Akron Art Prize 2014
by guest blogger Rob Lehr
In its 3rd year, Akron Art Prize is one of the most exciting and democratic art exhibits to occupy the Rubber City. In fact, it is the only Akron art exhibit that empowers the viewer (that’s YOU) with a real-live vote to determine which artist will win $5,000! With over 150 entries and 5 different venues, this is a great opportunity to make history with your fellow Akronites. This year visitors are welcome to journey through the Zeber-Martell Studio, 43 Furnace Art Complex, Akron Glass Works, The Nightlight Cinema, Palladian Palette, and Summit Artspace Gallery. Before I proceed, I want to recognize and thank the Margaret Clark Morgan Foundation for making such a cool creative event possible in Northeast Ohio.
As if news of the multi-venue Art Prize exhibit wasn’t exciting enough, there is more to share with you! I have been privileged with the opportunity to curate a group of artists, which will bestow short slide presentations at the Akron Art Museum. Slide Jam deconstructs the traditional yawn-inducing lecture format, creating something that's fun, unexpected and accessible. I spent hours viewing Art Prize portfolios but could only choose six artists to speak. Ultimately, it was a tough decision since we are fortunate to have incredible talent living within our beloved city. Here is a quick preview of the chosen artists, which will be sharing their vision of contemporary art on Thursday September 4th at 7pm.
|Vintage Wall Paper, Kristi Wall|
Kristi Wall is most known for her ability to transform paper into breathtaking and stunning kaleidoscope designs. Using a unique self-taught technique by combining pins, layering colored paper, and utilizing her sharp precision; she creates a work of art that is time consuming and beautifully obsessive. Embark on a journey of creativity and charm as she tells her story.
|Lucky Ten, Chris Ross|
Chris Ross has been painstakingly cutting paper too but for a much different result. His Lucky Ten Series is a snapshot into a compelling world of social commentary about the American Dream and how we value wealth in our nation. By infiltrating into our nostalgic past, Lucky Ten simultaneously captivates and terrifies by using advertisements as a catalyst.
|Still from Momentive, Inda Blatch-Geib|
A true artistic chameleon, Inda Blatch-Geib has an fascinating approach to commercial art which will surely entertain, mystify and evoke excitement at the upcoming Slide Jam. Inda has worked as a Production and Costume Designer for nearly 500 theatrical, commercial, and film releases. Her body of work is both diverse and plentiful.
|Connect the Goddamn Dots, Casey Vogt|
With euphoric colors and psychedelic compositions, Casey Vogt creates ornate, mandala-like paintings that serve as a backdrop for politically charged figurative scenes. His most recent paintings explore Americans’ relationships to drug use, the war on drugs, and the pharmaceutical industry. His painterly and metaphysical backgrounds contrast to the socio-political narratives presented by the figures.
|Pink Fruit with Tutu, Kate Budd|
Kate Budd seeks archetypal forms, creating hybrids that take emotional cues from the human body and possess the singularity of fruit, shells and roots. She carves solid blocks of wax; creating a positive by the removal of material which is both magical and challenging. Much of her work seduces the viewer with a dark subject matter and an elegant transformation of a humble material.
|A Trip Around Olsen, Steve Ehret|
Finding inspiration at dusk, Steve Ehret paints panels filled with phantasmal creatures within illusive landscapes. His obscure scenes and psyches bob between terror and hilarity, influenced by abstract realms of experiences. He contrasts harmony and separateness within his work, using acrylic, spray paint, and ink.
Don’t miss out on meeting these six talented artists and hear their stories first hand at the Slide Jam presentation (https://www.facebook.com/events/1437094226560634/) on Thursday September 4th at 7pm. This event is free and open to the public.
The Akron Art Prize voting exhibit will not begin until Saturday September 6th during the Art Walk from 5pm-10pm. All galleries are free and open to the public.
See it. Experience it. Vote!
About Akron Art Prize
The 3rd annual Akron Art Prize is sponsored by the Margaret Clark Morgan Foundation and presented by the Downtown Akron Partnership. Artists will show their works in five Downtown Akron venues between Sept. 6 - Oct. 4 during which time the public will determine the winner of a $5,000 grand prize and five $1,000 runner-up awards. For more Information visit: http://www.downtownakron.com/enjoy/akron-art-prize
About the Author
Rob Lehr is a curator and creative director specializing in contemporary art. As the current Gallery Director for Summit Artspace, he is very passionate about linking emerging artists with respected patrons and prestigious institutions. His participation with numerous curatorial projects has helped shape the public’s attitude and awareness toward contemporary art in the northeast Ohio region. Recent projects include Clever Little Devils, Adorned Spaces, and his upcoming exhibit, Transitions. Serving on several local and national non-profit boards, he has been hired as an educator and critic of new contemporary art. He is a life-long resident of Akron, Ohio but loves to travel to galleries and museums around the world.