that was the point. “I choose that as best of show mostly to honor the feeling that’s created here with a few skillfully placed brush strokes and color combinations that are apparently simple, but are really quite complex,” he explained. “This is a very, very thoughtfully produced and skillfully handled, and it creates a mood and feeling that’s highly personal statement.” Pickens created the paintings plein air, in the open air. It’s a discipline he’s adopted to complement his studio work, an example of which hung right next to the landscapes. That studio painting is a still life of toys, set on a sheet of cardboard, with an ominous forest in the background. That painting took 70-80 hours to create, Pickens said. The plein air landscapes, each took about an hour to create. He goes out for just a limited amount of time to try to capture the light, in this case dawn and dusk. “This is what taught me how…


Dancing the night away at Toledo Museum’s Block Party

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Toledo Museum of Art’s annual Block Party takes place throughout the museum’s campus. And for the fourth party held Saturday night, even the lawns and terrace didn’t seem like they were quite big enough as thousands of neighbors, coming from as close a few blocks away or neighboring communities, jammed the museum grounds for a night of entertainment, food, beverages, and camaraderie. The air throbbed with the sounds of hip hop, electronica and funk. Two dance groups performed, including the Hellenic Dancers. The troupe’s performance was tied to the opening in the museum’s Canaday Gallery of the major exhibit “The Berlin Painter and His World.” The show showcases dozens of vases painted in 5th Century B.C. in Athens, Greece. Considered the finest representations of their time, the vases come from museums around the world.  During a glass demonstration tiny replicas of those vases were being created. Greek food was also among the cuisines available from the food trucks arrayed along Monroe Street. The evening also featured The Dancers of Aha! Indian Dancers and Birds Eye View Circus. Despite the international flare, all the performers come from Toledo, a nod to the area’s cultural richness. The multi-ethnic throng ranged in age from babes in arms and hard-to-corral toddlers to elders, who for whatever their infirmities, still could move to the music. As closing approached, people were still dancing to the throbbing beats delivered by DJ Folk. In the middle of it all, Alexander Calder’s sculpture “Stegosaurus” presided, poised it seemed to snap its moorings…


Artist brings color & pride to South Toledo

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Miguel Hidalgo and Vicente Guerrero, heroes of Mexico’s fight for Independence, are riding again, now in South Toledo. The two are the central figures in a mural created by artist David Cuatlacuatl and students involved in the Bowling Green State University mural project. Cuatlacuatl, a Mexican-born, Indiana-raised artist, was the guest for this year’s project. He is the resident artist with the Sofia Quintero Art and Cultural Center. He’s been at the center since last summer, but his connections extend further back. He first visited when his brother Frederico Cuatlacuatl was studying for his Master of Fine Arts in digital arts at Bowling Green State University from 2013-2015. But David Cuatlacuatl was offered the opportunity to come to Toledo when the director of the Quintero center visited an artist-in-residence program that the Cuatlacuatl brothers co-directed in their native Puebla, Mexico. She offered him the position in Toledo. Gordon Ricketts, the BGSU instructor who runs the mural project, knew his brother and approached him to work with a few students to create a mural as part of the summer project. (For a story on the mural project see http://bgindependentmedia.org/bgsu-students-paint-murals-to-animate-toledo-neighborhoods/) So Cuatlacuatl set about designing a mural for a wall two blocks from the Quintero Center. It’s on the back of the building that houses the food pantry run by the Immaculate Conception Church that’s right across the street. In the center he placed Guerrero and Hidalgo on a horse, and in a contemporary touch he has them wearing running shoes, the Nike swoosh evident on…


Local artists promote awareness through book “Migraine365”

