Walking into Brazee studios Friday night the last thing I expected was to find inspiration outside of the art world, but that’s exactly what was waiting for me.

As soon as I walked into the room I headed to the back installation space and was taken by Sophia Shiff’s drawing “Cordelia”. Her style may look familiar to some who have attended a Drink and Draw at the CAC hosted by Lindsay Nehls. Both of these women use a style that is loose, abstract, funky and disorienting. The way the shapes, lines, faces and tentacles rippled over and throughout the page is reminiscent of Kandinsky’s rhythms in motion.

After walking back into the main exhibition space I was again drawn to a Sophia Shiff piece; this time it was her multiple moleskins stuck to the wall and free for flipping. Writing notes in my moleskin made it feel like a more interactive piece; however, I also know the secret thoughts written in my moleskin and for Sophia to share her own thoughts was truly a selfless and artistically vulnerable thing to do. Confronted with her pages and pages of drawings, one sentence poems, and contemplative madness I began to respect this unknown teenage girl who is soon to be released into the world outside of Walnut Hills High School.

Walking down the wall I saw Jordan Avant’s works that left a strong ‘norm core’ impression. They seemed like a mixture of Keith Haring with Chagall stained glass, and 2001 Word Clip Art. Strangely his work challenged me, although clip art was in fact a period in graphic design and in the future will be treated as such. I doubt we are suddenly going to see oil paintings of personified staples or poetry in wingdings, but I imagine we will be seeing these simplified styles creeping their way into newer works as the years go by.

The best title of the night went to Johanna Engebrecht and Sophia Shiff with the title “What’s up with amphibians?”– something I wonder quite frequently. The ceramic piece that went with this title was wonderful throughout and showed curious and whimsical treats and turtles. Johanna has multiple thoughtful ceramics pieces throughout and showed the potential for becoming a true craftswoman.

All of this work came from a small group of students who are focused on making art their profession. They approached the studio and asked for the chance to show their work. It was this initiative that captured my imagination and put me back in the frame of mind- being young, vivacious, and driven to the Cincinnati art scene.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *