Developing a distinctive style takes time for an artist.

When you have the opportunity to see an artist begin to develop into something more distinct and ultimately more interesting, it can be an exciting moment of realization.

“New York & San Juan: Paintings by Lizzi Aronhalt” on view at the Box Gallery through Aug. 31, is an Akron exhibit that features a young painter who is beginning to find her voice.

As a community, this is why spaces like the Box Gallery are so important. In this type of artists-run gallery space, we find a venue for artists to explore and to display the work they are doing.

There are not enough spaces like this in Akron. If you are a fan of developing community, business and all the things the arts play such vital roles in, it is important to support exhibition spaces like the Box Gallery that foster meaningful thought and creativity.

Aronhalt has a unique mark. She clearly has had skill and talent from a young age, and if you’ve spent the last several years looking at local art, you would quickly recognize Aronhalt’s work from several different shows that have gone on throughout the region. In this exhibit at the Box Gallery, we have the opportunity to see a large grouping of Aronhalt’s work together. What you find as you walk into the space is a room full of movement, energy and a bright contrast in color and line.

“Painting for me is a method to better understand the ordinary aspects of life and to celebrate them,” Aronhalt said.

The works in this exhibit explore different parts of two cities in which she has spent time. Aronhalt does not paint the tourist spots; rather she paints scenes and vistas of places in these cities that are part of a person's every day and that might not be appreciated for their beauty at first, but are nonetheless worthy of our attention. Aronhalt seeks to depict these locations with a “fresh view” and her developing style certainly helps her to succeed.

“View from Morningside” is a large two-panel painting that exemplifies Aronhalt’s expressive style. Made with acrylic paint, paint marker and charcoal on canvas, this painting portrays city rooftops in what looks like an area that includes brownstones, churches and commercial buildings all mixed together. Aronhalt has made decisions to highlight or even amplify certain colors and visual elements through a variety of brushstroke sizes and abstracted shapes. The entire picture plain is used, pushed and energized resulting a work that takes your eyes all over and throughout the information being shared.

“The Way to Breakfast” is a strong example of this artist’s voice and her desire to highlight in a new way everyday elements in a cityscape. Depicted here is a city corner with abstracted street lines and a crosswalk. Importantly, the artist has chosen to highlight the electrical lines that fill the sky in this area of this particular city. The electrical lines act as a connector to the different buildings being depicted and also brings beauty to a common element that is too often ignored, but is very much a part of our everyday landscape.

“Viejo San Juan Rooftops” is a wonderful, nearly abstract work that features construction elements, large triangle shapes and strong use of the color pink. This painting has the energy of the other pieces in the show, but begins to venture into a more painterly and abstract direction as it is initially difficult to tell what direction you might be looking at the scene from — up, down, from the side?

It becomes fairly obvious when you stand in front of the work for a short time; however, the blurrier that line becomes, the easier it is to separate yourself from reality and really get into the mind of the artist. That line between what is recognizable or not helps to enhance many of the qualities of the artist’s voice and starts to show the exciting direction Aronholt’s research is beginning to take.

 

Contact Anderson Turner at haturner3@gmail.com.