September 10, 2015
3 contemporary artists inaugurate redone Columbus College of Art & Design’s Canzani Center space
The Columbus Dispatch, 09/10/2015
Melissa Starker

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3 contemporary artists inaugurate redone Columbus College of Art & Design’s Canzani Center space
The Columbus Dispatch, 09/10/2015
Melissa Starker


This fall, visitors to the Columbus College of Art & Design’s Canzani Center gallery will find more to appreciate than exciting new works by area and internationally recognized artists.

In a significant renovation, the exhibition area was rearranged, ceilings and flooring were removed, a walled-off entryway was installed, and a small screening room (to open in December) was added. With the new look comes a new name: CCAD Contemporary Art Space.

“We wanted to create a space more amenable to contemporary art,” explained Michael Goodson, director of exhibitions. With the Columbus Museum of Art expansion going on next door, the timing felt especially right.

“They’re not small galleries; their bent is theatrical,” Goodson said of the renovated space, adding that for its first round of shows, “I chose works that would be enveloping in their use of the new walls.”

Artist Charles Atlas’ The Waning of Justice, which is enveloping and theatrical, seems like a perfect fit. Taking up whole walls in the first two gallery spaces, the audiovisual installation by the noted filmmaker fills one room with projected images of a number of sunsets that Atlas filmed during a residency in Florida. The installation is superimposed with random phrases and set to droning electronic beats and mournful bagpipes.

A small, free-standing screen shows a countdown, ticking away the minutes before the sun disappears on the horizon in each shot. When it does, a wall in the adjacent gallery comes to life with a lip-sync performance and politically savvy monologue by Atlas’ longtime friend, New York drag performer the Lady Bunny. The end of her song marks the beginning of a new sunset cycle.

Nothing is new about drag or a beautiful sunset, but something in the way Atlas captures and contrasts these elements, as well as the sheer scale in which they’re presented, instills new appreciation for both.

With a turn of a corner, the dim lighting in the Atlas section gives way to the jarringly bright gallery space populated by Beverly Fishman’s Big Pharma. The show presents works from her series of large wood canvases, which are covered in urethane auto paint and shaped and contoured to mimic the form of pills for pain and anxiety. Each is framed in neon colors or black, similar to advertising signage, with color combinations that conjure up conflicting feelings of allure and dread.

In the next gallery, Cordy Ryman’s site-specific installation Chimera 45 offers a dimensional assemblage of paintings and paint-covered wood planks nailed directly into the walls.

In the title work, an entire wall of planks is arranged to form geometric shapes, their sides covered in random splashes of neon orange and pink. The result is a visual experience that evolves as one moves through the space, revealing fresh infusions of color interrupted by raw wood, clean white and inked lumberyard stamps.

The smallest gallery is reserved for White Elephant (1860-) by Columbus artist Mary Jo Bole. She collected family photos, found images and her own illustrations to form square-patterned wallpaper that covers the entire space and conveys the depth of familial connection.

Taking it all in, one is struck by an overarching sense of mystery. Their frequent repetition on the walls manages to create a simultaneous craving for more information and the feeling of warm familiarity.

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January 17, 2017
Globalocation: Celebrating 20 Years of Artnauts
J. Willard Marriott Library
The University of Utah, 01/17/2017

The University of Utah’s J. Willard Marriott Library will host the art exhibition Globalocation: Celebrating 20 Years of Artnauts, Jan. 20-March 3.

Artnauts, an art collective formed 20 years ago by George Rivera, professor of art and art history at the University of Colorado, Boulder, consists of 300 global artists who serve as goodwill ambassadors, acknowledging and supporting victims of oppression worldwide. Their creativity has generated over 230 exhibitions across five continents. Five faculty members from the U’s Department of Art and Art History are members of the collective, Sandy Brunvand, Beth Krensky, V. Kim Martinez, Brian Snapp and Xi Zhang.

Globalocation derives from “Globalocational Art” — a concept used by the Artnauts to refer to their exhibitions in international venues. It is the mission of the Artnauts to take art to places of contention, and this anniversary exhibition is a sample of places where they have been and themes they have addressed.

“The Artnauts could not exist without the commitment of the artists in the collective to a common vision of the transformative power of art,” said Rivera. “The Artnauts make their contribution with art that hopefully generates a dialogue with an international community on subjects that are sometimes difficult to raise.”

Krensky, associate department chair of the Art and Art History Department, had the opportunity to travel with Rivera in Chile as part of an Artnauts project, working with mothers who were searching for their children who had mysteriously disappeared during a time of political unrest.

“When I travelled to Chile in 1998, George and I spent an afternoon with the Mothers of the Disappeared, and the meeting changed my life,” said Krensky. “It was from that moment on that I placed a picture of them on my desk to look at every day. I was so moved by what they each had lost — a son, a brother, a father — and yet what remained for them was a deep, deep well of love. They were fierce warriors and stood up to the government to demand the whereabouts and information of the people who had disappeared, but they lived within profound love.”

The 20th anniversary exhibition at the Marriott Library is a retrospective of the traveling works the Artnauts have toured around the globe. The exhibition will be located on level three of the library. The opening reception is open to the public and will be held on Friday, Jan 20, 4-6 p.m. Rivera will speak at 4 p.m.

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