On March 17, 2017, CAW opened their exhibition season with INSIDE, at the Cultural Art Center. INSIDE the first part of duo exhibition, asked the artists to reflect on the multiple meanings of interior spaces through their own lens. Beginning June 28, 2017, CAW will finish the artistic conversation started in Columbus with their first ever exhibition outside of the city. OUTSIDE will be on view at the Schnormeier Gallery in Mount Vernon, Ohio. This exhibition will consist of partner works that reveal the exterior of the theme each artist began in their work for INSIDE at the Cultural Arts Center.
Every CAW exhibition is a unique opportunity for our artists to explore new themes and push the boundaries of their chosen media. Here we highlight just a few artworks out of many incredible pieces from our 35 participating artists.
Megan Evers’s painted homage to bees titled Home is both commanding and delightful. Evers normally utilizes odd shaped canvases but she opts for hexagonal honeycomb pattern within a rectangular canvas. Kristin Morris’s Lizard in Boy Suit is a sublime combination of the grotesque, tongue in cheek humor and technical facility. Lastly, Melinda Sabo’s The Guide invites us to contemplate spiritual and even mystical concepts of one’s interior self.
The exhibit ends on April 15th. Do yourself a favor and check out these works live and in person. Then make sure you mark your calendars for the second installment of this exhibition OUTSIDE at the Schnormeier Gallery, opening reception July 7th.
For more information about INSIDE at the Cultural Arts Center, visit their website http://www.culturalartscenteronline.org
In 2016 CAW presented two thought provoking exhibitions. The first was Landmark at Fort Hayes Shot Tower, which challenged our member artists to visually translate the theme of the title. As usual our fierce artists charged forward with many diverse and inspired interpretations of the concept of a landmark. In addition, our annual small works show was installed at ClaySpace with the title State of Affairs. In this exhibit our curators directly asked artists to respond to the ever-changing and increasingly polarized political landscape of 2016.
If one thing is certain, this new year will kindle our creativity to interrogate injustices through art. We look forward to several new exhibits including CAW Collected and Inside/Out which will be featured in two locations. We also look forward to providing more opportunities for member artists to further their practice through the Artist Identity Series. More importantly we look forward to the chance to grow together and empower each other as a community of women artists.
Here is to a healthy, creative, active, and prosperous 2017!!
Being a part of CAW has opened me to many things, the foremost is being part of a collective & what that looks like. This got my brain going on what this dynamic might look like for other female identified collectives or groups… enter the rabbit hole we call the internet. Upon a recent search I stumbled upon Coalition Zine and my cotton socks were knocked clean off.
Their about page reads
“The Coalition is dedicated to telling stories and making space via literature and visual work. We want to do more than introduce diversity to the world of publishing: we want to give it heart. We only accept and publish work from female and femme identifying writers and artists of color and we pride ourselves in bringing you content that is honest and passionate.”
And by god do they deliver. Published Quarterly (both online and print), the Coalition Zine is so many things, but the one, the one that sticks with me is its delivery of words. Whether it’s a short story, poem or an interview of a young artist, the writers dig deep. The entire zine feels immensely personal. Souls being bared in the same way you share thoughts on life with a close friend. Here are two reads that grabbed me, got me thinking outside of my little self imposed bubble.
Scottsdale Contemporary Art Museum, Jan 30 – May 1, 2016, Scottsdale, Arizona
By Sandra Aska
“I am intrigued with combining the remnant of memories,
fragments or relics and ordinary objects, with the components of technology.
It’s a way of delving into the past and reaching into the future simultaneously.”
“You know, you can make art out of anything!”
Those were the words Betye Saar said to me when I told her I had been in awe of her work since the 1960s.
We met at the opening of her exhibit at the Scottsdale Contemporary Art Museum. This exhibit is a fascinating journey through the fictional biographies of transplanted Africans and the transformation and assimilation of slaves into contemporary identities and the creation of a constantly evolving culture. A sweet and petite grandmotherly figure today, Betye Saar, an educator, print maker and installation artist, was born in Los Angeles in 1926, and, at age 90, is still making art and visualizing change.
She had an important early influence that set her path. Her grandmother lived in Watts and as a child Betye watched Simon Rodia building his Watts Towers, which to her, was an amazing, mystical, and magical place and the beginning of her life long interest in metaphysics and the occult. Also, she said, where she lived in Pasadena, they had gypsy conventions and her father would drive them to this big park where all these caravans and things were. She spoke about always having an interest in things outside of life as she knew it; and the difficulty of finding information on mysticism, magic, and witchcraft. Because it was the ‘60s, fascination with those ideas were just beginning and images she finally found in books were incorporated into her early work.
