Join us as Jonah Jacobs displays his creations at the Laboratory this Saturday!

Accompany Ohio Art League and OAL member Jonah Jacobs this Saturday for the opening reception of his exhibition at MadLab Theatre and Gallery! Saturday July 12th 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm 227 North 3rd street Columbus, Ohio. Details are as follows … Continue reading

Interview: Joan Tallan (interviewed by Devin Broadnax)

Q. Is there a separation between your “normal” life and your work? If so, how do you keep it in place?

A: There is a separation in activities  and relationships. Often I don’t have the time I want to make art because other duties demand my time. Luckily for me I have a very supportive husband who understands that I’m not happy if I don’t have work in process.

Q: Should an artist mold their life around art, or art around life?
A. My work is about my life, people and places, my environment, the media I am surrounded with. Without those stimuli I would have nothing to make art about.

Q. While making a piece are you thinking more about your techniques in carving and printing, more than the ideas you are trying to convey?

A: Before I make any piece I do a lot of drawing. It is through the drawing that I formulate the ideas for the work. When I reach the carving stage I think a lot about the formal qualities . Where do I want to put darks, or lights, or pattern. Is there movement through out the piece. So I work for a while and then I put the piece up on my easel and look at it. Is what I am doing, or have done, true to what I want?
Even though I have started the carving I am open too, and look for, opportunities to make the statement of the image stronger. Change is always a possibility, thats what makes it frustrating and fun. Printing is another opportunity to try out ideas for color, mood, and incorporation of chine colle or stencils.

Q: Are there any historical artists that you admire? Have they affected your work?

A. I love Jim Dine, The German Expressionists, Picasso, Anslem Kiefer, Kathe Kollwitz, Anne Coe. I try to follow their examples of invention and political message.

Q. What do you intend for your art to do to/for the viewer?

A. Often my work is political and I want to make the viewer think. I hope that I am not too obvious in my own politics as I would rather make people think than agree. When my work is about places and the people in those places I hope that my portrayal of my visual experiences bring back memories of the viewers own experiences in similar situations.


Interview: Allison Pierce (interviewed by Devin Broadnax)

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Q:When did you become interested in art?  What do you think your art says about you? What do you want it to say? 

A: I have been interested in art for as long as I can remember. I was probably inspired most by my mother who always engaged me and my younger sister in some art project or another. Before we were born she worked as a medical illustrator and then when we were little she taught Saturday classes at Columbus College of Art & Design. We would go with her and help set up the classes. This gave us access to a wide variety of art supplies. I remember collecting all sorts of recyclable materials to use in her class. We painted, used paper maché, made wire sculptures, and worked with clay and charcoal. To this day our house is filled with art projects and we’re still adding to the collection.

I make art to express emotion. The process allows me to focus and engage fully in the present moment. My work reflects how I see and interpret the world around me. With my series, “Unsustainable,” I expose what is often consciously hidden from public view. I am deeply saddened by the ease with which our society consumes and discards waste while ignoring the consequences. This series illustrates my concern for the protection of the environment. Hopefully these photographs will rekindle a motivation in others to take protective action.

Q:You seem to have a strong stance about the environment, is that your greatest inspiration for all your art?

A: Perhaps the natural world is my greatest inspiration and a fundamental inspiration for us all. I strive to document the human condition. I am inspired by the changes I want to see in the world both through social justice and on an environmental level. I suppose this series is my tribute to the environment.

Q:What emotions do you want to convey with your work?

A: Through many of these images I feel a sense of sadness is prevalent. Many of my models display a serious or worried expression as if something has been lost and will never be found again. There is something forlorn in my images. The high contrast in my black and white images adds to this somber quality by dramatically increasing what is ultimately at stake—the well-being of our planet and therefore our future.

Q: Do you feel your work offers something to society? What does it offer?

A: My work offers a moment for reflection. In pausing to view the images, we gain time to reflect individually on the amount of waste we each produce. Hopefully my work will grant society a sense of awareness and accountability, which is the necessary groundwork for any change to be made.

Q: How has your internship helped you to build skills and develop a network in the arts? 

A: The internship I had in Turkey helped me acquire new skills in both digital editing and in the traditional darkroom. I fine tuned my photographic style and developed networking skills as I was introduced to a large photographic community. I received invaluable feedback and support on my work and developed many new friendships.

