Dayton’s visual arts scene is abundant with compelling exhibitions and activities; selecting ten was a challenge. Enjoy this review of my top ten favorite visual art exhibitions in 2018!
Connie Campbell, Archetypes
November 26 – December 28, 2018
Connie Campbell’s sculptures are created through mathematical references to the golden ratio, with intricate formulas to create each shape, curve, and line. Made with aluminum, copper, and wood, the sculptures echo animal skeletons and snares. Learn more about the exhibition and the artist here.
Kei Ito and Migiwa Orimo, Nuclear Fallout: The Bomb in Three Archives
Herndon Gallery, Antioch College
September 20, 2018 – December 7, 2018
This incredibly moving exhibition featured the work of Migiwa Orimo and Kei Ito, both reflecting on the 1945 atomic bombings of Japan. Orimo’s body of work, Proofs of Burden, is a reflection of the elements of destruction, censorship, constructed narratives, and reflections on popular culture through her research. Artist Kei Ito explores the 1945 bombings through personal narrative. Kei’s grandfather survived the destruction of Hiroshima, witnessing the horrors of radiation effects on his loved ones. Learn more about the exhibitions here.
Drawing from Perception
Robert and Elaine Stein Galleries, Wright State University
January 16 – February 25, 2018
Drawing from Perception featured sixty artists with a focus on the tradition of observational renderings. Sometimes there is nothing better than admiring a beautifully rendered drawing! Stand outs included Bradley Mulligan’s still life; Abel Dolby’s studies of quiet domestic moments; Mark Lewis’ collaged cut paper scenes of Americana; and Amy MacLennan’s richly textured streetscape. See more about the exhibition here.
Kim Rae Taylor, Rendered Complete Equals
Virginia Kistler, Fungal Impressions
April 16 – May 18, 2018
Rosewood Gallery was host to two excellent solo exhibitions featuring work by Kim Rae Taylor (Cincinnati) and Virginia Kistler (Gahanna, Ohio). Kim Rae Taylor’s exhibition Rendered Complete Equals explored materiality, process, relationships in mixed media paintings. Virginia Kistler’s Fungal Impressions documented the natural world through photographic processes. Learn more about these exhibitions here.
Muse: Mickalene Thomas Photographs and tête-à-tête
Dayton Art Institute
October 20 2018 – January 13 2019
Mickalene Thomas: I Can’t See You Without Me
Wexner Center for the Arts
September 14, 2018 – December 30, 2018
Ohio lucked out with two important Mickalene Thomas exhibitions this fall – large scale painting and collage works at the Wexner Center for the Art’s, and photographs at the Dayton Art Institute. Thomas’ work is monumental in scale and examines representations of the female body in contemporary subject matter to art history. Both exhibitions reflect on the dual influence of photographs with her paintings and collage that initially brought her acclaim in the contemporary art world. Learn more about the Dayton Art Institute exhibition here.
Edmund Merricle, Recent Paintings
It was great to see the quirky color palettes, focused nautical content and joyful painting of Edmund Merricle at Dutoit Gallery. Learn more about the exhibition here.
Julia Oldham, Dogs of Future Earth
Blue House Gallery
October 13 – 31, 2018
Oldham is a prolific artist, with fascinating artwork and travels on her resume. Oldham’s recent series was part of an artist residency in Chernobyl, where she documented the feral dogs that roam the seemingly empty town, descendants of those that survived the nuclear disaster. Blue House featured her large-scale fantastical collages, as well as videos, allowing a glimpse into a reality blended with science fiction. Learn more from the Blue House website.
Akram Zaatari, The Fold – Space, time and the image
October 05, 2018 – February 10, 2019
Cincinnati Contemporary Art Center
The photo-based work of Akram Zaatari represents sometimes haunting narratives, but his work extends beyond his own studio – Zaatari is also the co-founder of the Arab Image Foundation, which preserves a history of photographic images from the Middle East. This exhibition impressively balances his artistic vision and preservation work. Learn more here.
Juan-Sí González, Displacement: Collective Practice to Recover Memory
October 15 – November 16
In Displacement, Juan-Sí González digs deep into his own personal archive, from his youth in Cuba, to his political asylum which eventually led him to Dayton, Ohio. This exhibition was a dense, emotional, and significant telling of an artist’s story, as well as his connections to his present-day community. Learn about González exhibition’s here.
Ashley Jude Jonas, it’s likely in front of you
Jonas’ thoughtful artwork can be highly conceptual, but always is deeply intentional and sensitive to various aspects of material, dimensionality and balance. Her work is most successful when viewers the time to understand the relationships each piece puts forward, both formally and theoretical. A truly beautiful exhibition. Learn more here.
Joel Whitaker, When Things Go Missing
Dayton Visual Arts Center
September 7, 2018 – November 3, 2018
Whitaker’s beautiful, quiet photographs documented of sites of trauma, including locations of tornado touch-downs in the American South and “photographs that explore the idea of losing things—the transitory nature of all things.” An incredibly poetic exhibition. Learn more here.
Stratum: New Work by Amy Kollar Anderson & Kate Huser Santucci
February 22 – March 24, 2018
Dayton Visual Arts Center
In this unexpected and fun exhibition, the artists documented their collaborative process of creating new works, with the result a richly layered, textured, and sometimes colorful play on each other’s aesthetic tendencies and techniques. The creative process was documented with notes and photos displayed alongside the finished work. Learn more here.
The Woods in Color: Works by Jean Koeller
Springfield Museum of Art
July 28, 2018 -January 6, 2019
Koeller’s incredible use of color and her perception of what some would call the mundane – like piles of wood – transcend to masterful compositions of abstraction, tonality, surface tension and quiet moments of reprieve. A must see exhibition; learn more here.