Visual art

Ann Beck celebrates her paintings in first solo show

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Ann Beck often sees her art hanging from people’s ears. Her handcrafted earrings are a familiar fashion statement in Bowling Green, where she sells them at the Black Swamp Arts Festival and at the Christmas Boutique hosted by Grounds for Thought, and elsewhere. Less common is a chance for her to see her paintings hanging from walls. Beck and art lovers have that opportunity this month during an exhibit at Grounds for Thought, 174 S. Main St., Bowling Green. The paintings are clearly by the same hand as the earrings with their bright colors and bold shapes, styled figures set in vivid landscapes. Though the paintings were created in the past three years, they represent a life in art that’s taken Beck, 49, from her native Colorado, to New Mexico, New Zealand and Bowling Green. The nature and myths of those places are all infused in the paintings. “I was one of those kids who always draws constantly,” Beck said of her start. In high school she had an inspiring art teacher. “I have a lot of success, and got a lot of awards.” But when she went to Western State College in Gunnison, Colorado, she hesitated about making art a career. She wanted to keep her art close to her and wasn’t willing to “work for anyone.” She’s still not sure what she was thinking. “I was just young and dumb,” she conceded. “I took a ton of art classes, and just dropped out.” She traveled always continuing to draw. “An artist doesn’t give up.” Then she planned to return to study art education. But became pregnant. She and Kurt Panter, her husband,…


Afghan-American artist dials up the voices of immigrants

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News A telephone booth sits on the edge of Promenade Park in Toledo. Inside the telephone rings. When I pick up the ringer a woman is speaking in a language I don’t recognize, never mind understand. She is in mid-statement. The passion in her voice pierces through the language barrier. When the translator comes on, I learn she is from Tibet, now living in New York City. She fled Tibet because the Chinese killed her family. She has freedom now. “If I was living in Tibet, I wouldn’t have freedom.” This is at once a voice from far away, yet speaking from the heart of America. The telephone booth is archaic, yet it gives voice to current concerns. The booth and two others in located around Toledo are part of “Once Upon a Place,” an art installation created by Afghan-American artist Aman Mojadidi. The telephone booths went up in Promenade Park, the library at the University of Toledo, and the main branch library of the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library several weeks ago and will remain in place through Oct. 22. The installation was displayed earlier this year in Times Square in New York City, where it was created. Mojadidi recently spoke to students at the Bowling Green State University School of Art about the project, his life, and his career. “What I was interested in with this project was to show how cities small and large, including Toledo, have been built by people who came from other countries,” he said. As the United States’  “flagship city,” New York seemed the place to bring that idea to fruition. Almost 37 percent of its population is foreign…


Charles Kanwischer ready to guide School of Art in times of change

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Charles Kanwischer steps into his new role as director of the Bowling Green State University School of Art ready draw on ample experience He assumed the new position in July, taking the reins over from Katerina Ray, who served in that role for 15 years. Kanwischer, 54, had been associate director for most of Ray’s tenure, and two years ago served as acting director when Ray was on leave. So when Ray announced she would leave the post and join the faculty, Kanwischer said he felt he was prepared for the job. “Everyone should be so lucky to succeed someone like Katerina,” he said. “The mechanics of the school are in really good shape.” Having a steady experienced hand will be needed as the School of Art navigates changing currents in the arts. The School of Art, Kanwischer said, “used to be closed place, focused on its own business of training painters and sculptors. We’ve had to learn to be a more open place while still maintaining that tradition our reputation is based on.” The school now has new art minors open to student from around campus, and it has removed some prerequisites to introductory studio classes. That also means developing programs in digital arts and graduate programs aimed at working professionals that blend online and studio work. This year, the school will offer a Master of Arts in art education, building on its successful art education program. Students, mostly working teachers, take courses online, and then in the summer come to campus for studio work. Next year, the school will launch a Master of Fine Arts in Graphic Design with a similar format….


