Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Cleveland Institute of Art presents Women to Watch – Ohio in Partnership with Ohio Advisory Group of the National Museum of Women in the Arts


Show highlights five nominees for biennial exhibition at the Women’s Museum in Washington, DC

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Cleveland Institute of Art, in partnership with the Ohio Advisory Group of
the National Museum of Women in the Arts, presents Women to Watch – Ohio, an exhibition
featuring five accomplished Ohio women artists who are pushing the boundaries of
contemporary art in ceramics, tapestry, painting and drawing, photography, installation,
printmaking, and mixed media.

The featured artists are CIA graduates Christi Birchfield (Class of 2006) and Lauren Yeager
(Class of 2009); and Hildur Ásgeirsdóttir Jónsson, Mimi Kato, and Eva Kwong.
According to the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA), 51% of visual artists today
are women, yet only 5% of work on display in US museums is by women, and work by women
makes up only 5% of major permanent collections in the US and Europe. And according to a
research paper, “The Gender Gap in Art Museum Directorships,” published by the Association
of Art Museum Directors, women hold just 24% of art museum director positions at museums
with budgets over $15 million and earn 71¢ for every dollar earned by male directors.
Women to Watch – Ohio shines a light on these disparities, while showcasing five artists who
come from across the country and around the world but now call Northeast Ohio home.

The exhibition was initiated by Barbara Richter and Harriet Warm who are founders and cochairs
of the Ohio Advisory Group (OAG) of NMWA. This group of influential Ohio women
convened to advance the museum’s mission by promoting Ohio women artists and creating
exhibition opportunities both locally and at the Women’s Museum in Washington, DC.
On behalf of the OAG, Richter and Warm tapped curators Reto Thüring, of the Cleveland
Museum of Art, and Rose Bouthillier, of the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, to identify
deserving, underrepresented artists according to criteria presented by NMWA. Bruce
Checefsky, Director of CIA’s Reinberger Galleries, selected the works for Women to Watch-
Ohio and curated the exhibition with the assistance of Jen Rokoski, a graduate level intern who
was recruited by the OAG from the Art History and Museum Studies program at Case Western
Reserve University.

“We’re thrilled about the collaborative nature of this exhibition,” said Richter. “It is wonderful to
see so many prominent arts institutions in Cleveland working together to showcase Women to
Watch – Ohio.” Warm added, “The association with NMWA and the international Women to
Watch exhibition in Washington, DC brings additional visibility and prestige to the project.”
All five artists in Women to Watch – Ohio were nominees for Organic Matters – Women to
Watch 2015, which opens on June 5, 2015 at NMWA in Washington D.C. Curators from the
museum chose Kato to participate in that international show, which recurs on a biennial basis.
It is the first time that an Ohio-based artist will be represented. Kato, who works in
photomontage, is a 2013 recipient of a Creative Workforce Fellowship from the Community
Partnership for Arts and Culture.

Women to Watch – Ohio is the last major exhibition scheduled for the Reinberger Galleries in
CIA’s George Gund Building on East Boulevard. The college is vacating that building as it
unifies its campus on Euclid Avenue with the recent completion of a new George Gund
Building adjoined to its historic Joseph McCullough Center for the Visual Arts. The East
Boulevard building is being sold to Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland
Museum of Art.

“We’re organizing this exhibition because women have been under recognized in exhibitions in
this region and nationally, and this is an important effort to show the significance of their
contributions,” Reinberger Galleries Director Checefsky said. “These particular women artists
represent the very best artists in the region and have reputations that extend nationally and
globally.”

CIA President Grafton Nunes echoed that sentiment. “Cleveland Institute of Art was founded in
1882 as the Western Reserve School of Design for Women and has educated generations of
accomplished women artists since then,” he said. “It is particularly fitting that CIA is cosponsoring
this exhibition, which showcases five women artists, highlights the hurdles that
women artists face, and precedes a significant international exhibition at the National Museum
of Women in the Arts in Washington."

Public Events

Women to Watch – Ohio opens to the public with a reception in CIA’s Reinberger Galleries on
Thursday, April 2, from 6-8 pm. As part of CIA's Lunch On Fridays series, the featured artists
will participate in a public panel discussion on women in the arts on Friday, April 10, 2015, at
12:15pm in Aitken Auditorium in the Gund Building. Rokoski will moderate the forum.

The Artists

According to Rokoski, the curatorial intern, Kato’s creates performative photomontages, which
feature her image embedded into traditional yet modernized Japanese landscapes. Yeager’s
mixed media installations of everyday objects (like pencils and construction cones) function as
urban taxonomy, organizing seemingly banal objects and systems into something more
interesting and often absurd. Birchfield’s printmaking looks to both the natural and mechanical
world in efforts to create her own nature morte that is anything but lifeless. Inspired by both
macrocosmic and microcosmic environments, Kwong’s ceramic sculptures are direct
manifestations of the natural world. Jónsson’s textile-formed paintings recall the landscape of
her native Iceland.

