Cincinnati artist Brian Joiner had a powerful body of work behind him and an ambitious career ahead of him when he passed away this October. Among his many honors, Cincinnati Magazine named him “Best Portrait Artist” in 1999 and in 2009 he was awarded the Duncanson Artist-in-Residence at the Taft. Cancer put his plans on hold but it did not derail them. That's why even after his death, he has a group exhibit opening this Friday at Prairie Gallery.
For those viewers willing to go along for the ride, the two intermixed exhibitions now at Thunder-Sky Inc. are post-psychedelic trips into alternative ways of processing thought. The innovative Northside gallery has shows featuring artists interested in outsider or folk art, Bruce Burris and Aaron Oliver Wood.
'Bestiary' sweeps through all three rooms of Manifest Gallery in a lively embodiment of the kind of show the East Walnut Hills gallery has to a degree pioneered and does well. An idea (in this case "animals") is thrown out worldwide thanks to the Internet, and a stringent jury/curatorial process sifts the keepers from what is usually a heady number of submissions.
Jessica Dessner, a Brooklyn artist with a familiar last name in these parts, has a show of new drawings on display at Country Club gallery in Oakley. She has a varied arts background herself. She only recently took up drawing, after being commissioned by musician friend Sufjan Stevens. At Country Club, her show 'Before You Know' features 10 colored-pencil drawings.
With the opening last week of its newest exhibition, 'Rosson Crow: Myth of the American Motorcycle,' the Contemporary Art Center is drawing regional attention to another rising star who produces art-history savvy works with heavy doses of A-list glamour and the red-and-black color schemes of revolutions and rebels. Crow's series of brand-new paintings is paired with a set of actual bikes, each with personalized and highly detailed custom-paint jobs.
Never before have I seen such a menagerie in an art gallery. An iridescent blue peacock, its feathers spreading at least 8 feet, stands in full glory near the entrance to Prairie gallery in Northside. Artists have long looked to nature for inspiration, but with his exhibition Meddling with Nature, Jeremy Johnson takes this tradition to another level. He observes, preserves and presents animals that once flew, ran and roamed about our natural environment.
Ann Hamilton's current exhibition at Carl Solway Gallery, titled 'reading,' uses prints, sculptural objects and video to represent reading as a creative rather than a passive act. This exhibition is not one of the multimedia installations for which Hamilton is internationally famous but nonetheless features some of the artist's recurring themes.
Jarrett Hawkins' soaring sculptures almost stride through the street-level space at the Weston Art Gallery. His show includes works that exude strength and others that seem tethered rather than standing on their bases, as though they might rise on their own if not held back.
Brian Joiner, an esteemed local artist, passed away Oct. 8 after being diagnosed with liver cancer several months ago. He always tried something new in his work and as an African-American artist often addressed tough issues regarding race, politics and spirituality with irony and humor. For his ever-joyful presence, boundless energy and seemingly unlimited generosity, he will be missed by all whose lives he touched.
When Shinji Turner-Yamamoto arrived in Cincinnati, he discovered the ideal place for his current installation, 'Hanging Garden': Holy Cross Church, which had been deconsecrated in the 1970s but still stands at the top of Mount Adams. "I saw a young, living tree floating in the middle of the chapel," says the Japanese-born artist, and two years later he's realized his vision via a mind-boggling technical feat.
In the Cincinnati Art Museum's new exhibition Thomas Gainsborough and the Modern Woman, I learned a new word. “Demireps” were women with less-than-respectable reputations. They were actresses, singers, dancers, courtesans and mistresses who rejected the accepted notions of femininity, made their own money, gambled, left their husbands and — gasp — wore French fashions.
'Where Do We Go From Here? Selections from La Colección Jumex' is the kind of wonderful group show that the Zaha Hadid-designed Contemporary Arts Center was built to exhibit. It helps tremendously, of course, that the downtown museum's director/chief curator, Raphaela Platow, knows the strengths of her building so well.
The unexpected happens in Cincinnati when the Fine Arts Fund gets involved. Belly dancers shake in the Carew Tower arcade. Bus passengers break out into spontaneous storytelling. A giant flash-mob dances in the rain on Fountain Square. The FAF has been wowing us with these art happenings for the past few years, and now it's doing it again, organizing Sunday's street mural painting in Over-the-Rhine.
Somehow, a sensational thing happens when hiking around the city on a historic walking tour: The modern world is always present but seemingly overlaid with a transparency from the past, the ghosts looking back at us while we search for them. At least that's been my experience when good storytelling is involved, as it is in the new Cincinnati Civil War Tour, happening Saturdays through Sept. 25.
J.P. Ball photograph exhibition tucked away in the Ruthven Gallery at the Cincinnati Museum Center isn't grabbing space on the huge banners in the center's rotunda. But the wonderful exhibition is very ambitious and warrants more attention. On display through Oct. 24.