Art expert unravels mystery of ancient Greek pots

From TOLEDO MUSEUM OF ART The Toledo Museum of Art is offering an in-depth learning experience with Sanchita Balachandran, associate director of the Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. On Saturday, Sept. 23, Balachandran will present a lecture titled “CSI (Ceramics Scene Investigation), Ancient Athens: Investigating Greek Potters and Painters” in the Little Theater at 2 p.m. Admission is free. Balachandran’s talk will focus on her ground-breaking work to solve the 2,500-year-old mystery of how ancient Greek craftspeople fabricated their highly artistic and technologically significant red-figure ceramics. Based on her 2015 Johns Hopkins University undergraduate course, “Recreating Ancient Greek Ceramics,” Balachandran, an art conservator, will discuss the importance of collaborating with a professional potter and incorporating the expertise of art historians, archaeologists and materials scientists in teaching a hands-on class for college students to make their own “ancient” cups. In addition to the lecture, Balachandran will collaborate with the TMA Conservation Department on photographing a small selection of ancient works in a new way. “During her visit to Toledo, Sanchita Balachandran will discuss her latest research to identify the presence or absence of line drawings on red figure ceramics utilizing Reflection Transformation Imaging, a photographic-computer process that reveals low relief details of the artists’ design and handiwork,” said Suzanne Hargrove, head of conservation at the Museum. “She will highlight examples she has studied at the Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum, the J. Paul Getty Museum and other cultural institutions, and will include select artworks from the TMA collection of red-figure vessels to be imaged during her visit for this talk.” Both the “Recreating Ancient Greek Ceramics” course and some of the findings from the revelatory Reflection Transformation Imaging process will…


Toledo Museum “Fired Up” over exhibit of glass art by women

Submitted by THE TOLEDO MUSEUM OF ART The Toledo Museum of Art (TMA) has launched a celebration of the critical contributions made by generations of women glass artists. Drawn from the Toledo Museum of Art’s internationally renowned glass collection and with key loans from notable private collections, “Fired Up: Contemporary Glass by Women Artists” presents more than 50 stunning objects by women who now rank among the most innovative and celebrated glass artists in the world. The works, which range from small scale to life-size in a variety of glass techniques, document nearly six decades of unwavering dedication, from the art that helped women forge a path in the Studio Glass Movement of the 1960s to the ingenuity of 21st-century innovations. Fired Up: Contemporary Glass by Women Artists is on view at TMA from Sept. 2, 2017, through March 18, 2018. The discovery of glass as a serious artistic medium in the ‘60s – sparked during the Studio Glass Movement that originated at the Toledo Museum of Art – was important. Yet in its earliest decades, women faced an uphill battle in their demand for fair recognition of their significant impact, vision and work. The exhibition is co-curated by former TMA Senior Curator of Decorative Arts and Glass Jutta Page (now Executive Director of the Barry Art Museum at Old Dominion University) and Mint Museum Senior Curator of Craft, Design and Fashion Annie Carlano. “The illustrious achievement of women in glass can be more fully understood through this comprehensive and visually compelling exhibition,” said TMA Director Brian Kennedy. “These objects also bridge the fields of art, craft, design and sculpture in pathbreaking and exciting new ways.” “Fired Up: Contemporary Glass…


Afghan-American artist’s installation shares the stories of immigrants

From CONTEMPORARY ART TOLEDO Contemporary Art Toledo and artist Aman Mojadidi bring Once Upon a Place, a set of three interactive public art works that create a platform for immigrant voices, to Toledo beginning September 15. The work will be traveling from New York’s Time Square, where it’s been installed since late June to three Toledo locations: Toledo Lucas County Public Library, the University of Toledo, and Promenade Park, near the new downtown campus of ProMedica. The opening weekend of the exhibition coincides with both Momentum (a three day celebration of art and music in Toledo’s Promenade Park) and National Welcoming Week. He will speak on “Borderless: Art and Migration in Troubled Times,” Sunday, September 17 at 2 p.m. in the McMaster Center, Main Library Toledo Lucas County Public Library. Visitors to the installations will be invited to open the door of a repurposed telephone booth, pick up the receiver, and listen to oral histories of immigrants from across the globe. Visitors can also open the phone book inside each booth to read more about the storytellers’ communities – both in their current home and the countries they have traveled from. Individuals may also wish to leave behind a part of their own story if they choose. The installation includes 70 different stories that last between 2 and 15 minutes each. According to the Pew Research Center, by the year 2065 one in three Americans will be an immigrant or have immigrant parents. Locally, according to a 2015 report by New American Economy, Toledo’s immigrant community is increasing and partially offsetting local population loss. Furthermore, immigrants in Toledo hold close to $242 million in spending power and increased the total…