The Rosebowl Fleamarket and thrift shops in Pasadena were a source for items that spoke to her- bits and pieces of dolls, clocks, African masks, Tarot cards, bird cages, old photographs, crockadile skins and other ephemera started piling up in her studio. Photographs of family members, old linen handkerchiefs, personal letters, gloves, clothing and family memorabilia became part of her assembled art.
Some weeks after seeing the exhibit, I was in a contemporary Scottsdale gallery, and still excited about the show, and I asked the gallery owner in Scottsdale if she had seen the Saar’s exhibit and explained what it was about. The gallery owner replied with an emphasis that bore no challenge, “There should be no politics in art. ART is just art, if politics are involved it holds absolutely no interest for me.” Somewhat taken aback, I was not ready to debate the definition and philosophy of art with her, and simply made a polite retreat. Her idea of art had so many limitations that at least 95% of art through the ages would, to her mind, not be considered art as we see it today.
Bette Saar is an example of making art based on who she is, was, and is still becoming. Her way is a thoughtful and intuitive process based on things she knows to be true and important to her. She is telling her story.
The concept of what art is has changed with every generation and by the innovative artists in that generation. Betye Saar lived in a culturally rich and exciting time. This was a time of politics, action, and radical social change; a time charged with emotions and turmoil, tempored by art and intellect and the act of trying to make sense of things. Looking at her work today not only tells us her story, but keeps alive the stories of our shared history, be they harsh, cruel, sentimental, mysterious, beautiful, or loving. That is why Betye’s work and possibly your work will be important to future generations regardless of how art is defined. It matters not how or what we make in terms of art, or if we will be famous, but rather the brave and true act of recording our stories and leaving a message for future generations that can be informative, edifying, healing, and awe inspiring.
The Scottsdale Contemporary Art Center is gracious about photography, so all photographs are by the author. There are no titles. Betye did not want titles listed on the work and she prevailed.
January 4, 2012 interview with Juvenio L. Guerra in the Getty newsletter iris
I first saw Jen Bodine‘s (pronounced bo-dine) work on the 614 FB page, like so many other artists that I have interviewed, and fell in love with it. Of course, the fact that she frequently posts pics of her cat (s) also hit a chord with me…LOL! Then I was lucky enough to meet her kitties, Emerson and Raddimus, (and Jen!) in person!!!
Jen and I first communicated online and then she graciously invited me to her lovely home in my old stomping grounds, Upper Arlington. We sat and chatted for a while on a rainy Sunday afternoon while her kitties checked me out and I got to see where she creates.
When asked how she got into art, she states that her background is pretty complex. She’s been painting and drawing for most of her life and used to enter art contests while in grade school just for fun. Sitting in her room and creating was natural for her but she never considered that art might become a career choice. This kind of creativity comes naturally as her dad was also an artist although he doesn’t create as much now.
I’ve always been drawn to creating, even as a child. I’m not exactly sure what inspired me to create then; I just felt a need to make something out of other things. Colors always fascinated me, igniting something within me to want to manipulate them to express myself. I loved experimenting with items and applying different conditions (heat, light, pressure, etc.) to them to alter their state or appearance. I remember going nuts when I found out that crayons could be melted. I was pretty resourceful, as well. I remember wanting to make a birthday card for my mother when I was 6 or 7 years old. I cut out all the little construction paper pieces to make a collage and discovered that we were out of glue, so I used toothpaste. LOL!!!
Considering all of that, I think it was obvious at a young age that I was interested in both science and art, often blending the two, so I’m not surprised that I’ve developed a sort of dual career.
Around 7th grade, she fell more in love with science and decided that she wanted to become a biochemist. So high school was spent focusing on science and math courses, excluding visual arts as electives although she did play music to satisfy her creative side. After graduation, she attended Capital University and earned that degree in biochemistry, discovering a passion and talent in the field of analytical organic chemistry during the process. She did take an art class with Gary Ross that she terms ‘a wild experience’ with him letting the class tour his home filled with antique and art collections that could rival that of any museum in Jen’s words. She loved the class but that did not deter her from working as an analytical chemist starting in 2005. She still loves it and feels that it compliments her art perfectly because she enjoys the processes she uses for both.
