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Summit Artspace displaying Fresh Art show

3/14/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Roger Durbin

Casey Vogt’s work won second place in Summit Artspace’s Fresh Art juried show.
Photo courtesy of Summit Artspace
DOWNTOWN AKRON — Summit Artspace has been challenging local artists with puzzling ideas or themes for them to create what has been known for nine years now as the Fresh Art juried show. The current exhibit will be on display through April 13.

This year, organizers came up with variations on the letter Q. According to gallery officials, the annual exhibit calls on regional artists to stretch their creativity and challenge themselves to include or represent Q within their artwork: literally, figuratively, covertly, disguised, camouflaged or just plain quirky.

The juried show, which is open to artists who live, work or attend colleges or universities in Summit, Medina and Portage counties, is purportedly designed to attract unique works in a wide variety of media by both emerging young artists and established art professionals. Sure enough, there were some very familiar artists represented, but some new faces, as well.

Artists did range in their interpretation of the puzzler that started the whole thing. Some, like Janet Pahlau, went religious with her mixed media (and very striking and alluring) work called “Mary, Queen of Heaven and Earth.” Gwen Waight went further afield and created a full-standing found object assemblage on the quixotic idea of Don Quixote in her large-scale and fascinating “The Home of Don and Dulcinea.”

Norman Mallard did a lively, clever and amusing smaller-scale collage on the notion of the woman as the royal presence in her home and the lives of all she knows in his work, “The Queen of Everyone Comes Home.” It depicts what looks like a housewife with a crown on as she talks on the telephone amid a wall of roses — her rose-colored world perfect for the life she means to lead.

The ever-imaginative Robert Carpenter did a takeoff of the tune “Que sera, sera” with a mixed media assemblage composed of a globe on which is perched a rod supporting a shadow box house in which appears actress Doris Day, who made the song famous. The work, which he calls “Wishful Thinking,” seems to play on notions of how life would be if we could imagine it rather than how we have to live it sometimes.

These works, and some others, including those by familiar local artists like Jerry Domokur and Joe Dick, could easily have taken the three prizes ($500, $300 and $200) being offered for first, second, and third place. Judges Robert Thurmer and Jack McWhorter picked three winners who, among other things, used unusual materials in the creation of their works. There was no information available at the gallery explaining the rationale for the winners, but the thrust of the unusual seemed to explain them as much as anything.

First-place winner Jennifer Jones entered a large two-dimensional work called “Don’t Question the Queen in her Castle.” The abstract piece was created with oil stick, crayon, pastel and charcoal.

Second-place winner Casey Vogt entered a painting showing what seems to be a cowboy crossing a path with the letter Q as the brand on the horse against a background of a large green circle in the misty distance. The work was created with house paint, marker and collage on panel.

Third-place went to Paula Singleton’s “Not So Vanilla Swirl,” a fiber work that is a fancy hat of beige swirls and angles.

The gallery, located at 140 E. Market St., is open Thursdays from noon to 9 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from noon to 5 p.m. Parking is adjacent to the building. Admission is free.


Roger Durbin is professor emeritus of bibliography at The University of Akron and an avid art enthusiast. To contact him, email r.durbin@sbcglobal.net.

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