Local artist-run exhibition spaces are the lifeblood of any city’s artist community. They provide opportunities for artists to not only show off their talents, but to learn curatorial and installation skills. They also provide an opportunity to help shape the conversation about the importance of the arts in the area.

The Artists of Rubber City was founded in 1978 and runs The Box Gallery, located on the top floor of the Summit Artspace, and their 29th annual Juried Exhibition is now on view.

It was juried by Arnold Tunstall, director of the Myers School of Art galleries and an assistant lecturer of arts administration at the University of Akron. He chose 58 artworks by 50 artists for the show out of 175 submissions. First-, second- and third-place awards and five honorable mentions were given out, with several different types of media from painting and drawing to ceramics and mixed media represented.

The third-place winner was "The Climb (Eclipse)" an etching on handmade paper by Bridget O’Donnell. It is a small, minimal, yet detailed work that features what looks like the path of a fence going up a hillside. Along with the fence pattern is a snake texture as well as a simple line-trail that goes back and forth through the composition.

It’s not explained what every element is, and that's not really so important. What is important is that the work has an understated beauty that starts with the handmade paper and is enhanced by the quality of the artist's mark. It’s the type of piece that invites meditation.

Second place was awarded to Robert Carpenter for his mixed media sculptural assemblage "Zippity Doo Da." The piece consists of a tabletop globe with the arms and legs of a clown doll sticking out of the sides. On the top or north end, various different elements protrude, either found or created. It has a dramatic and somewhat humorous look that engages you and prompts you to wander around it.

First place went to Misty Morrison for her oil painting "January, 2016: A plate from his mother, a bowl from my grandmother and a bowl from her mother." The work is a representational image of three ceramic pieces, two of which are stacked on top of one another with one that stands alone. It's done from the viewpoint of looking down at the bowls and plate from above, the table and/or placemat slightly askew from the shape of the canvas.

This is a handsome work that tells a story through its chosen pieces. The ceramic plate and bowls feature special details that relate personality and style, and make reference to their more utilitarian purpose, with remarkable meaning.

One of the honorable mentions that stands out is "Corabelle Lee," a mixed media work by Alex Strader. Strader has a unique illustrative style that comes through in all his work. Bold colors, hard edges and unique shapes that make up the faces create the personality of the character he is representing and also highlight his special talents.

Strader is one of the many area artists who makes it worth taking the time to see this show. Here is a talent from Northeast Ohio who has developed and grown here, and has the ability to step out to a broader stage.

The Box Gallery mostly features curated or solo exhibits, only occasionally reaching out to the community through this type of juried exhibit. Having places to display the current work of area artists helps to maintain vision and purpose in the area arts scene. If you’re looking for a way to engage with that scene, this show would be an excellent place to begin.

 

Contact Anderson Turner at haturner3@gmail.com.