Interview: Mary Ann Crago (interviewed by Devin Broadnax)

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Q: What do you want your work to say about you as an artist?

A: My hope is that my work shows I am an artist who is fun, true to her heart and true to herself. It is important to trust your intuition and to not take yourself too seriously…don’t forget to have fun.

Q: Does numbers symbolize something for you?

A: Some of the numbers in some of the pieces refer to things or objects within the pieces themselves. For example, the piece Big Sky, Red Lights has the number 18 centered at the top. It represents the 18 dots/holes/lights that are stretched across the line near the bottom of the piece. Other numbers I am drawn to in general (in life) 3,11. With others, I just like their shape and line.

Q: Do you visualize your art before creating it?

A: I do not know what a piece will look like before I start. I may have some simple design ideas but they tend to evolve as I go. That’s where ‘trusting my intuition’ comes into play.

Q: How has your undergrad education impacted your art career? Or do you feel your graduate education has impacted your art career more?

A: I value all the education I have received. I value my art education from CCAD more than many things. I learned so much although it has taken me sometime to realize what those things are. I am lucky to have that knowledge. Things make sense to me now that never did before. Education is great but you also have to go out and experience things, take risks, succeed and fail. Make art and the universe will take care of the rest is my approach.

Q: Do you have any advice to give to prospective students thinking about an education and career in art?

A: My advice is to keep going, keep moving, keep making art. Make it for yourself before you make if for others and it will shine. Figure out what works for you and do it with no apologies. Have fun.

Interview: Paul D. Wilbur (Interview by Devin Broadnax)

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If someone looks at a photograph of mine, and doesn’t have some kind of emotional response, I have failed as an artist. When people walk away from a photograph of mine I wish that they feel that they have felt something from the work. I deal with the emotions of dark and lights, contrasts and shadows. I deal with daily struggles in life and bring my fight with depression, bipolar and fears out in my work. {Like that they} experience {or be} moved by something in it.
I am inspired by what I call “available darkness.” Daily life is difficult for me, always seeing the bleaker side of life. I feel that I live in darkness and I try to show what it is like to experience my world with out overdoing it. I am inspired by common people, places and things. {I’ve} been extremely interested in the relationships of people, in relationships to themselves, the photographer, and the environments in which they find themselves.
I find a location and visualize what I see {there}. I find my subjects, say to myself, I would like that image on my wall, get a feel for how I would like the image to look, and photograph a few images. I feel like a painter, once I continue in post- production, darkening here and lightening there to increase the drama of my work. I believe I know every part of my photograph personally when the work is done. Light and dark, leading lines and circular motion is very important to me. The mood of the work is my guide of post-production.

Interview: Ashley Shellhause & Katie Schutte (interview by Devin Broadnax):

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Q: What does your work say about you as an individual?

A: I think my work says a lot about what I value. I’m very curious about natural systems and how they work at different levels. It is impossible to fully understand the world we live in, and very difficult to determine the best way to live in balance with our natural surroundings, but I believe it is worth the effort. I think natural has value and that it is our responsibility to make sure we don’t overwhelm it. So all the time and effort we put into studying the natural world, how it affects us and how we affect it is well spent.

Q: Where do you find your greatest inspiration for art?

A: My greatest inspiration right now is probably travel. I took a trip to Spain last year and I’m still working through a lot of the imagery and ideas I collected there. Elaborate decoration seems to be more common there than here, so a lot of the tile and plaster work I saw there were perfect examples of synthetic systems.

Q: (The interaction between man-made world and natural world) Is that an interest that can be visibly seen through out all your work?

A: The push and pull between man- made and natural systems is present in nearly all of my work. The drawing Filtration, is one of a few pieces that has only natural systems in it. That piece shows a diatom seen through a spore print. In that way it illustrates the human tendency to look at one system through the lens of one of its parts. You can’t understand an entire system just by understanding all of its components. The system is greater than the sum of its parts. That is the way I think about that piece, so to me it fits with the rest of my work. But visually the man-made is not immediately apparent. So I guess to sum up the interaction between man-made and natural is present in all of my work, but it is not always visible to the same extent. The combination hits you over the head in some pieces, like in Composite II, but other pieces require more thought to find it.

