Blue/Black Checkered Cachepot
Collection of Artist, 1992
Karadzic Suite 1: Radovan Holds Nebojsa, His Grandson, While He Sleeps Soundly on His Chest
hand embroidery on printed photograph (original photo by Rob Siebelink), 8.5 x 11”, 2016
This tends to heighten the dark nature of the source material, but also creates a complex combination of emotions through such a contrast. ‘But We Thought You Wanted to Play with Us’, from the Heydrich series is particularly effective in this regard. The whimsical, brightly colored characters attempting to interact with one of most abhorrent members of the Third Reich reflects a perplexing reality regarding human nature. The gamut of behaviors of which we are capable is staggering.
Shinko describes her central approach:
I use traditional fiber art techniques to confront uncomfortable social and psychological issues—particularly those involving sex and its connection to power. Provocative statements, lurid colors, disorienting patterns, and disturbing imagery are constructed using familiar materials: cloth, thread, paper, and yarn. My goal is to examine—and either revise or reaffirm—our understanding of the complicated dynamic of male and female relationships, and the power-play that defines them.
Kathryn Shinko received her BFA in Graphic Design from the University of Akron in 2011 and her MFA in Textiles from Kent State University in 2015. Her work has been shown across the United States, in exhibitions in Chicago, Los Angeles, Brooklyn, Denver, Santa Ana, Erie, Ft. Lauderdale, and throughout Ohio. She has been featured in the online publications Curatorial Collective, Refigural, and JungKatz.
In 2016 she received an Honorable Mention for the Surface Design Association's Creative Promise Award for Student Excellence and was published in the Winter 2016 Issue of the Surface Design Association Journal. Most recently, she was nominated for the 2017 American Craft Council Emerging Voices Award. Kathryn has worked as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Akron and as a sales associate for Don Drumm Studios & Galleries. www.kathrynshinko.com
Soup Tureen Collection of Artist, 1992
P H Y L L I S S E L T Z E R
Written by Christopher L. Richards
Celebrated for her heat-transfer prints, Phyllis Seltzer is a virtuoso in her mastery of printmaking techniques, including intaglio, woodcuts, screen printing, lithography, and ozalids. An interest in the perception of spatial relationships is often a key element to her work, rooted in her background in architecture and design. Seltzer’s art explores the urban landscape of Cleveland’s Flats and downtown; mines the wealth of vintage photographs from historical archives; and comments on social issues. By creatively combining established printing techniques with new technologies, she speaks to a sense of nostalgia, yet continues to look forward. Throughout her career in the arts as a painter and print maker, Seltzer demonstrates curiosity and love of experimentation.
As an interior designer in a Cleveland architectural firm, Seltzer observed technical drawings being reproduced in the “blueprint” or ozalid process. She began to wonder how this technology could be applied fine art.
The Heydrich Series: But We Thought You Wanted to Play with Us
hand embroidery on printed photograph, 10 x 8”, 2012
Concourse II Ozalid on mylar, Collection of the artist, 1979
K A T H R Y N S H I N K O
The art of Kathryn Shinko is comprised of various different series and subtly divergent sensibilities; and it often pushes the boundaries of what is ‘proper’ in art. At a time when much art seems to be overly deferential to community standards, her work speaks in an independent and refreshingly edgy voice. Her Vignettes Series, for instance, confronts viewers with harsh, sexual statements in texts (from titles of adult videos) that are woven into majestic landscape scenes. The incongruity of these two elements creates a jolt that makes the viewer question the pairings’ relationship. By incorporating these phrases into neutral and serene contexts, their degrading, even violent, nature is spotlighted.
In other series, she continues the exploration of opposing emotional and psychological connotations. Her Karadzic Suite and Heydrich Series both incorporate photographic images of ruthless war criminals, but are treated attentively with hand embroidered embellishments. The delicate nature of the material make up of these works is at odds with the content of the images.
Large White Vase Collection of William Brouillard and Jessica Winiarski,1981
Soon, she was using it to make sepia-toned prints of her drawings on mylar. Working in this media, Seltzer was able to tackle a variety of subjects, including nostalgia for early American past times and examine social issues such as the Women’s Liberation Movement in pieces like Concourse II. In this work, the classic car paired with a nude woman are seen common objects of desire. The woman in the composition takes on an empowering stance that both engages and denies the male gaze. While the ozalid enhances the vintage quality, Seltzer found that it had limitations. The process and materials were unable to withstand long exposure to light without fading and because of its continued deterioration Seltzer abandoned the process.