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Elizabeth Roberts-Zibbel doesn’t take her migraines lying down. Migraine disease may immobilize her at times, but she’s resolved to be a voice for others who suffer. It means being active on social media as Lady Migraine at ladymigraine.com. It means writing for migraine.com, and appearing in videos being the face for the many tormented by the silent demon. It means teaming with her husband John Roberts-Zibbel to write a graphic journal, “Migraine 365,” that looks at daily life for someone with migraine disease and their loved ones. In their case that includes two daughters Isobel, 8, and Alexandra 12. The book was self-published and can be purchased at blurb.com. “I don’t remember a time when I didn’t have them,” she said of the severe headaches and array of symptoms that accompany them. She was diagnosed when she was a child and remembers always having at least one per week, but the headaches didn’t become chronic, fifteen or more per month, until she was 30. “It was always a big problem,” Roberts-Zibbel said. “It took me a lot longer to get through college.” She persisted, but so did the migraine disease. Her first pregnancy was debilitating, and her second even worse. “Sometimes the pain gets so bad you want to shoot yourself in the head.” The disease forced her out of jobs. Now as a partner in Zibbel Media, she is a key player on the BG Independent News team, handling advertising, posting obituaries, and occasionally contributing articles. John Roberts-Zibbel got the idea for “Migraine 365” in…


BGSU galleries hosting NOWOH art exhibit

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS Bowling Green State University Art Galleries is hosting the 10th Annual Northwest Ohio (NOWOH) Community Art Exhibition. NOWOH celebrates the talents of regional artists in a professional setting. The show opens Friday, July 14 at 7 p.m. with a gallery talk by the award juror Robert Thurmer, followed by the opening reception with light refreshments. Located at the BGSU Fine Arts Center, the exhibition is free and open to the public. Robert Thurmer has served as the director of the Cleveland State University Art Gallery since 1990. As a professor of art studio at CTU he is interested in the development of the individual from simple visual literacy to connoisseurship, and the understanding and appreciation of the elements and principles of art. Artists who display their work at the exhibition are eligible to win up to $1,500 in cash prizes and gift certificates. Among the awards are Best of Show, People’s Choice, the Kiwanis Young Artist Award and the Toledo Federation of Arts Societies Award. Artists of all skill levels, 16 years of age and older, are encouraged to enter. Online registration is open until July 1. Artists may enter in person on July 8. Further information regarding how to enter can be found at www.NowohArtShow.org. Artists from the following counties are eligible: Defiance, Erie, Fulton, Hancock, Henry, Lucas, Ottawa, Paulding, Sandusky, Seneca, Williams and Wood. For artists ages 16-18 the entry fees are $15, and for artists 19 and older entry fees are $30.  All entrants are able to submit up to three entries. Volunteers are needed…


Tom Muir’s signature vessel finds home at Toledo Museum of Art

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News It has taken 30 years for Tom Muir’s “Cycladic Figure Impregnated” to find a home. The metal coffee server, one of the silversmith’s signature works, could have entered the White House collection of American Crafts. Instead that institution received a vessel inspired by Beluga whales. And it was one of the two works being considered by the Institute of Art of Chicago. That collection got the first in the series of these fertility figures though. Muir has had private collectors offer to buy it, but the price wasn’t right, and he kept it close to home. Now the 30-year-old vessel has found its place in the collection of the Toledo Museum of Art. “This was always one of my favorite pieces,” he said. The piece is made of 18-carat gold, sterling silver, oxidized copper and anodized aluminum. “I wanted it to have red belly to make it alive.” The base is shaped like udders. “It was a more interesting way to present it.” The museum has been holding the piece for several years, said Muir, a Distinguished Professor of Art at Bowling Green State University. The intent was to purchase it when the proper arrangements could be made. Jutta Page, then curator of glass and decorative art at the museum, contacted him earlier this year, to start the purchase process. Now the executive director of Old Dominion University’s Barry Art Museum, Page said she was pleased that the museum completed the purchase. In an email, she described “Cycladic Figure Impregnated” as “a significant American…