NMWA and the Ohio Advisory Group

The National Museum of Women in the Arts, based in Washington, DC, is the only museum
dedicated to celebrating women artists through exhibitions, acquisitions, educational initiatives
and archival research. (Read more at nmwa.org.) The Ohio Advisory Group of NMWA provides
leadership, guidance, and resources in support of the museum's mission and works to elevate
the profile of accomplished women artists from Ohio. The founding members of the Ohio
Advisory Group are distinguished women leaders in Ohio who share a passion for art and/or
advocacy for women. In addition to founders and co-chairs Richter and Warm, members
include Victoria Bell, Diane DeGrazia, Marilena Disilvio, Diane Downing, Helen Forbes Fields,
Susan Goldberg, Sally Gries, Shannon Lundeen, Ellen Stirn Mavec, Sharon Milligan, Kristin
Morris, Sandra Pianalto, Barbara Robinson, Catherine Scallen, and Eliza Wing.
Women to Watch - Ohio is the final installment in CIA’s year-long series, Community Works:
Artist as Social Agent. The series focused on socially engaged art.
Sponsorship for Women to Watch - Ohio was provided by Huntington Bank and media partner,
ideastream, which includes WVIZ/PBS, 90.3 WCPN, and WCLV 104.9. Additional funding was
provided by the Ruby Shoes Fund of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland.

About CIA

Founded in 1882, Cleveland Institute of Art is an accredited, independent college of art and design
offering 15 majors in studio art, digital art, craft disciplines, and design. CIA extends its programming to
the public through gallery exhibitions; lectures; a robust continuing education program; and the
Cinematheque, a year-round art and independent film program. CIA’s public programming is supported
in part by the residents of Cuyahoga County through a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture. For
more information visit www.cia.edu.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Interview with 2015 EVAs Finalist Justine Neuberger

Justine Neuberger, Oberlin College
Justine Neuberger, one of six finalists in the 2015 AICUO Excellence in the Visual Art Awards competition, recently participated in a brief interview. Be sure to check out her portfolio at http://www.aicuoartaward.com/aicuoEVAs15/portfolio.aspx?pID=109!

How have you grown as an artist since coming to college?

I have been able to think about contemporary art making in the context of art history. I have also been exposed to many new ideas, which have challenged me and made me think closely about why and how I paint. 

What type of art do you look to for inspiration?

Byzantine murals, Duccio, Grünewald, Caravaggio, El Greco,
Rubens, Jan Steen, Frans Haals, Chardin, ​
 Velasquez, Goya, Manet,  
​Picasso's paintings of Pierrot and Harlequin, Watteau, Courbet, ​
 
"Selbstbildnis mit Rasierschaum 
​" by Rudolph Wacker, G
ino S
everini
​ 
​'s paintings of clowns, ​Brian de Palma, Harmony Korine, Herschell Gordon Lewis, Howard Stern, 
Audrey Flack, Burger King, Lie Detector Test Television 
​, Footage of block parties on public access tv, Books. ​
     


What is your favorite piece within the portfolio you submitted to AICUO and why?

My favorite piece in the portfolio I submitted is Thanksgiving Bliss. I made it around Thanksgiving when I was away from my family, so it had a nostalgic feel. I also loved painting all glistens on the meat. 

How has participating in this competition helped you develop as a professional artist?

This competition has helped me realize some of my ideas as I wrote about each piece and how they related to a main theme and to each other.  

What are your plans after graduation with the arts?

After I graduate I would like to get a dog and work on a collaborative project in which I dip the dog's paws into neon paint and have her walk along the surface of my canvas. Then I would like to contribute to these initial marks with my own.
​ 
Just joking (I think I saw Riff Raff suggest something similar on GGN)! I just hope to be in a place where I can keep painting and showing work.  ​

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Interview with 2015 EVAs Finalist Lauryn King

Lauryn King, Xavier University
Lauryn King, one of six finalists in the 2015 AICUO Excellence in the Visual Art Awards competition, recently participated in a brief interview. Be sure to check out her portfolio at http://www.aicuoartaward.com/aicuoEVAs15/portfolio.aspx?pID=124!

How have you grown as an artist since coming to college? 

My skill level and concepts have both improved tremendously since attending college.  I have learned many different techniques, such as a Media-Ramic life casting process I utilize most in my work, pursuing art in college has made me realize that my work does not have to be limited to only a few mediums.  Coming to college for art has forced me to create work on what I know best. This has forced me to find ways to deal with past traumas and living a life plagued with mental illness.  This has forced my art to become an outlet for pain, both my own and others.  I primarily make this art for the connection others see in it. College has given me the space and motivation to find my own voice within my art.