Looking to explore new technologies, Seltzer began to use the color Xerox® machine and heat transfer paper to create prints from her paintings beginning in the 1980s. With these works, her subject shifted to the city and industrial scene. Her paintings of urban architecture offer the viewer an opportunity to see familiar landscapes in a new way. Through architecture, Seltzer explores spatial relationships, either by flattening the forms or weaving multiple points of view into one composition. The use of intense colors help the paintings translate effectively into matrixes for electrostatic transfer prints. At the same time, the colors give her work an expressive quality, changing the way we perceive the urban environment. The small scanning widow of the Xerox copier forced her to piece together images creating lines and sections that are askew, overlapping as one sheet of transfer paper meets another. This process also allows her to reconfigure images and create several unique works of art from a single painting. In the late 1990s and 2000s, Seltzer began reintroducing the figure into her cityscapes. In works like About, she combines vintage imagery with the skyline of Cleveland. This return to history and nostalgia brings her career full circle while providing a fitting tribute to the city that
she calls home. Celebrating the past, the advancement of technology, the progress of social justice, as well as freedom of dissent, Seltzer’s art reflects the society in which we live. Whether working in landscapes, or with the figure, Seltzer illustrates the American experience.
“Know your sources,” she always emphasized to her students, “Copying is a great tool as long as you know you are copying.” Salomon masterfully incorporates inspiration from previous movements to create her own unique works of art.
One of the more important lessons Salmon instilled in her students was to get their work out there. Salomon rarely exhibits her work locally. Instead, she focuses on generating a national and international audience. For approximately 10 years, she was represented by the Garth Clark Gallery and had her ceramics shown in New York, Kansas City, and Los Angeles. She has exhibited in one-person and group shows in San Francisco, Washington, Atlanta, and in London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. The importance of expanding an artist’s reach is advice that was passed down to her by one of her professors who told her to “stay mobile.” The advice has paid off, not only in entering exhibitions, but also in doing lectures and workshops everywhere from Colorado to Tsukamoto Gakuin University in Osaka Japan.
Salomon’s interest isn’t in making social statements with her work. While she likes the idea of setting a table with functional items, her passion lies with space and how it is defined, “When I work, I visualize a volume and then I construct planes of clay to enclose it.” While her pieces can be used, her interest in form over function, volume over weight, brings her into the realm of the postmodern. www.judithsalomonceramics.com
The Heydrich Series: Why Couldn’t You Just Have Been a Nice German Boy?
hand embroidery on printed photograph, 10 x 8”, 2012
J U D I T H S A L O M O N
Written by Christopher L. Richards
Judith Salomon, recipient of the 1990 Cleveland Arts Prize for Visual Arts, creates slab-built functional ceramic vessels. They are domestic objects intended to be used, coming to life when filled with food or plants. But function isn’t her primary focus. When empty, her work is meant to be contemplated, appreciated for their structure and brightly hued geometric patches. She stated in a 1978 Plain Dealer article, “I’m concerned with their being useful, but I think a good pot shows an expression of who made it. There’s something that catches the eye, a feeling for it.” The collage like quality is more than just visual interest, it helps define mass and volume. This makes her work appear heavy, but through the delicately constructed slabs, Salomon’s pieces are surprisingly lightweight.
Her work is inspired by her love of architecture and suggests the idea of sculpture. Salmon moved to Cleveland in the early 1980s to take a position at the Cleveland Institute of Art. She had never been to Ohio before and quickly took inspiration from the surrounding cityscape, building up the walls of her pieces like a stadium, the interiors reflecting the exteriors. Beyond the architectural interest she found in Cleveland, Salomon has been inspired by Constructivism and Japanese packaging. The brightly colored geometric forms that define her work from the 1980s and 90s develop a patchwork aesthetic reminiscent of De Stijl or Russian Suprematism.
Compact Electrostatic heat transfer print, Collection of the artist, 1993
About Oil on linen, Collection of the artist, 2015