Kara Walker provides visual commentary on historic Civil War images

From TOLEDO MUSEUM OF ART The Toledo Museum of Art (TMA) has installed all 15 prints from the 2005 series Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War (Annotated) by distinguished American artist Kara Walker. The portfolio, recently acquired in its entirety by TMA, features the artist’s signature silhouette figures in silkscreen layered over enlarged wood engravings of U.S. Civil War scenes taken from Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War, first published in 1866. By uniting her contemporary re-imagining of events with the historical record, Walker creates a powerful visual statement that complicates and challenges conventional accounts of the Civil War and the abolition of slavery. For over two decades Walker has been renowned for her meaningful and provocative engagement with issues of race, gender and sexuality and is one of the most successful and influential artists working today. “The Toledo Museum of Art believed it was important to acquire this particular series by Kara Walker, as it represents the first time that she uses the type of visual culture that has inspired her work as the physical, material support for it,” said Museum Director Brian Kennedy. “The merging of historical and contemporary imagery in this project brings her remarkable vision full circle.” Kara Walker, Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War (Annotated), which will be on view at TMA from June 17 through Oct. 22, 2017, is curated by Robin Reisenfeld, the Museum’s Works on Paper Curator. “The dramatic force that Walker creates through her lively dialogue with traditional Civil War-era iconography is both poignant and layered,” said Reisenfeld….


2016 BGSU grad Brach Tiller finds his artistic vision through hard work & Instagram

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When Brach Tiller graduated from Bowling Green State University just over a year ago, he faced an existential question. “What the hell am I going to do now? What am I going to paint?” he wondered. The 26-year-old has spent his first year after receiving his Bachelor’s in Fine Arts degree discovering the answer. What he found is now on display in River House Arts’ Gallery 6, on the sixth floor of the Secor Building at 425 Jefferson on downtown Toledo. The work he created while studying for his BFA at BGSU was photorealistic with dark and disturbing overtones. It showed the ability to render realistic images in detail. “I decided it wasn’t providing me what I needed,” Tiller said. So he found himself a studio and began to paint. “I was getting a lot of bad paintings out of the way,” he said. In the past year he figures he’s discarded 30 paintings. While in each one he’d find something to reject, he’d also find some element worth exploring further. That would get worked into the next work. While engaged in this process, “I was exploring Instagram to see what people were doing in the contemporary art world.” BGSU as an art school is “a hidden gem,” he said. Still it is isolated from any center of art. So Tiller used Instagram to reach out, as well as to document his own work. “I had to use Instagram as that tool to find art in the world because you want to be part…


Art in the air at Simpson Garden

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Simpson Gardens Friday evening was lush with hosta greens, delphinium and coreopsis complemented by artists scattered about the grounds intent on capturing the images of plants, rocks and water. Along with the sounds of birds, mixed the trill of a Chinese bamboo flute, the rumble of a tuba, and young actors singing a show tune. The occasional plop of a drop of rain provided an accent to the thrum of hand drums. The third annual Art in the Park drew more visitors, as well as more artists, said Jacquie Nathan, of the Bowling Green Arts Council, which sponsors the event, hosted by the city’s Parks and Recreation Department. Artists took time from creating their art to chat with visitors. Landscape artist Barbara Houdeshell has been painting outside, or plein air, for 17 years. It’s a natural for her. “I like painting, and I like people.” Christie Moser, of Bowling Green, had stopped to chat with the painter. Moser moved to town about a year ago, and when she heard about Art in the Park, she knew she wanted to go. “I can really relate to this,” she said. “I’ve been a musician myself all my life,” Moser said. She plays flute and sings.  “I know the passion that swells within the soul that has to be expressed.” Houdeshell’s passion was emerging before her as she looked over a small pond. This is a study that she will bring back to her studio and may turn into a much larger oil painting. She grew up…


