Visual art

Kehinde Wiley’s portraits bring people from the street to museum walls

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Kehinde Wiley found his direction as a painter on a street in Harlem. He’d recently finished his graduate studies in art at Yale and had enrolled the Studio Museum of Harlem’s art residency program in 2001. At Yale he painted black males with extravagant hair styles. Thursday in a talk at the Toledo Museum of Art, he said that had completed his study “at the feet of the fathers,” and was in a crisis as to where to go next. There at his feet he found a piece of paper. A rap sheet. On it was the young man’s mug shot. Wiley said at that instant he thought: “This is a really cool portrait. I know that’s kind of screwed up. If you’re thinking like I think which is to use your life to tell a story about the world you live in, finding this piece of paper tells a story about the world we live in.” He turned the mug shot into a portrait, and that painting is now hanging in the Toledo Museum of Art’s exhibit Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic. The major retrospective of the Brooklyn-based artist’s career is now on exhibit through May 14. In the 15 years since finding that mugshot Wiley has achieved “super star status,” said Brian Kennedy, director of the Toledo Museum. That was evident by the standing-room-only crowd that gathered in the Peristyle on Thursday to hear the artist’s talk on his work. Wiley has achieved fame by both celebrating and challenging the notions of Western art. He has highlighted the lack of black bodies…


BGSU arts events through Feb. 8

From BGSU MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Jan. 25 – The Faculty Artist Series presents pianist Robert Satterlee. He has appeared on the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts in Chicago, San Francisco’s Old First Concert Series and the Schubert Club in St. Paul, Minn., among others. The recital will begin at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. Free Jan. 26 – The Creative Writing Program’s Reading Series features graduate students Sam Adams and Dan Gualtieri. They will present their work at 7:30 p.m. in Prout Chapel. Free Jan. 26 – BGSU’s Jazz Lab Band I will perform with guest artist and saxophonist, Loren Stillman. Stillman has received praise in such publications as The New York Times, Downbeat magazine, Jazziz, Jazz Times, and on National Public Radio,marking him as an innovative voice of modern jazz. His original recordings have received critical acclaim from The New York Times and four star recognition in BBC Jazz Review, Jazz Man magazine and Downbeat. The performance will begin at 8 p.m. in Kobacker Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. Tickets can be purchased from the BGSU Arts Box Office at 419-372-8171 or visit www.bgsu.edu/arts. Advance tickets are $7 for adults and $3 for students and children. All tickets the day of the performance are $10. Jan. 27 – Students in the BGSU dance program will present a concert at 8 p.m. in the Donnell Theatre of the Wolfe Center for the Arts. Tickets are $5 at the door. Jan. 27 – The College of Musical Arts Guest Artist Series features “Schubert, Songfulness and the Body,” a lecture/recital by pianist Arved…


Local readers pick their choice as best picture book (updated)

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News And the winner is… “What To Do With a Box” by Jane Yolen. That was the book selected about a dozen folks, kids through grandparents, who gathered to consider what should win the Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished picture book of 2016. The winner of the actual Caldecott Medal announced Monday morning at the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting is “Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat” by Javaka Steptoe. Kathy East, retired children’s librarian at Wood County District Public Library, said Sunday during the Mock Caldecott Election that the real committee has already made its choice. The press release was being drafted, and first thing in the morning the winner of the medal and honor books will get a telephone call. East has been through this before. She served  on the committee in 1987 when Richard Egielski won for “Hey, Al” and chaired the committee in 1998 when Paul Zelinsky won for “Rapunzel.” The award goes to the illustrator. The committee that awards the prize can start with a field of as many as 500 books. By the time they gather in January that’s been whittled down to 100 or so. Then each of those books must get a simple majority to stay in contention. East said usually 30 make the final draw. From there the best books rise to the top. The eventual winner, she said, must have more than a simple majority. It must have a significant margin of victory. That requires a number of rounds of balloting. “You want to make sure everyone on the committee is…