Q: Does your materials relate to your subject/ inspiration at the time?

A: I would say sometimes they are related but not always. The most common way materials and subject come together is when I’m staining canvas. Staining is a very organic process that I don’t have much control over. I can give some loose guidance when I’m putting the paint down, but once it is down the paint is so thin it flows to the lowest point. The only way I can control it is by changing where the lowest point is. That process seems very natural to me. Before staining I sometimes mask out areas using wax. I have a little more control then. Using the wax I can select what will remain after I stain the canvas. It doesn’t change the nature of the paint though. That method reminds me of when man and nature are at their most harmonious, with man guiding without completely changing the landscape.

Q: When did you learn how to crochet? How did you develop a liking for it?

A: I first learned to crochet from a class at Joann’s that I took with my mom and one of my sisters. We were all kind of unimpressed and I didn’t really bother going any further with it at that point. Some months later, in my advanced art class in high school, I realized crochet would be a great way to make some work for one of the assignments. I go a book on crochet and retaught myself the bare bones I needed for the class. Soon after, something clicked and I kept on going with it for other projects and have been crocheting ever since.

Q: Looking back, are there any “pivotal” works that opened a new door for you, made a shift your direction, or was a result of prior evolution?

A: The electroforming and enameled pieces I did as an undergrad at Kent State, such as the Clover Crochet Necklace and Circle Crochet Necklace, were the beginning of everything I’ve done up to this point; the realization of crochet combined with metalsmithing techniques and also the realization that I needed a different way to get color onto my pieces. While I still enamel pieces that incorporated crochet, these pieces launched my interest in and utilization of powder coating. For a lot of my pieces, enamel would either not fire onto my materials or would begin to flake off soon after being removed from the kiln. Issues with flaking is what led to my using powder coating and because of it, I do not have to take into consideration how I have to make a piece in order to accommodate enamel.

Blind leading the Blind, an interview with Melissa Miller and Elizabeth Nihiser

Q. How did you two meet? Did you have similarities in your art at the time?

ELIZABETH: Melissa and I met through art collaboration.  I was shooting the first version of a series called Imitation back in 2000.  I had seen her around the photo lab at OSU and she seemed cool.  So I asked her to put on a wig, my glasses and t-shirt so that I could photograph her while she pretended to be me.  Out of the 25 or so people that I shot for that project, her version of me was the closest to actuality.  Our individual work styles and interests have always been different.  We capitalized on these differences for The Blind Leading the Blind.

Q. Have you worked on collaboration together before?

ELIZABETH: The first version of Blind occurred 10 years ago with Mel providing the navigation while I did the blind photography.  I’d like to think that there will be plenty more collaborations between the two of us in the future.

Q. Can you explain how your work demonstrates communication between two artists?

ELIZABETH: As mentioned previously, Mel and I have very different work styles and interests.  We discussed every aspect of this project from inception to display.  We represented our individuality while also making decisions that helped the greater concept.

Q. Can you tell us a little bit about the process involved in creating this body of work?

MELISSA: The process was divided into two phases — shooting and image assembly. The base images were shot on two consecutive days last December. We each took a turn being blindfolded while being led by the other person. On the first day, I was escorted to several locations within the Hocking Hills region. Then the next day, I led Elizabeth around to Columbus visiting abandoned urban structures.

On each of the trips, the shooter was blindfolded from the time they entered the car until the end of the entire trip. The purpose of the blindfold was for the shooter to experience the scene and make photos using their other senses. We then used only sight to assemble the final images. The intent for the final images was to piece the urban and rural settings together to create a single image that was aesthetically cohesive. We wanted to show that while the content of each of the original images was very different, they could be similar visually.

Q. What was the experience like work blindfolded?

MELISSA: I enjoyed it. I’m normally such a visual person and have to process everything I see. It was nice to just relax and use my other senses. It was interesting because I was also more chatty and open than I normally am, I almost felt a little buzzed in that regard.

Q. Collectively, how does your work convey how humans communicate with their environments? Why do you feel this is important?