BG’s Main Street transformed into art show

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Hardly five hours after the sound of Dwayne Dopsie’s accordion stopped reverbing around the Main Stage area, and throughout the city, dozens of volunteers were back downtown getting ready for the opening of the art show, and the second day of the Black Swamp Arts Festival. The Dawn Patrol, so dubbed by the late Bill Hann, a retired Air Force officer, had reported for duty. Their mission was to transform Main Street into a vibrant arts village. This begins well before dawn and continues until the art shows are ready to open at 10 a.m. There’s an air of anticipation as the metal framework of tents go up, top with roofs, and the sides. Stacked among these are carefully packed arts and crafts, just waiting to be displayed. It’s an art in and of itself the way the exhibitors packed their vehicles, knowing what they need to have out and up, before boxes are removed. It’s a puzzle that must be disassembled and then put together again in an entirely different form. There are numerous details to take care of – where to park when the unpacking is done, where to get coffee, where to find a rest room. Volunteers are there to show the way, intent on maintaining the festival’s reputation for treating artists well. Coffee was being delivered. Roaming through the art show in progress, I find many familiar faces from previous shows. Always happy to see them back, and to stop and briefly chat before they set back to the task at hand. A street that’s empty at 5, by 6 is a bustle of activity, and by 8 the outline…


After year of photographic success, Bell sidelined

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Black Swamp Arts Festival played a pivotal role in launching Jan Bell’s photographic career. In 2003, the long-time graphic designer for WBGU-TV had returned to photography. He had accumulated enough work that he decided to apply to enter the juried show. Bell was accepted, and then on the festival weekend, the judges returned and awarded him best of show honors. It was his first art fair. Since then he’s put up his tent, assembled his street gallery, greeted customers, taken it all down and moved on, on dozens of times. More importantly, he’s traveled thousands of miles on photographic adventures to national and provincial parks here and in Canada living in a camper, hiking with 40 pounds of equipment, and waiting for days for the right light on the right subject. When he won the top award so early in his career, one woman warned him about the dangers of such early success. Bell has not rested on his laurels. His work has been accepted in many shows and received numerous honors, and has continued to evolve. These past 12 months have been especially notable. One photograph, “Distant Island,” an image from Lake Superior was juried into nine exhibitions. “That’s crazy wild,” he said. Then it won first place in one of those shows the Allegany National Photography Exhibition in Cumberland, Maryland, as well as an honorable mention at the Crooked Tree Arts Center in Petoskey, Michigan in April. Then three works were included in a photo exhibit highlighting images of National Parks at the same gallery. The exhibit was being held in conjunction with a show of photographs by Ansel Adams, Bell’s…


Toledo Museum guest artist John Kiley smashes, remakes glass art

From TOLEDO MUSEUM OF ART Shattered glass may seem like the opposite of what a renowned contemporary glassblower would work towards, but for American artist John Kiley, smashing and reconstructing glass is exactly the point in his recent series of work called “Fractographs.” Beginning with optical crystal blocks, Kiley shatters the glass once with a sledgehammer and then carefully pieces it back together. The Toledo Museum of Art’s Guest Artist Pavilion Project (GAPP) invites contemporary artists from around the world to create new work in glass and share their process with the public. Kiley has been appointed to the GAPP residency beginning this month, during which he will continue his shattered glass innovations. “John Kiley has had a fantastic career, and we are so excited he has chosen to explore some of his newest ideas with the staff here in the Glass Studio,” said Colleen O’Connor, Glass Studio manager at TMA. “This is a great opportunity for the public to interact with such a talented and dynamic contemporary glass artist.” Kiley’s GAPP residency will be take place at the Museum Aug. 23-30 in the Glass Studio. “I am looking forward to John Kiley’s residency and the many exploratory processes that he will be bringing to the studios here in the Glass Pavilion,” said Alan Iwamura, assistant studio manager at the TMA Glass Pavilion. TMA has planned several public demonstrations of Kiley at work in the Glass Pavilion throughout his residency. In addition, Kiley will discuss his recent series of work during a free GAPP artist lecture in the GlasSalon on Friday, Aug. 25 at 7 p.m. For more details, please visit toledomuseum.org.


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 time on drawing than other kids. “At the beginning of high school, it just clicked, and I realized this is…


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. There also seems to be some new applicants to the show this year which have helped to add to the…


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 to paint, how to use my material quickly and efficiently,” he said. “It’s a way to clear my mind. It’s…


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 and join the dance.    


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 Guerrero’s footwear. The general’s presence reflects the ethnic mix of the neighborhood, the artist said. He was of mixed African,…