The March issue of aeqai should inform all our readers and members of the arts communities here how to get a good handle on the directions into which aeqai is moving.  We hope that you like the mix of articles that will become more regular and familiar as we meet visual artists and writers in other cities within our own region, and others, too, nationally and internationally. We shall eventually have aeqai broken into more manageable sections, so that, for example, all the “Letters From….” will go into one section, and you can go directly to those (or other sections of interest to you) with greater ease than reading down the entire list of columns.

I have been attempting, to date, to showcase excellence in writing in our “top five” articles, and each of those gets a “flashing image” behind it.  But it is becoming more abitrary to select these, as so many of our reviews or essays et. al. are worthy of being at the top. I try to feature some pieces from our own area, occasionally one or two from around the region, and mix small galleries with large museums, but five articles are just five articles.  All these issues will be readdressed when we are able to bring the site up to speed and let it reflect what aeqai is becoming more handily.

We are pleased to introduce our readers to Lexington writer/photographer Louis Zoeller Bickett, who is represented with three different pieces this month:  his brilliantly reasoned article on Telephone Camera Art is in our top five: Bickett’s a great critic, often has a deadpan approach, and tends towards the kind of cultural criticism aeqai believes to form the backdrop for all art criticism.  We are also posting three series of Bickett’s conceptual photographs, and will continue to post more in upcoming months.  When I learned that he is a YADDO alumnus, I commissioned him to write us an essay on what his residency at YADDO was like, which he has done admirably and movingly.

Rick Bennett, who teaches art and art history at Hanover College in Indiana, also joins aeqai this month with a truly brilliant review of a most sophisticated figurative painting show at The Green Gallery in Louisville: aeqai will be reporting and reviewing shows in Lexington and Louisville increasingly (our own Marlene Steele has frequently reviewed shows in Lexington, as has Sheldon Tapley).  And Tony Dallas, from Yellow Springs, Ohio and Antioch College, joins us this month, as well, with a profile of theatre costume designer Reba Senke, whose work Dallas much admires from recent productions in which her work is forefronted at ETC.  We are going to look at the visual arts from all sorts of perspectives and directions in aeqai’s future.

Our large museums are well represented this month:  Jonathan Kamholtz reviews a three-part show recently opened at the Dayton Art Institute, brilliantly and creatively curated by Associate Director Jane Black, whose work inspired him and whose curatorial ideas are models of excellence and creativity for all of us. The show is “about” the great flood of 1913, interpreted in paintings and photographs.  Guest writer and UC/DAAP art professor Denise Burge offers us a subtly argued and erudite intepretation of the James Welling monograph at The Art Museum, and puts the work into complex but clear contemporary contexts which much new photography calls for.  And Christopher Hoeting, who has become a regular aeqai writer, takes a different look at The David Driskell Collection at The Taft Museum of Art; Hoeting was studying art at The University of Maryland when Driskell was actively collecting, and gives us both a personal and professional look at the work, while explaining some of the history of art made by African-American artists as the field of contemporary art became more inclusive.

Cultural critic and wordsmith Regan Brown returns with his always brilliant mind; this time he analyzes The Art of Food exhibition at The Carnegie, and gives us thoughts about the role of food in our culture:  Brown is a very model of a cultural as well as an art critic. His long ledes are delightfully insightful and often witty.  And area gallerist Marta Hewett is joining aeqai as a writer/critic, too; she will most likely cover shows in Columbus, and some in this area and in Louisville.  Hewett is widely considered to be one of the leading experts in the field of contemporary art glass; it turns out that she is a superb writer/critic as well, and aeqai looks forward to other insightful writings from her.

Strong reviews come from Shawn Daniell, whose insights into curator Page Wideman’s show at AEC in Covington are stunning, while new AEC Director Cate Yelling writes an equally penetrating analysis of a show celebrating Women’s History Month in America at The Harvest Gallery in O-T-R, curated by Alissa Sammarco Maggenheim , a Cincinnati lawyer whose love of the visual arts is popping up everywhere: we welcome Maggenheim to this field and are grateful for her efforts in this exhibition of landscape paintings (mainly) by area women artists.

The indomitable Karen Chambers reviews and ponders the show at the gallery at
The College of Mt. St. Joseph, where the work of teams of artists who live and work together is displayed; the show  asks us to consider whether these personal relationships affect the work of both artists: it’s an interesting concept and fascinating to see how the work is, indeed , affected, both consciously and under the surface.  Dustin Pike completes his series , G.O.D., on the origins of design itself and how it relates to artwork; he has examined all the numbers from one to zero, each one getting more complex, more mystical, and more of an ordering principle of the universe: zero, of course, is the most complex of all:  we thank Pike for this stunning series, which has come from his own imaginative powers, and are eager to see how he will apply these theories to the design field which he will cover for aeqai.

We are pleased to have four separate letters from aeqai writers about art exhibitions in four different parts of the country. Our Chicago correspondent, Cynthia Kukla, offers us the first of a two-part series about the big Picasso show there; I didn’t know how early Chicagoans were collecting Picasso’s work. Fran Watson was in Phoenix, and gives us a sense of the arts there (of course she got a lot of rain, so her letter is also very funny, as Fran can be). Amanda Adams, who now lives in Richmond, Virginia, gives us a sharp and intelligent review of a Chinese dissident artist: Adams will continue to write for aeqai regularly, and we are excited and grateful; she is working at The Virginia Museum and had just begun to write for us when opportunity knocked and she went off to Virginia.

Marlene Steele, a very fine painter herself, writes very astutely about a show of miniature representational paintings at Manifest Gallery, while Jane Durrell offers a profile/interview of Manifest’s first artist-in-residence, Ty Wilkinson, who is a former student of Sheldon Tapley’s from Centre College.  Maxwell Redder’s review of the duct tape show at the UC Meyers Gallery is astute and funny; he also offers us three new poems of his for our “Maxwell’s Poetry Corner”.  Jim Cummins also continues the hijinks of Hick and Willie, two of our favorite artworld dweebs.  And Kevin Ott looks fondly and decisively at Gordon  Baer’s photographs at The Kennedy Heights Arts Center, while Laura Hobson gives us an insightful profile of the director there, Ellen Muse-Lindeman, again amazing us with what the creativity and drive of one woman can help to achieve.

Saad Ghosn’s monthly pairing of artist and poet whose works help the community work towards peace and justice are, again, worthy and inspiring; Saad selects both artist and writer for aeqai. Kathy Valin just made it to Third Party Gallery to see a performance based upon old record album covers, and we are pleased to be reminded that senses of humor are still with us in the arts.

So this March issue is rather a long and diverse one, and we hope that parts of it resonate well with aeqai readers: let us know what interests you , and what may not, as we are beginning another growth phase.  And on Thursday, May 16, The Carnegie will be hosting a benefit party for us; we’ll post it monthly till the event comes, as we hope to meet a lot of you that night (I think that the ticket price is $25 per person) and renew old friendships.

Daniel Brown
Editor, AEQAI

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