Kehinde Wiley’s urban take on Old Masters coming to Toledo Museum

From TOLEDO MUSEUM OF ART The Toledo Museum of Art presents Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic, an exhibition of 60 paintings and sculptures questioning ideas of race, gender and the politics of representation. On view Feb. 10-May 14, 2017, A New Republic spans Wiley’s 14-year career including his earliest explorations of the male figure, his unique take on Old Master portraiture and his later forays into sculpture and iconography. The exhibition is organized by the Brooklyn Museum. “The magnitude of this exhibition will impress even those familiar with Wiley’s work,” said Brian P. Kennedy, TMA director, president and CEO. “He has taken the grandeur of portrait painting and translated it with his portrayals of contemporary African American men and women. Wiley bridges the gap between traditional portraiture and our daily lives, and in doing so, he raises questions about identity and how we perceive ourselves and others.” Wiley’s signature portraits of everyday men and women riff on specific paintings by Old Masters, replacing the European aristocrats depicted in those paintings with contemporary black subjects, drawing attention to the absence of African Americans from historical and cultural narratives. “The Toledo Museum of Art is home to a wide array of singular masterpieces gathered together from across time and geographic regions,” said Halona Norton-Westbrook, TMA director of collections. “The museum’s strong collection of Old Master paintings offers a particularly compelling framework for the presentation of Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic. Playing with traditional conventions of European portraiture, Wiley examines symbols of power, wealth, status and identity in today’s world. Juxtaposing A New Republic with the Old Master portraits hung in TMA’s adjacent…


Kim Young’s digital prints offer break from typical vacation images

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Search the images of family vacation on the internet and you will be blinded by the sun and smiles. Quite the contrast to the gray of an Ohio winter. Digital artist Kim Young of Bowling Green has taken some of those images and altered their digital DNA to create fresh abstract images. Those images will be part of the exhibit Virtual Vacation at the Neon Heater Art Gallery in Findlay. The show includes Young ‘s digital prints and installations by video artists Laura Post and Richard Munaba. The show opens with a reception Thursday, Jan.5, from 5 to 8 p.m. and continues in the gallery on the second floor of the Jones Building,   400½ S. Main St. Findlay, through Jan. 13. Young’s digital prints depict inviting scenes of vacation sport including Disneyland, as viewers have never seen them before. She has subverted the scenes of beaches, mountains and Mickey Mouse by digging deep into their digital codes. Her prints provide a vacation as much from the clichéd images of vacation as from the Ohio winter. Young, who teaches in the Bowling Green State University School of Art, said: “I’m really interested with how computers and images, and humans and images, are interacting. There’s more images to interact with than at any point in human history, so people get kind of numb to the whole idea of images. I’m a visual artist. What does that mean to someone who makes digital images and wants people took at them? I don’t want my things to look like something people have seen a 100 million times before.”…


Holiday week perfect time to feast on Toledo Museum’s treasures

By DAVID  DUPONT BG Independent News As the gaiety of Christmas Day fades, and we enter that phase of holiday denouement, the Toledo Museum of Art throws it doors open to welcome  visitors with a whole slate of activities leading up to New Year’s Day. Now that the gifts are unwrapped and the meals eaten, a visit to the museum is in order. It’s a great place to take out of town visitors, and share with them one of the treasures of Northwest Ohio. For those locals who have never visited, it’s a great time to acquaint them with this grand institution. The museum has a wonderful holiday feel, and it tends to attract enough people to give it a warm social buzz, without being hectic. There’s more to do than look. There’s a full schedule of activities from life drawing to game playing for all ages. (See http://bgindependentmedia.org/toledo-museum-offers-great-art-escape-over-holidays/) For the past few years, my wife and I have gone to the museum on New Year’s Day. Museums are just one of those spaces – along with baseball parks and libraries – where all I have to do is step inside and my spirits are lifted. That’s true whether it’s the first time I visit, or the Toledo Museum, a place that by now almost feels like home. I started going to museums when I was in college. I was a student at UMass in Amherst, but took lessons from a jazz trombonist at Berklee College of Music in Boston, a two-or-more-hour bus ride away. It seemed a shame just to go to the lesson and head home, so I’d…


Will Santino’s “Examples of Anything” is a love song of words & images

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Will Kiley Santino’s new book “Examples of Anything” is easy to describe and impossible to define. The book is a progressive series of squares, each a small abstract painting with a word or phrase attached. And in that dynamic between words and images, the mystery begins. What is the relation between the lime and sky blue watercolor square and the phrase “how lawnmowers say hi”? And as the reader-viewer progresses, rhymes and echoes among squares reveal themselves, hinting at a narrative. Santino, a Bowling Green native now studying art at the University of Wisconsin Madison, will only say that there’s “a through line about intimacy and closeness to another person.” That plays out in an interior monologue of abstract illustration and elusive poetry. Santino said he wanted to create an experience that someone could take from beginning to end, or simply study a single page. The images are abstract smudges of mood. The words may be mundane – “swing set” and “bike trail.” Does the image represent the words? What kind of person would pair those words and colors? Other phrases are more evocative – “blaming autumn” and “cymbal shiver.” Others hint at narrative – “thrown out toys” and “the silence after everyone stops laughing.” Santino shows his love of language by using arcane terms that will have even highly literate readers reaching for the dictionary – heliotaxis (movement of an organism in response to sunlight); keraunomancy (divination by thunderbolts); and borborygmus (a rumbling or gurgling made by the movement of liquid in the intestines). And he’s not afraid to coin a term or…


Toledo Museum offers Great Art Escape over holidays

From TOLEDO MUSEUM OF ART The Great Art Escape, a week of free performances, art activities and after-hours flashlight tours, returns to the Toledo Museum of Art Dec. 27-Jan. 1. Sponsored in part by Taylor Cadillac, the week of special events has become a holiday tradition for bringing together family, friends and holiday guests. Explore the galleries with the debut of the Toledo Museum of Art’s new app. During the Great Art Escape visitors are invited to play a treasure hunt throughout the galleries. Three temporary exhibitions organized by the Museum’s curators are sure to delight visitors of all ages. Gabriel Dawe: Plexus no. 35, on view in the Great Gallery, is an ethereal indoor rainbow created especially for the space it occupies. Mexican-born artist Gabriel Dawe’s textile installations have been seen in galleries around the world, most recently as part of an exhibition at the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery in Washington, D.C. The installation in the Great Gallery is sponsored in part by the TMA Ambassadors, a group of volunteer fundraisers. The Libbey Dolls: Fashioning the Story in Gallery 18 features 78 fashion figures depicting French styles from 1493 to 1915. The Libbey Dolls, formerly known as the Doucet Dolls, were the product of the World War I aid effort. Purchased in 1917 by Toledo Museum of Art founder Edward Drummond Libbey, the dolls’ clothing was created by Jacques Doucet. Art by great French artists like Nicolas Lancret and Louis-Léopold Boilly, as well as drawings and engravings from late 19th-century fashion publications, inspired his creations. Shakespeare’s Characters: Playing the Part in Gallery 6 marks the 400-year anniversary of the great…


Everyone gets into the act at Arts X

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News At Arts X a surprise awaits the visitor around every corner. An actress in a shimmering gown and dramatic blond wig, steps forward to sing “Let It Go.” One of the Living Statues in the lobby of the Wolfe Center, she’s been waiting her turn as other characters have stepped forward to offer a song or monologue. Look up and there’s a pair of eyes projected overhead. Big Sister is watching. As the audience settles for a performance in the Donnell Theatre, someone says she has just posed for a Vogue cover. Two comedians come careening down the hall on the second floor of the Wolfe Center, making a harried entrance into the Heskett dance studio. Do you know there’s an art exhibit, they exclaim. It’s part of the act; we’re all part of the act. There’s always something to see and hear and do at Arts X, and that means there’s always something to miss. There’s always someone new to meet, or an old friend to greet. With the end of the semester looming, and finals and holiday festivities just ahead, artists, performers, writers and their fans took time out to celebrate. Arts X drew hundreds to the Bowling Green State University School of Art and the Wolfe Center Saturday night. The annual event is part art fair, part music and theater festival, part holiday party. Arts X organizers have been tweaking its presentation since the start. This year the Bowling Green Philharmonia offered a prelude of holiday music in the Donnell before the hubbub officially ensued. The theme “Volanti: Seeking Unknown Heights”…


