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brief notes about local shows i've taken in over the past couple of weeks. i have photos to accompany most of the artworks mentioned; hopefully i'll have a chance to post them later on.

I caught the opening reception of Annie, a series of paintings by Annie Titchener on display at the Over-the-Rhine Chamber of Commerce. Unfortunately time hasn't allowed a proper post about this show, and it ends TODAY. But i'm sure that if you get in touch with Visionaries and Voices it would be possible to learn more about Titchener's work (the show was organized by V+V as I understand it...).

Titchener's paintings are expressionist and saturated; one would be hard pressed to describe a bias in the color schemes she presents, though bright reds and blues appear throughout. In many of the best moments, paint is heavy laden so that the colors muddy down into subtle intricacy. Many of the paintings on board are as textural as they are pictorial. In some paintings, drawn marks bleed out from under the paint (my brother, who saw this work with me, suggested these were made with large chisel marks-a-lot). I was reminded of Joanne Greenbaum's paintings that, if they don't actually include paint pen or sharpie, reference that kind of markmaking in acrylic or oil. My particular favorite was a small painting in one of the offices that is fitted with several blocky, brownish forms. In the bottom right corner, the artist's name is painting in multicolored strokes in qualities that reminded me of Santogold singing the song "Anne."

The current exhibition at semantics, the gallery i volunteer with, is Joe Civitello's solo exhibition Brink. The editor of Aeqai wrote a small piece about the exhibition on Aeqai's main blog here. Civitello created video installation sculptures in both rooms. The front rooms broken tunnel piece is paired by a series of digital prints, while the back space is darkened completely and trembles with the volume level of the throbbing video works that are built into a kind of fort. Beyond what Frabetti wrote, I would draw viewers' attention to the aesthetics that tweaked even the equipment, such as the coils of extension cord that have been tacked to the wall. These extra hints at control seem to crystallize some of the light/dark formal issues in many of the other works, lending them to a dialogue about power, order, risk, and true aspects of the creative process that demand subtraction as much as addition. Civitello will be keeping the gallery open during its normal 12-4 Saturday hours, as well as a closing reception on April 25th.

Rawe's installation in Convergys

So far, I've made it out to all of the senior thesis exhibitions at the Art Academy of Cincinnati. I was very impressed and proud of two close friends- Nick Hill + Zach Rawe- who made postminimalism undeniably hip again. Both slip in Pop subtexts in their objects and installations. Showing in galleries nearby one another, a marked difference in approach was the sparse, airy space that Hill made with his small wall-mounted objects and glitter installations on the floor, in contrast to the whimsical, dense carnival of objects and drawings installed in Convergys Gallery by Rawe. These two have shown together a couple of times before, and I reviewed one of their exhibitions at semantics HERE. Hill has recently put up a website with more information about his work. See it here.
One of Hill's wall mounted objects.

Other graduating seniors of interest (in no particular order):

Jon Flannery's screenprinted text works mess with album titles that will be variably familiar and obscure depending on the saavy of the viewer. With sharp wit in both the idea itself and the craft of their execution, this was a sexy installation of prints that do the Printmaking department at the Art Academy proud.

Emily Davidson's paintings only partially depend on photographic source material. Throughout the paintings, almost carnal, lusty explorations into the materiality of paint- soupy, scruffy, scumbled, sprayed, dripped, impasto, you name it- are conducted into a topographic ecosystems that are built into the final images.

Rachel Talty presented large, painterly collages as well as collaged photographs. The small photographs depict grainy outdoor images that each contain a very small bit of brown paper covering some detail within the print. The scenes feel surveilled and poeticized. The scrutiny in inspecting the images is an act of play. These were beguiling, weird little pieces in gray-painted frames. I kept looking at them. And then I kept looking at them. I should probably have one.

In this week's exhibition, Patrice Williams presented a set of utterly disturbing but jewel-like, impressive airbrushed paintings. She is graduating with a degree in Illustration, and these paintings do feel like illustrations. But they stand up with boldness and intrigue as quirky, grotesque anthropomorphs and other invented characters elaborate on the realism of the portraits in each.

“Untitled” by Patrice Williams (airbrush on smooth canvas, 18” x 24”)

The drawing that appeared behind the projected video in Baker's and Helmes' piece.

Last night, a set of Northern Kentucky University's graduating seniors presented their thesis projects in the campus' gallery. The stand out was a collaborative project between Katherine Baker and M. Kate Helmes, who used the moniker The Paper Dolls as the author of their video and drawing installation. Entitled Devolution: Things Fall Apart, a room constructed within the gallery was made to feel dark and derelict. Pieces of actually furniture like chests of drawers and a large traveling chest were pushed up against walls upon which tromp l'oeil drawings in what appeared to be charcoal completed the interior space. Window unit air conditioner, shelves of scattered books, and a fully hand-drawn "wooden" floor were drawn and smeared into blurs throughout. a thick layer of powdery dust (maybe chalk?) coated the floor and furniture, and was tracked out into the gallery. low hanging draped fabric was mottled with black; the shadow of these drapes framed the projected video piece. The video is a montage of footage that conveys a loose narrative of loss, of people packing up and leaving. Ms. Baker is off to graduate school in Massachusetts in the fall.

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