ELIZABETH: There are 6.8 billion people living on the planet currently.  While humans have historically been rural-dwelling agrarians, population growth has resulted in an influx of urban societies.  Urbanization combined with advancements in electronic technology has given birth to what anthropologists call the “global village.”  The term is closely associated with Marshall McLuhan who in the early 1960’s theorized that electronic technology would create a central nervous system of information, causing worldwide social, political and economical functions to be unified in an “extension of consciousness.”  Almost fifty years later, we recognize his concept as the Internet, provider of instantaneous communication and, accordingly, a vehicle for expanding worldview.  No longer limited by physical distance and time, the world is now a lot smaller.  With less space and more people, we need to learn how to share better.  The Blind Leading the Blind is both an example and a metaphor of how differences do not need to represent barriers to understanding but instead can provide both creativity and optimism.

Q. What do you intend for this body of work to do? Did you have a specific reaction you hoped audience?

MELISSA: I want this body of work to invite people to sense their environment in a different way.

This article was contributed by the Artists’ Interview,

Darlene Yeager-Torre, Painting With Light

My work has been described as emotional, soulful, spiritual, and painterly. These all accurately describe my art. The images are intended to convey a sense of tranquility or create a story that engages the observer, or, simply, is beautiful. – Darlene Yeager-Torre

SS: Most photographers use light to make their images. Tell us what it means to you to paint with light?

DY: Painting with light is done either outside at night or in darkness inside. The exposure time varies from a few minutes to hours and records everything that transpires during that time. The photographer operates in front of the camera as well as from behind it. Daytime photography is recorded in fractions of seconds and freezes time. The photographer works strictly from behind the camera and uses available light which may be supplemented with fill or strobe lighting.

Think of what I do as a painter beginning with a black canvas. Various types of lights are my paint brushes in assorted sizes and colors. Outside, moonlight and stars casts shadows while the light painter moves through the scene selecting individual objects in the environment to highlight by “painting with light” in order to create a center of interest and move the eye through the composition. In the studio, each object will appear on the black canvas only when it is lit. Again, the artist works in front of the camera and moves from object to object. Unlike the daytime photographer, I pre-visualize the finished painting, then practice lighting each scene and continue working until I have the image I want. And, yes, there are happy accidents and surprises most of the time.

SS: Can you tell us about your process and set up for making your work?

DY: Whether working outside in the field or in my studio, my approach is planned and deliberate. I visualize the final image and decide how to best light it before I even begin recording with the camera. I rehearse, either mentally or actually, in advance. Although the lighting is all done in one take in the camera, that final take may come after many attempts in order to get the best lighting for the composition. The still life set ups are based on sound principles of art and also take a good deal of time selecting the items and arranging them into a pleasing composition.

SS: Can you give us some examples of how you created the imagery in your photography?

DY: When I began doing night photography, I quickly learned that the moon moves its own length every two minutes causing it to appear as an oblong blur during long exposures. So, I photograph the moon first then make a separate exposure for the landscape. The moon can be added back to the scene by using an application such as Lightroom or Photoshop. This is the one exception to getting a photo all in one take. Otherwise, I use an exposure of 30 seconds or less for star points instead of star trails, and do the light painting close to the camera in order to finish in time. In the photo, Harvest Moon , the highlighted areas of the corn were made with a tungsten flashlight because tungsten gives a warm glow. I selected the areas to highlight in advance knowing I wanted to move the eye through the lower part of the composition to the moon and back down to the corn.

DY: The North Star is not the brightest star in the sky but it is the one which appears stationary in night photography. As the earth rotates on it’s axis, star trails are created with the longest trails being farthest from the North Star. In North Star over Cornfield , the left side of the photo was lit with an off-camera strobe. It was a very cold night and I didn’t want to run the length of the cornfield popping off my flash so I used the headlights from my car. This is the largest light I’ve used so far. The brightness on the horizon is light pollution a city miles away.

DY: In my studio, a still life begins with an interesting composition which may take as long as 2 hours to build such as Party, Party. After practicing the best way to light each individual object, I turn out all lights and begin the exposure. I wear black including long black gloves so the camera thinks I’m part of the darkness and does not record my image. In this photo my instruments included a book light, keychain light, and small LED flashlight. The smaller lights were tilted in such a way on some of the objects to make them appear as if they are glowing.