During those years, she continued to produce art, learning and developing her own skills. A friend in college taught her how to screenprint and it became another passion. She also picked up glass blowing about 5 years ago, learning from the very experienced and talented Andy Hudson. Most of her development has been from watching and learning basic techniques from other more experienced artists. From there, she tries to break off from what she has learned, explore on her own and then find her personal style and expression. In addition, her dad is a constant source of inspiration as he loves to send her care boxes filled with supplies he thinks she may like to experiment with or may be newly on the market. These treasure boxes have afforded her the ability to try techniques and materials she might otherwise not have used cause we all know how expensive art materials can be. (I asked her if perhaps her dad would like to adopt me!) Actually, her drafting table used to belong to her dad, and has a bunch of his old paint blobs and stuff on it from when he used it. ‘One of the markings looks like a heart, and when I look at it, I smile. It’s like I have my dad’s heart there at all times as I work.’
When asked to categorize her art, she stated that her instinct is to separate the glass, watercolor and screen printing into their own paths of categorization. BUT, she also states that she really thinks that it all comes down to how she uses color which varies widely and doesn’t always fit one category. She uses this in many different ways to express a hundred different emotions and to show movement, fluidity and gravity. “if I can pull someone in emotionally with these effects, I consider myself successful”. She does not tend to stick to one genre or style in her work but goes wherever inspiration leads.
Most of her inspirations comes from interacting with people. A lot of her work is a direct result of watching people connect or from conversations with friends. One piece, “Everything is Everything”, was inspired 100% by a deep conversation with a friend about the fact that once we’re done with this life, the particles of our bodies don’t just disappear or cease to be. They are integrated into other things forever…we ourselves are pieces of people and things that once were. She says that if she is pressured to create, it just doesn’t happen. There will be something on the paper, but it’s just a collection of paint that tells her that her brain is saying “no”, finding that inspiration and motivation comes when it wants, and forcing it is unproductive.
Recently, she has been experiencing and experimenting with watercolors, so all of those techniques are new to her. I imagine I’ve developed some sort of backwards way of doing things compared to others, but it works for me. As far as techniques to share, I’m often asked about what screen printing equipment is best for people looking to try it out, and I usually tell people that the expensive stuff isn’t necessary for what I do–I expose screens in my bathroom with a cheap light bulb screwed into a creaky metal desk lamp that sits on a stack of circa 2007 GQ magazines while trying to keep cats out of the room. This is like the adult Jen version of the toothpaste glue, but, again: it works for me. Most of the techniques were developed back in undergrad when I had no money and lived in a tiny apartment. I did what I could to make the art I wanted to make.
I suppose the advice here would be that it’s possible to make a lot of things happen if you can be resourceful and use what you have to make it work. There are usually alternatives or ways around methods. There’s usually no single exact way to do something. If there is, do your own thing anyway.
Jen has been operating under her own name for a few years and has a website on Fine Art America, also listed as such. Other than gallery/show sales, she takes commissions via email, and has made sales after posting work on the Art and Artists of 614 Facebook page. Wherever it’s displayed, people are welcome to inquire about sales or commissions or even just to talk about it. She likes to interact with people about art, so she tends to display pieces in those sorts of places where instant connection is possible. In that regard, too, she has started to do some collaborative work with Roger Plymale…he does his ink drawings and then she adds water colors…with the thought of eventually creating a comic book. Cool, huh? She shared some of the pieces she has done with him (check them out below).
Within the last few months, she has displayed her work at the Vanderelli Room and Camelot Cellars. In addition, she was the featured artist at House Beer for all of March and received the Roscoe Award during the New Endeavors show at The Roscoe Room, which she felt was an incredible honor stating ‘the wonderful Suzanne Betz Gallagher runs that gallery, and it’s a beautiful space.’ On April 9th, she and several other artists, including recently featured Justin Frehs, will be part of a pop up show at Wild Goose Creative. Busy girl, huh?
Lastly, she considers herself a Renaissance woman of sorts…getting into a lot of things, trying something new, and improving her skills. It helps that I’m not satisfied unless I’m doing a lot of things at once, so I’m able to dig into multiple interests simultaneously. Because of that, I’m constantly evolving and growing, and every day is interesting. I saw this first hand…she also knits and we talked at length about how we both love to experiment and not pigeonhole ourselves into one style of art. I think this is what I found so interesting about this young scientist/artist. I can’t wait to see where her art takes her….I’ll keep you posted! Oh, and, fingers crossed, I think she may just join CAW soon!!!