What type of art do you look to for inspiration?

I draw inspiration from both sculpture and 2D works.   In sculpture, I gravitate towards a hyper-realistic style of work done by artist such as Tipp Toland, Ron Mueck and Sam Jinks . The movement in Beth Cavener Stichter’s animalistic forms and Matt R. Martin’s figurative forms also inspires me. 

What is your favorite piece within the portfolio you submitted to AICUO and why?

My favorite piece is titled Empty for several reasons.  I love the way the negative and positive space leads the viewer’s eye throughout the entire piece.  Conceptually the piece is talking about trying to hold oneself together.  Almost everyone has experienced some sort of hardship or pain in their lives, which has made them feel as if they were falling apart. The sweatshirt is the comforting tool,  which keeps the piece (person) together. 

How has participating in this competition helped you develop as a professional artist?

This competition has helped me put together a professional portfolio.  Through my participation, I learned how to photograph my work and to edit the images to meet the criteria.  This competition has also compelled me to put the emotions and thoughts behind my pieces into words. 

What are your plans after graduation with the arts?

I intend to experience many different residencies and assistant-ships.  I will relocate in order to immerse myself into different artistic communities, so I can learn new and different techniques that I will be able to incorporate into my own work.  I plan on creating art and learning new processes as much as I am physically capable of doing.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Interview with 2015 EVAs Finalist Catherine Stanley

Catherine Stanley, Cleveland Institute of Art
Catherine Stanley, one of six finalists in the 2015 AICUO Excellence in the Visual Art Awards competition, recently participated in a brief interview. Be sure to check out her portfolio at http://www.aicuoartaward.com/aicuoEVAs15/portfolio.aspx?pID=130!

How have you grown as an artist since coming to college?
Before I came to college I was not sure what I wanted to do as an artist and was unsure how I could find a job that used my skills. When I found out about scientific illustration at my college I was so intrigued by it because it combined my love for science and art. Being in college has helped me find a focus with my art and has helped me to find lots of different ways to use my skills as an artist. 
What type of art do you look to for inspiration?
I read a lot of research papers and non-fiction text when I am working on my projects and within those texts there are sometimes beautiful illustrations of complex topics which I find really inspiring. I also have found it inspiring to look at old botanical, medical, and scientific illustrations that were created in traditional mediums. Another source of inspiration for me is microscope and macro photographs of nature, I love being able to see things in a different way. 

What is your favorite piece within the portfolio you submitted to AICUO and why?
My favorite piece in my portfolio would have to be my illustration of a surgical procedure for a patient with Chron’s disease that I created after having the opportunity to observe the surgery being performed. It’s hard to describe how beautiful and amazing it is to see the anatomy of a living person and to know that the procedure being performed is going to greatly improve that person’s life. I have friends and family who suffer from Chron’s disease so it also meant a lot to me to see the actual effects of the disease and how it could be treated. I loved figuring out how to accurately illustrate the procedure and being able to share this knowledge. The whole experience just really spoke to what I want to accomplish as an artist, helping others through my work.  

How has participating in this competition helped you develop as a professional artist?
Participating in this competition has helped me to put together a really great portfolio that I know will be extremely useful as a professional artist. The competition has also helped me to gain recognition as an artist and that opens up a lot of opportunities. 

What are your plans after graduation with the arts?
After graduating I would like to find work in a scientific related institution or corporation where I can use my skills best. It would be amazing to be working specifically at a hospital or museum but I am really open to going anywhere as long as I can continue to help others with my work. In the future I would love to become a certified medical illustration and to further my education in the sciences with a master’s degree. 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Interview with 2015 Finalist Lauren Hector

Lauren Hector, Ohio Northern University
Lauren Hector, one of six finalists in the 2015 AICUO Excellence in the Visual Art Awards competition, recently participated in a brief interview. Be sure to check out her portfolio at http://www.aicuoartaward.com/aicuoEVAs15/portfolio.aspx?pID=117!

How have you grown as an artist since coming to college?

Since coming to college, I have grown as an artist in that I am generally more confident in my work and my abilities. Throughout high school, and my underclassman years honestly, I never thought my work was good enough or would ever amount to much. It wasn’t until my junior year in college that I really started gaining confidence and believing in my abilities. I think this is in direct relationship to how much I knew. When I was just starting out in my design career, I didn’t know very much about the software or design rules or anything like that. Over the years I have gained more knowledge and experience. I feel like because of that, I have grown in confidence as well. People really aren’t kidding when they say knowledge is power. Learning and growing is one of the most empowering things you can do for yourself.