DY: Missing You was made following the death of my cousin. The portraits on the table are his parents who would have remembered reading by the light of an oil lamp in their youth. The empty chair in the shadows represents my cousin. Therefore, I consider this a portrait, not a tabletop still life or interior. I have since made more narrative portraits, each with a distinctive personality. As in the landscapes, what is left in the shadows is equally as important as those things painted with light.

SS: How were you introduced to creating photography specifically in this way?

DY: In October of 2010, I attended an educational presentation about night photography by Dick Wood for the Westbridge Camera Club. I started taking long night exposures that month. Paula Hardin, who curated this exhibit and is also a member of Westbridge, has long been a night photographer and is an experienced light painter. We began going out on shoots together and she introduced me to the concept and some of the techniques of painting with light. It added a whole new dimension to my work and appealed to me because it is so complex.

SS: What are the most important influences that have moved you as an artist?

DY: I can’t say any particular artist influenced me because as an art teacher I have seen thousands upon thousands of fine art images in all media, across cultures, styles, and genres. As I researched work in order to teach the art history and art appreciation segments of the curriculum, I learned, along with the students, how to look more carefully and deeply at art. I suppose I would have to say it is the cumulative effect of a wide range of works that have impacted me. That may change, of course, in the future.

SS: Are there any places you visit to inspire your art making?

DY: I spent my childhood on the family farm where I developed a profound respect for the beauty, variety, and complexity of the natural environment. I suspect it will always be nature that replenishes me. Having said that, it is equally important to remain creative wherever I am. My job as an artist is to make the ordinary seem extraordinary. Who could possibly visit a place like Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, or the vast ocean and not be inspired? For me, those experiences are limited so it is crucial that I find beauty and inspiration in some of the tiniest things in nature. And, let’s not forget to look up every night. Even in the suburbs, the stars, moon, and/or clouds appear in the sky every night.

SS: You recently received a grant to further your study in light painting. Can you tell where you received the grant for funding?

DY: Yes, I received a Professional Development, Artist in the Community grant from The Greater Columbus Arts Council. It helped fund a four-day seminar on night photography and painting with light in California.

SS: How did you find out about this opportunity?

DY: I learned about the grant when Ruby Classen from GCAC gave a presentation at the Ohio Art League in March. Her presentation was so thorough and she was so enthusiastic and encouraging that I went home and began the application immediately.

SS: Can you tell us about the trip to California?

DY: The workshops were presented by some of the most accomplished and respected contemporary night photographers including Steve Harper, Lance Keimig, Tim Baskerville, Troy and Tom Paiva, and Susanne Friedrich to name just a few.

The morning and afternoon sessions were about both the technical aspects and creative methods of long exposure, night photography. The topics included field preparation, camera settings, high ISO testing, image stacking, and light painting methods. After a dinner break the evenings were devoted to shooting at various sites with the workshop leaders and other participants. We usually worked on location until about 1 a.m. and sometimes later.

SS: What did you take from the experience?

DY: The most valuable part for me were the technical workshops and also learning how these artists, who have been working at night and in low-light, long-exposure photography for up to 30 years, approach it. I was interested to learn that they too make many exposures of a single scene until they achieve just the effect and lighting that they envision. Not one advocated clicking off a whole series of shots and later creating a composite image using an application such as Photoshop. It was reassuring to learn that I’m not the only photographer who goes to a location, walks around surveying it, sets up for an exposure, runs a few test shots, then begins working the scene and continues for several hours – or more – until satisfied with the results.

SS: Did you learn anything unexpected?

DY: The most unexpected experience came after everything else was said and done. Somewhere between Reno, Chicago, and Columbus I lost the camera memory card containing all the images I took that week. It contained some once-in-a-lifetime images including a lunar rainbow over Yosemite falls, two nights worth of images taken at Bodie Ghost Town (access at night by workshop participants only and with special, advance permission from the parks services), and more.

Ordinarily I would have experienced an overwhelming sense of loss, frustration, and despair. Instead, I realized that the knowledge I gained during the week cannot be lost nor compromised. It will be with me and remain intact as long as I practice night photography. A final benefit . . . if I ever do have a lapse in memory . . . I now know other night photographers, including the instructors, whom I can call upon for help and advice. I can’t think of anything more valuable than that knowledge and camaraderie.

