A Response to Hambone’s Solutions to Problems by Michael May

Preventing WWII by Michael May

“Preventing WWII” by Michael May

Michael May put a lot of effort into creating his muse. The exhibition on view in the Ohio Art League Gallery until May 25th, Hambone’s Solution to Problems, takes its inspiration from a man named Samuel Hambone, a completely made-up person with a schizoid personality disorder. If you come to the gallery, you can even read the DSM-IV Evaluation Forms and Progress Notes from his psychiatrist (probably written with help from May’s brother, a real psychiatrist).

If he inspired these paintings, it is clear that Samuel Hambone sees the world differently from what is expected. Each painting of May’s features an invention that solves a problem in the world—like finding out if people are witches, the extinction of bananas, the Goldenbach Conjecture, and preventing WWII. People who don’t perceive the world like Samuel Hambone can see that absolutely none of them are going to work. May’s use of Samuel Hambone forces the viewer to consider different ways of viewing the world.

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Samuel Hambone and Michael May Interview

Samuel Hambone and Michael May Interview

If you would like to learn more about Samuel Hambone, you can watch an interview with Hambone and May and flip through the booklet “Meet Samuel Hambone” and the art book Noble Intentions of a Misunderstood Man in the gallery. Products of two of Hambone’s inventions are actually viewable as sculptural works in the gallery corresponding to the paintings “Alchemy” and “Banana Preservation,” although “Banana Preservation” is starting to look a little rough.

"Banana Preservation" at the beginning of the exhibition

“Banana Preservation” at the beginning of the exhibition (photo by Esther Hall)

"Banana Preservation" right now

“Banana Preservation” right now

Painting is an interesting choice for this subject matter. Viewers are supposed to think (at least pretend) that these experiments actually happened, yet paintings don’t provide us with any real proof that they did, except for the fact that they are painted in an extremely realistic style. On some level, I want to believe that there is a Samuel Hambone out working on absurd experiments, but the medium of the artworks, at least for me, grounds this exhibition in the imagination. The things that provide glimmers of potential reality are the use of two real, 3D objects from the experiments, as well as the interview and medical records.

Object corresponding to the painting "Alchemy" (according to Hambone, that stuff is gold)

Object corresponding to the painting “Alchemy” (according to Hambone, that goop is gold)

"Alchemy"

“Alchemy”

"Banana Preservation" painting

“Banana Preservation” painting

May’s painting Banana Preservation addresses the very upsetting fact that it is predicted that bananas are eventually going to go extinct. The invention “Hambone” came up with to solve this involves preserving them in denatured alcohol, which renders the bananas inedible anyway. I learned this by flipping through Noble Intentions of a Misunderstood Man, but it’s one of the inventions that is easier to figure out from the painting—there’s an article about how bananas might go extinct taped on the back wall, there’s a bottle of denatured alcohol, and a jar in which to put the bananas. This painting, like the rest of the paintings in the gallery, has a greyish-whitish background, giving the all of the works some uniformity (maybe Hambone has a specific workspace?). I’m also fascinated by the use of shadows in the paintings—it gives the depictions of these nonsense inventions a sense of importance. These experiments might not be important in the world at large, but they hold importance for one made-up man and the artist who uses him as his muse.

"Banana Preservation" Detail

“Banana Preservation” Detail

"Banana Preservation" Detail

“Banana Preservation” Detail

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“Solving the Goldenbach Conjecture”

"Building a Better Moustrap: A Black Hole"

“Building a Better Moustrap: A Black Hole”

"Safely Discerning Witchhood"

“Safely Discerning Witchhood”

Written by Raybecca Elder

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Call For Entries 5/1/13

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                CONTACT
                 Best By June 29                                                              Amy Anderson                    (937) 296-0294

Gallery Coordinator

Claudine Heizer       (937) 296-2454

Communications/Marketing Manager

 

HWD 2013: A Regional Sculpture Competition

Call for Entries

Kettering, OH – Rosewood Gallery in Kettering, Ohio, announces a call for entries for HWD 2013:  Regional Sculpture Competition.  Artists from Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia are invited to enter original sculptures created from any 3-D media or combination of media including clay, wood, glass, metal, fiber and stone.  The work must be able to fit through the 34″ x 79″ doorway and must have been created within the last four years.  Jurying will be done from digital images. Work previously exhibited at Rosewood is not eligible. Completed entries (CD or e-mail, entry form and non-refundable check of $20.00 for up to 3 works), will be accepted through June 29, 2013.  The exhibit runs from August 26 – September 27, 2013. There will be an opening reception on Sunday, August 25, 2013, from 2 to 4 pm.  The United Art and Education Awards, totaling $1,100, will be presented at 3 pm.

The juror for HWD 2013 is Hunter Stamps. Stamps is Assistant Professor of Ceramic Sculpture at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. Hunter previously taught at the University of Central Arkansas, the University of Arkansas-Little Rock and at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks.  Hunter received his M.F.A. from Indiana University in Bloomington and his B.F.A. from the University of North Carolina in Asheville. The mixed media sculptures he creates incorporate ceramics, fabricated metal, molds, encaustics, rubbers, and resins.  The psychologically charged forms communicate an abject and fragmented aspect of the human condition. Hunter’s work has been exhibited in over one hundred juried, invitational and solo exhibitions, including galleries across the nation as well as China, Germany, Austria, Croatia and Spain. Images of his work have been published in publications such as Ceramics Monthly and other scholarly journals, newspapers and exhibition catalogues. Hunter is fascinated with kiln technology, and over the years has participated in the construction of several soda, salt, wood and oil burning kilns. While at Indiana University and the University of Kentucky, he led undergraduates in researching, designing and constructing kilns fueled by used vegetable oil from local restaurants.

Hours for the exhibition are Monday through Thursday, 8 am to 9 pm; Friday, 8:00 am to 6:00 pm; and Saturday, 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. Rosewood Gallery is sponsored by the City of Kettering Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department, with support from the Kettering Arts Council and the Ohio Arts Council. The Gallery is located in the Rosewood Arts Centre, 2655 Olson Drive in Kettering.  For more information, call (937) 296-0294 or visit our web site: gallery.ketteringoh.org

Delineations by Megan Mosholder, a response by Rebecca

As an art student from Otterbein that is finishing up her last year, I am intrigued by artwork that surrounds conceptual ideas that provoke thought or a type of experience. Concepts of interest pertain to the subjective reality of identity and how we project our sculpted identities that are then perceived by others. My preferred mediums are photography and integrated digital media. In contrast to my digital media concentration (which is primarily video) my heart lies in the realm of large format film photography.

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Walking around the gallery space, noticed is the repetitious use of lines and the color pink. The artist explains in her statement that her goal is to point out the cloudiness between social structures and to encourage the audience to look at the division between social constructs by forcing the viewers to move throughout her work. Lines are often used to create a type of division, but in this exhibition, the pronounced lines are placed upon the walls and upon her paintings, or above the potential area that a viewer may stand to view her systematically hung strands of  braided twine. She uses lines to erase divisions between the audiences through experience. Her use of bright chromatic pinks grabs the viewer’s attention, stressing a type of urgency. The placement and design of her three-dimensional sculpture allows a fluid glance from the viewer as he or she moves around the space. Titles such as “Paintings are like People” suggest that people are simply outlining boundaries to the discourse of their culture.

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