What type of art do you look to for inspiration?

This is an easy question… Everything! In my opinion, any type of art is fair game for inspiration. Learning how to steal like an artist is vital in this field. I pull inspiration from anywhere and everywhere. Even the art I don’t necessarily like inspires me. It shapes my own personal voice. It is a very important skill to be able to look at a piece of art and decipher what exactly it is you like or dislike about it. Being able to differentiate those characteristics will impact your own style in some way or another. Either by absorbing it and putting your own filter on it, or by rejecting it and avoiding it, you are shaping and inspiring your own unique style.

What is your favorite piece within the portfolio you submitted to AICUO and why?

My Urban Forest Project is my favorite piece in my AICUO portfolio. I enjoyed this project because the subject matter really resonated with me. I love being outdoors and exploring, so preserving the environment is something that is really important to me. The whole premise of the project captivated me from the beginning. I am also really pleased with how my project came out in the end. Being a bit of a grammar nerd and a pun-loving type of person, I had a lot of fun coming up with the body copy for the banners. Overall, I just really got into this project and had a good time creating the design work for it. It’s one of my favorite projects of all time.

How has participating in this competition helped you develop as a professional artist?

Participating in the AICUO competition has helped me develop as a professional artist by helping me get my portfolio fine-tuned. I have been working on my portfolio since my freshman year of college, and the AICUO competition was a great incentive to solidify the pieces included in it, as well as develop written copy for each project. A portfolio, of course, is never finished. But the AICUO competition has helped me create one that is cohesive and intuitive, and therefore allows me to keep its theme in mind while working on new projects. It has, in a way, helped me find a professional voice and tone for my work.

What are your plans after graduation with the arts?


­

My plans post-graduation include securing a job in the graphic design field, preferably somewhere in the Columbus area. In my free time, I plan to continue working on my fine art skills, including printmaking, book arts, hand lettering, and watercolor. I have no plans set in stone yet, but I am ready for wherever life takes me.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Interview with 2015 EVAs Finalist Sarah Lejeune

Sarah Rose Lejeune, Oberlin College

Sarah Rose Lejeune, one of six finalists in the 2015 AICUO Excellence in the Visual Art Awards competition, recently participated in a brief interview. Be sure to check out her portfolio at www.aicuoartaward.com/aicuoEVAs15/portfolio.aspx?pID=110


How have you grown as an artist since coming to college?

In the past four years I have immersed myself in papermaking, sculpture, book, and print forms. On campus I have taken on multiple positions in order to hone my technical skills and education, and I feel more convinced than ever of the many different ways to pursue an education. I currently work as the teaching assistant for the bookmaking course, book repair technician in Special Collections, reproducible media print shop monitor, personal studio research assistant, and letterpress studio assistant. I have become increasingly interested in paper forms, and feel like my work progressively pushes at the edges of two dimensionality through my interests in paper installation and book forms. I have always been a hard and intricate worker, yet have become even more so over the years, finding inspiration in the repetitive, the quasi ritualistic. Since coming to college I think everything has just grown "more" than before-- more work, more obsession, more detail, more thought, more research, more techniques, more experience. 

What type of art do you look to for inspiration?

I really love paper, and feel deeply inspired by artists that work with a deep attention to the properties and subtleties of paper as a material, not simply a surface. I enjoy work that is intricate, labor intensive and processes oriented, work that leaves me with questions and a desire to look closer and struggle to understand them. A few of my favorite artists include Zarina, Toba Khedoori, and Agnes Martin. 


What is your favorite piece within the portfolio you submitted to AICUO and why?

My favorite piece from the portfolio I submitted to AICUO is probably the Sappho "Fragment 146: Neither for me honey nor the honey bee." I say this because I see all of my work as informing and flowing into the next project, next inquiry. This piece represents to me the work, thought, and research that proceeded it, and I feel really excited about where it led me. Making this piece helped me think about grids, organization, destruction, and the capacities of paper in essential new ways, and I am still riding out the trains of thought it sparked.

How has participating in this competition helped you develop as a professional artist?

Definitely. Participating in the AICUO EVAs encouraged me to document my work more seriously. It has also been a great opportunity to learn how to build a portfolio, and these skills have already been incredibly relevant while applying to programs, internships and jobs. 

What are your plans after graduation with the arts?

I am currently applying for internships and other work experience in art spaces, particularly looking into opportunities to learn more about hand papermaking and printmaking. I plan to dedicate the coming years to learning experientially from art makers from all different walks of life before continuing my academic education with a MFA program in book arts, papermaking, and printmaking. I am really interested in community arts organizations and in arts education, and hope to teach art while maintaining my own personal studio practice.