The December issue of Aeqai has just posted. As before, it’s usually a smaller issue, as we note that more exhibition spaces hold off putting up new shows until around the middle of January , as various holiday pop-up shows in studios across the region occur. Since this time of year tends to be frenzied, institutions and galleries hope that people will come view their current offerings, some holiday-oriented, some not. We’ve thus added one more profile this month, too.
Having learned that several people who run THE BLDG. , in Covington, were going down to Miami for different aspects of the Miami Basel art show, we asked our friend Cate Becker to write us a comprehensive letter about her experiences there, and we’re running it as our lead article. Not only is her piece enormously informative, but her enthusiasm for some, if not all, of the offerings she attended is truly catching. A key trend that Becker notes is the increasing alliance between design and art/art objects; we also see this as an idea to watch. Concurrently, Karen Chambers reviewed the “Modern Living” exhibition at The Carnegie, which also has THE BLDG. as s sponsor/partial curator, so the first two columns inadvertently move right from one to the next. This exhibition by Carnegie Curator Matt Distel has been much admired, and focuses on the work of many young designers of objects such as furniture (and other household products) living and working in our region. Jennifer Perusek, Aeqai’s fashion editor/writer, discusses the work of designers for Valentino brand, who also showed at Miami Basel, marking another new trend in collaborations between visual artists and fashion designers, too. Aeqai’s new photo editor, Kent Krugh, offers his second month’s choice of excellent photographs: he will be searching the world for same monthly.
Craig Ledoux takes a look at illustrations by Greater Cincinnatian’s very well regarded C.F. Payne at the newly reopened Flats Gallery in Price Hill , a beautiful space with an entirely new series of quality exhibitions, using work by area artists in the upcoming year. Payne has interpreted characters from Twain’s beloved Huck Finn and friends. Fran Watson raves about a small but extremely choice exhibition of prints at The Cincinnati Art Museum made by Sean Scully, who donated them to the museum after his exhibition there about ten years ago; the prints are paired with poems by Lorca, to exceptional effect. Hannah Leow’s review of the current show at The Weston Gallery in the Aronoff Center downtown is a fascinating look at what Curator Todd Pavlisko’s done with and seen within artwork from a variety of work from area private collectors dealing mainly with race, gender and class; Leow’s conclusions are fascinating and informative. Marlene Steele analyzes work at The Greenwich Gallery (Upstairs at The Greenwich, the nightclub/jazz spot on Gilbert Avenue in Walnut Hills; area curator Alissa Sammarco has been curating a lot of shows there, working with a regular stable of artists including Mary Barr Rhodes and Jeremy Lewis, amongst others. Check for times the gallery’s open before going.
We offer three profiles of area artists this month (and remain amazed at how many terrific artists live and work in our region). Jane Durrell’s thoughtful and intelligent profile of Cole Carothers, long considered one of this region’s premier painters, appears, along with Susan Byrnes’ penetrating interview with younger interdisciplinary artist Catherine Richards. Richards, originally an architectural graduate from UC/DAAP, has created a career working with space, sculpture, architecture, and jewelry, and other objects, often/usually in public spaces and areas where her work can be inclusive and often surprising: she is definitely a younger artist to watch, multitalented and multifaceted. And Laura Hobson profiles Susan Mahan, who, after teaching art in two different high schools in this region for decade, launched a solo career as a visual artist some years ago with phenomenal success: working generally in collage, and often with imagery of flowers, Mahan’s craft is as tightly controlled and brilliantly conceived as you’re likely to see.
And Joelle Jameson, our Houston correspondent, offers an exceptionally fascinating review/essay about a show called “Words and Art” , wherein Houston area poets come together and write poems about one specific work of art: the show sounds tantalizing and easy to replicate in other cities. Seattle correspondent Elisa Mader’s review of Pop art by Seattle artist Roger Shimomura is completely riveting, and Anise Stevens chose an artist working with ideas and images from the civil rights era–this year marks the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the modern civil rights movement.
I offer two different pieces this month, the first a memorial tribute to my old and dear friend Phyllis Weston, a phenomena in her own right, whose recent passing does indeed represent the end of an era here. Second, I offer my annual list of the year’s best books; usually I only include fiction, but since 2015’s offerings in fiction were relatively weak, I’ve included two works of nonfiction on the list as well.
We’d also like to share with our readers and supporters that Aeqai has just received a new grant from The Haile Foundation, which will assist us in numerous ways; we’d also like to thank those who came to our benefit party on Nov. l0 at The Weston Gallery downtown and those artists who so generously donated their work to help Aeqai keep going financially. The benefit was really a great success.
We’ll be back towards the latter part of January, and, as always, we welcome your comments and ideas. Happy New Year to all of you.