BGSU Lively Arts Calendar through Dec. 9

Dec. 1—The International Film Series concludes with the 1977 film “Neokanchennaia P’esa Dlia Mekhanicheskogo Pianino (An Unfinished Piece for Mechanical Piano),” directed by Nikita Mikhalkov. From Russia’s most well-known contemporary filmmaker, an intriguing story of former lovers who meet at a pre-revolutionary country estate. Casual conversations on social issues and the music of Liszt, Rachmaninoff and Donizetti supply background to a Chekhovian treatment of returning past love. The screening begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Gish Film Theater located in Hanna Hall. Free Dec. 1—Creative writing students in the bachelor of fine arts program will present their work. The reading begins at 7:30 p.m. in Prout Chapel. Free Dec. 1—World Percussion Night features multiple styles including performances by the Taiko, Afro-Caribbean and Gamelan ensembles. The concert begins at 8 p.m. in Kobacker Hall at the Moore Musical Arts Center. Tickets can be purchased from the BGSU Arts Box Office at 419-372-8171. Advance tickets are $7 for adults and $3 for students and children. All tickets the day of the concert are $10. Dec. 3— BG Philharmonia will perform a Holiday Concert to kick off the 12th annual ArtsX events. The performance will begin at 4 p.m. in the Thomas B. and Kathleen M. Donnell Theatre located in the Wolfe Center for the Arts. Free Dec. 3—The 12th annual ArtsX will take place from 5-9 p.m. in the Fine Arts Center and the Wolfe Center for the Arts, including the Dorothy Uber Bryan and Willard Wankelman galleries, where student and faculty artists and performers show off their talents to the community. The evening includes works from the College of Musical Arts,…


Arts X reaching for new heights

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Erin Garber-Pearson has performed several times at Arts X at Bowling Green State University. The former teacher in the School of Art feels right at home at the festival that brings all the arts on campus together. Her own work blends sculpture, video, storytelling and aerial acrobatics. That’s a perfect fit for Arts X with its mélange of art sales, exhibits, musical and theatrical performances, all colored by a certain level of tom foolery. When Garber-Pearson and Kathleen Livingston perform at Arts X as Violet and Fortuna on Saturday, Dec.3, the acrobatic storytellers will take the work to new heights. The work-in-progress “Laces” involves two solo and two duet pieces.  The duets require the performers to fly higher. Working as a solo aerialist is challenging enough but working together requires a heightened sense of communication and trust, Garber-Pearson said.  The duo has been working on the duets for three years. Arts X is “a good time to show” what they’ve been working on. The works fits right in to the theme of Arts X 2016:  “Volanti: Seeking Unknown Heights.” The event runs from 5 to 9 p.m. and is preceded at 4 p.m. by a holiday concert by the Bowling Green Philharmonia in Donnell Theatre in the Wolfe Center. Arts X is a free public event. Violet and Fortuna will perform two 20-minute shows, one at 7 p.m. and another at 8 p.m. in the Donnell Theatre. They will be joined by dancers from Auxwerks in Ann Arbor. Also BGSU faculty member Montana Miller will perform. According to the university, the former circus aerialist…


BGSU Lively Arts through Dec. 5

Nov. 29—Undergraduate and graduate piano students will perform at 7 p.m. at the Wood County District Public Library, 251 N. Main St., Bowling Green. Free Nov. 29—Percussion ensembles will perform at 8 p.m. in Kobacker Hall at the Moore Musical Arts Center. Free Nov. 30—The Early Music Ensemble will perform at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. Free Dec. 1—The International Film Series concludes with the 1977 film “Neokanchennaia P’esa Dlia Mekhanicheskogo Pianino (An Unfinished Piece for Mechanical Piano),” directed by Nikita Mikhalkov. From Russia’s most well-known contemporary filmmaker, an intriguing story of former lovers who meet at a pre-revolutionary country estate. Casual conversations on social issues and the music of Liszt, Rachmaninoff and Donizetti supply background to a Chekhovian treatment of returning past love. The screening begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Gish Film Theater located in Hanna Hall. Free Dec. 1—Creative writing students in the bachelor of fine arts program will present their work. The reading begins at 7:30 p.m. in Prout Chapel. Free Dec. 1—World Percussion Night features multiple styles including performances by the Taiko, Afro-Caribbean and Gamelan ensembles. The concert begins at 8 p.m. in Kobacker Hall at the Moore Musical Arts Center. Tickets can be purchased from the BGSU Arts Box Office at 419-372-8171. Advance tickets are $7 for adults and $3 for students and children. All tickets the day of the concert are $10. Dec. 3—Ensembles of the BGSU College of Musical Arts will perform a Holiday Concert as part of the 12th annual ArtsX events. The performance will begin at 4 p.m. in the Thomas B. and…