Simpson Garden hosts open air arts celebration

From BOWLING GREEN ARTS COUNCIL The Bowling Green Arts Council and Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Department will host Art in the Park on the grounds of Simpson Garden Park, 1291 Conneaut Avenue, on Friday, June 9, from 4:30-7:30 p.m. Festive fun in a beautiful garden setting with live music, dance, and theatrical performances, artists painting on easels, interactive art activities for children and light refreshments. FREE and open to the public. As they stroll through beautiful Simpson Garden Park, attendees will have an opportunity to view and vote for their favorite artist at work. They will also enjoy local musicians, music by students of the BGSU College of Musical Arts and performances at the Amphitheater by Julie’s Dance Studio, the Black Swamp Players, and Horizon Youth Theatre. Julie’s Dance Studio will kick off the performances at the Amphitheater at 4:45 with a presentation of a mix of difference dance styles from ballet to musical theatre. The Black Swamp Players will present an excerpt from “Dixie Swim Club” by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope, and Jamie Wooten at 5:30 and at 6:30 in the Amphitheater. Horizon Youth Theatre will present two excerpts from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella” at 6:15 and at 7:00. Strolling and stationary musicians throughout the grounds will include the Root Cellar String Band featuring Lucy Long, Dave Strickler, Steve O’Regan, and Tom Goodwin; Toraigh an Sonas featuring Mary Dennis, Kathy Moss, Bill Lake, and Bob Midden; the Grande Royale Ükulelists of the Black Swamp, a.k.a. GRÜBS, with Sheri Wells-Jensen, Jason Wells-Jensen, Anne Kidder and Geoff Howes; Fire Breathing…


BGSU students paint murals to animate Toledo neighborhoods

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Art students from Bowling Green State University have left their mark on the streets of Toledo’s Old South End and East Toledo. Each summer since 2010, groups of students, under the direction of instructor Gordon Ricketts, have made their way to these neighborhoods to paint murals that bring a burst of color and inspiration to the residents. This year, they’re at it again working on both sides of the river. In East Toledo, on East Broadway they contributing to a corridor of color started by previous students, visiting artists, and community members. Ricketts estimates the project has completed about two dozen murals in the southern end of the city. Driving down Broadway, headed west, you first encounter Martin Luther King Jr. on a wall, then nearby Cesar Chavez. Further down there’s the comic book character Green Lantern on the Green Lantern restaurant. Closer to the intersection of South Street, the murals multiply. On a recent morning 15 students had gathered on East Broadway in East Toledo. Ladders up, and transforming a drab viaduct into a vivid celebration of the neighborhood. Trains rumble over the nearby overpass. Traffic whizzes by. Sometimes drivers honk approval and give a thumbs up. Passers-by will express their appreciation and offer to pick up a brush. Ricketts points to a short wall where neighborhood children emulated the BGSU artwork. “This is something that’s visual evidence that positive things are going on in their community,” Ricketts said. “These images are respected,” he said noting those done in previous years have not…


Ancient Mediterranean artisan gets first solo show at Toledo Museum of Art

From TOLEDO MUSEUM OF ART The first major museum exhibition focused on the art and career of the influential ancient Mediterranean artist known as the Berlin Painter will visit the Toledo Museum of Art July 8 through Oct. 1, 2017. Eighty-four vessels and statuettes of bronze and terracotta from the early fifth century B.C. will be shown – including dozens of the finest vases attributed to the Berlin Painter along with works by other noteworthy artists of the period. University of Oxford scholar Sir John Beazley (1885-1970) identified the work of a single anonymous artist in over 200 vessels worldwide, and named him after a characteristically painted vase found in a museum in Berlin in 1911. The exhibition features masterpieces on loan from 15 renowned museums and two private collections, including the British Museum; Metropolitan Museum of Art; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; J. Paul Getty Museum; Vatican Museums; Musée du Louvre and the Antikensammlung, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. “The Berlin Painter and His World represents the exceedingly rare opportunity for the individual style of one of the most important and prolific ceramic artists in history to be traced through extraordinary works of art gathered together from around the world,” said TMA Director, President and CEO Brian P. Kennedy, Ph.D. “It also provides a rich glimpse of Athenian life 2,500 years ago.” Divided into four sections – “The Berlin Painter’s World,” “The Berlin Painter’s Style,” “Gods” and “Heroes” – the exhibition explores a range of painted subjects, from athletics and musical performances to the rich body of Greek myth and epic….