This article was written and published for The Artists’ Interview,( by Stephanie Sypsa.

Explorations in Transforming the Mundane with Undine Brod and George Gregory

By Elissa Marcus

Stepping foot into OAL’s February show feels like stepping into your childhood bedroom and finding everything turned marvelously upside-down.  Aptly titled, “Transforming the Mundane:  The Mundane Transformed”, artists Undine Brod and George Gregory elevate the everyday, using ordinary objects and techniques to audience-resonating effect.  Hard to believe, then, that this show is a partnership between two Ohio State graduate students, and not a pair of artists further along in their careers.

Undine’s work is, for the most part, a study in series of things.  “I’m notorious for being a collector,” states Undine, “but I’m not sentimental about objects.”  Indeed everything in her collections, from books, to photos, to porcelain figurines are fodder for being drawn on, folded up, or, in the case of her “Family Portrait,” un-stuffed, re-stuffed, sewn together and framed.  The series of portraits on the gallery’s west wall features the disembodied limbs of varying plush animals in frames, jutting out like tentacles and with a mood just shy of macabre.  You’ll find no pink, blue, or green animals here, only brown, white and gray.  “I wanted these animals to be associated more closely with reality.  I contrast how we treat stuffed animals to how we treat actual animals in the real world,” she says.

Undine’s work speaks to her love of play.  An installation featuring porcelain animals, lamps, a desk, photos and other items are united by being singularly striped in purple.  Crochet doilies take on more structural elements when stacked and tunneled through.  Books take on new life as their pages are spread and origami’d to lanternly proportions.  “I just like to start trying things,” Undine explains, “I only understand my ideas once I’m in action.”


Fear of inertia propels her impressive output.  “When I lose my momentum, it’s hard to get it back.  That’s why I always try to stay in motion.  When I feel that way, I know it’s time to go back to my studio and just start working with whatever I can get my hands on.”  It is interesting, then, how the domestic nature of her collections and resulting work belie the frenetic energy with which they are created.

Co-exhibitioner George comes from a history of throwing things at the wall and seeing if they stick.  For him, the one thing that did was art.  “I was taking a drawing class for architecture, which led to printmaking and I said to myself, ‘I need to be doing fine art.’”  But the dedication, resolve and insight with which he creates speaks of an artist with twice his experience.

His childhood weekends spent with his grandmother inform much of his method and subject matter. “She taught me how to latch-hook.  I would do little kits and she would crochet the backs of them to make pillows.  It was my desire to take that childhood medium and put it with imagery you wouldn’t normally associate with it,” he says.  The result is a series of latch-hooks in beautiful, yet unconventional palettes which, when viewed from afar become nudes, or at least, parts of nudes.

The mathematical aspect of latch-hooking – following a rubric, completing squares of a grid, and the idea of colors “poking-through” holes in a background– drew him to explore with other mediums that could be treated in the same way.  “Circle Jerk” features a meme-like aerial photo of people from the knee down, executed neatly with sequins.  “Tennis Ball” is a mesmerizing study in taking pains.  10,000 individual, clear push-pins are dipped into paint and set into 10,000 holes drilled with a dremel into a backboard.  The effect is part-pointillist, part Magic Eye, and all pleasingly glittering and ordered.

Perhaps my favorite piece was part of a series called VIEW, where artists were paired with an Iraq War veteran in an effort to enhance communication of the individual soldiers’ experience.  The piece consists of an army jacket, whose sleeves are cut off and sewn together and stuffed to resemble a limb, with the sweat stains bedazzled with sequins.  George explains, “The soldier I worked with was a lesbian, and this piece was about not feeling emotionally whole, because she struggled with not being able to be honest.  Not even to the Army psychologist.  If she were to reveal her identity, he would have to report her.  But,” he continues, “really this piece is about every soldier that leaves something of themselves behind, and doesn’t get to come back whole; physically or emotionally.”

Though George and Undine’s approaches to their artistry are quite different, in this show they have come together in serendipitous alignment.  From tennis balls to push pins, to forgotten novels and toy boats, both take no small amount of pleasure and achieve great success in transforming the mundane