‘Sit&Tell’ uses graphic design, storytelling to unite communities

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Jenn Stucker is inviting us to pull up a chair and listen to a story — 100 stories, and 100 chairs. Stucker, chair of the graphic design division in the Bowling Green State University School of Art, is the creator of “Sit&Tell,” a project in which graphic designers and artists created chair graphics related to stories told by residents of eight Toledo neighborhoods, preserved through audio recording. BGSU students and faculty were integral to the project, a collaborative effort among Stucker; AIGA Toledo, the Professional Association for Design; the Toledo Arts Commission and local manufacturer MTS Seating, which donated the chairs. The result is a cultural and artistic achievement that unites communities and allows members to learn about themselves and one another. Stucker said that in choosing a focus for the project, she was inspired by the “strong women” theme of 2016 World Storytelling Day. Some of the stories people tell are tales of notable events, others are remembrances of and memorials to strong women and their often difficult lives, others of the power of sisterhood. As storyteller Dora Lopez said simply, “Gracias, hermanas (Thank you, sisters),” for paving the way. The project captured some notable speakers, such as Doris Hedler, the oldest living Chinese woman in Toledo, Stucker said. “It’s a terrific example of graphic design in the service of both community engagement and outstanding student learning,” said Dr. Katerina Ruedi Ray, director of the BGSU School of Art. “Sit&Tell” has already garnered two prestigious awards. First was a Platinum award in the Creativity International Print and Packaging Design awards. Submissions came…


Art bus makes stop in Bowling Green

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Just out of graduate school metalsmith Autumn Brown had a problem finding a place to call home as an artist. Studio space to work and display her work was hard to find, expensive and came with landlord issues. “I was always trying to put my studio wherever I could.” Her own work focused on the combination of metalsmithing with ceramics. After working as a production jeweler, she decided to do her own venture making traditional jewelry “to pay the light bill.” Her business was Blue Onion, a tribute to her family that had roots in Vidalia, Georgia, the home of the sweet onion variety. She traces her interest to jewelry back to them. Her great-grandparents had a jewelry store and great grandmother who loved porcelain. She set up shop in an old restaurant, a studio with an “extremely rude” landlord, and shared space with other artist. Never settled, her jewelry and gear had to be ready to move with her to the next location. She notice as she moved around “all these buses” parked on farms. It was like schools “themselves” of their fleets. That got her thinking. About two years ago, she finally located a bus, on eBay, a 1985 International Harvester with less than 50,000 miles on it. She paid $2,600 for it. The bus had a varied history – a transport vehicle for the Air Force, a senior citizens bus, a hunting lodge and a home for a young couple. Her boyfriend and parents, “thought she was crazy.” Undeterred she set about transforming it into an artistic home on wheels, a…


BGSU Arts Events through Nov. 23

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Through Nov. 21—“The Deathworks of May Elizabeth Kramner,” a mixed media installation by The Poyais Group, continues through Nov. 21 in the Dorothy Uber Bryan Gallery in the Fine Arts Center. The exhibit purports to be a re-creation by the Poyais Group of outsider artist Kramner’s (1867-1977) private lifework, a tent version of the town where she lived, with each tent representing someone who had died. Discovered by a team of anthropologists after her death but then lost in a fire, the installation was remade by the Poyais Group (Jesse Ball, Thordis Bjornsdottir, Olivia Robinson and Jesse Stiles) based on notes by one of the original anthropologists. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday–Saturday, 6-9 p.m. Thursdays, and 1-4 p.m. Sundays. Free Through Nov. 22—“Criminal Justice?” an exhibit by activist artists Carol Jacobson and Andrea Bowers, investigates the attitudes and biases embedded in the U.S. criminal justice system. Jacobson is an award-winning social documentary artist whose works in video and photography address issues of women’s criminalization and censorship. Bowers’ video “#sweetjane” and drawings explore the 2012 Steubenville, Ohio, rape case and the citizens whose activism resulted in two rape convictions. The drawings reproduce the text messages sent among the teenage witnesses to the assault on an underage young woman. “Criminal Justice?” is on view in the Willard Wankelman Gallery at the Fine Arts Center. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 6-9 p.m. Thursdays, and 1-4 p.m. Sundays. Free Nov. 9—The Faculty Artist Series continues with guitarist Ariel Kasler. Kasler has performed at venues and events as…