Abstraction in visual art is far from new, but many area artists are using it to produce rich and meaningful work. In western art, from the pioneering experiments of the fascinating Swedish mystic Hilma af Klint, to Russian Suprematism, Kandinsky, Mondrian, Abstract Expressionism, Minimalism, Op Art, even Land Art, etc., we have seen wide-ranging developments in both form and content. Three artists here—in printmaking, painting, and sculpture—make it clear that abstraction can still make for a vibrant, first-hand art experience. Visual Art Showcase
Lisa Schonberg Wind Over Water 24 x 54”, relief monoprint, 2019
DREAD & DELIGHT: FAIRY TALES IN AN ANXIOUS WORLD brings together the work of contemporary artists who use classical fairy tales to address the complexities of our lives today. While some embrace the stories’ promises of transformation and happy endings, others plumb the stories’ more troubling elements—poverty, addiction, and exploitations of power.
No matter their approach, each of the artists dismantles and reassembles the tales in imaginative ways. In a 1980s arcade-like video by Ericka Beckman, the story of Cinderella becomes a means to talk about women’s proscribed social roles; in Timothy Horn’s nearly life-size carriage made of crystalized candy, it becomes an opportunity to address queer identity and notions of the so called rags-to-riches American dream. In Alison Saar’s tar and gold-leaf covered sculpture Blonde Dreams, the story of Rapunzel becomes an avenue for reconsidering racial constructions of beauty; in MK Guth’s 1800-foot-long braid Ties of Protection and Safe Keeping, it becomes the site for a conversation about values and desires.
Many of the fairy tales featured in Dread & Delight will be readily familiar. Others are lesser known and provide an opportunity to explore the rich breadth of the fairy tale tradition. Throughout the exhibition, one finds that the artists have engaged with fairy tales across time—from early Italian, French, and German anthologies; to Walt Disney’s 20th-century animations; to postmodern retellings by authors such Angela Carter and Margaret Atwood. Collectively, they remind us that fairy tales have never been merely children’s tales. Rather, these age-old stories of wonder are powerful tools for making sense of life’s stark—and often dark—realities.
Dread & Delight is accompanied by a scholarly publication charting five decades of fairy tales in the visual arts and featuring a new workof fairy tale fiction by Pulitzer Prize finalist Kelly Link.
Dread & Delight: Fairy Tales in an Anxious World was organized by the Weatherspoon Art Museum at The University of North Carolina, Greensboro and curated by Dr. Emily Stamey. Its presentation in Akron is made possible through the generous support of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Ohio Arts Council, The Tom and Marilyn Merryweather Fund, the John P. Murphy Foundation and Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs, LLC. Media sponsorship provided by Western Reserve PBS.
"Larsen’s statement says she is working 'to offer a new perspective unto life.' Certainly this exhibit offers a look at an artist who is doing contemplative and deeply investigative work, and gives us a chance to better know a unique voice."—Anderson Turner, Akron Beacon Journal
Mernet Larsen (b. 1940) makes intriguing, humor- and tension-infused paintings featuring geometric figures that inhabit space in ways that defy gravity and conventional viewpoints. The artist stages ordinary scenes—people playing cards or eating dinner, a faculty meeting, reading in bed—but constructs them with vertiginous, skewed spatial relationships that convey a sense of precariousness. The disorienting treatment of perspective places the viewer inside and outside of the paintings at the same time, “as if they’re wearing the situation,” the artist describes. Along with the figures’ deadpan facial expressions and subtle body language, Larsen’s puzzling compositions reveal an essence of everyday human interaction. Wry, anxious and awkward, the paintings are frozen monuments that are simultaneously alien and familiar.
Mernet Larsen: The Ordinary, Reoriented is organized by the Akron Art Museum with support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Ohio Arts Council.
Mernet Larsen, Seminar, 2011, acrylic on canvas, 59 x 40 in., Courtesy of David Howe
McKay Bricker Framing | Black Squirrel Gallery | 141 East Main Street Kent, Oh 44240 | (330) 673-5058
Great selection of art, cards, frames, hand bags, t-shirts, and much more. Gifts for all occasions. Connected to KSU Downtown Gallery and a short walk from the KSU Hotel & Conference Center.
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