Monday, November 11, 2013

Clever Little Devils--Art Show at Box Gallery

Akron Empire would like to welcome guest blogger Rob Lehr.  Lehr has curated a new art exhibit that opens this weekend.   Rob Lehr has sat on the board of directors for Artists of Rubber City since 2008. He has organized several group exhibitions in Akron with as many as 65 participating artists.  Rob Lehr is also a freelance Creative Director and Commercial Artist having graduated from the Myers School of Art at The University of Akron in 2008 with a Bachelors of Fine Art.  As a contemporary artist, his artwork depicts suburban American concepts & aesthetics while commenting on social politics, urban lifestyles, food politics, classism, and popular culture.  Since 2010, he has owned & operated an art toy company named Vivid Plastic, which sells vinyl art toys & contemporary art prints nationwide.

Clever Little Devils at the Box Gallery in Akron
by Rob Lehr

A new contemporary art exhibition opens this Friday, November 15th called Clever Little Devils at The Box Gallery. This show brings together over 40 local and national artists to discuss the relationship between youth culture and advertising. As a curator, I am always looking for unique themes that will help artists tell their stories and showcase their personalities.  I believe every artist has a personal response to the art they see daily and advertising is certainly one of the most unavoidable mediums of art around.  The exhibition gives these artists a neutral playground to express themselves at a community-driven art gallery. 

Artwork by Trey Berry

As children, we have a different understanding of what advertisements are trying to tell us (or better yet, sell us) about American life. I also feel that advertisements enter our lives without warning and without permission. This is an opportunity for fine artists to respond to an otherwise one-way interaction. 

Another piece in the exhibition.  This 3-D work is by Ron English.

Many artists in the show wanted to celebrate the nostalgia of advertisements from their own childhood, while other artists chose more satirical views in illustrating the theme.  This balance between play vs. work, really becomes apparent throughout the artwork.  From current social issues to the ghosts from our past, the artists brought substance to the show using their creativity.

by Adam Dumont

Selecting artists for group exhibitions is always a lot of fun. I have been fairly active in Akron’s art scene for a few years now but I am always looking for new talent to help round out the show with new perspectives. A few national artists that are featured in Clever Little Devils are Nick Bakita (New York City), Ron English (Dallas),  Phil Guy (San Francisco), Bonnie Stipe (Albuquerque), Andrew Lopez (Chicago) and several local artists include Andy Dreamingwolf, Mark Soppeland, Charlie Wagers, Arnold Tunstall, Adam Dumont and many more.

By local artist Mark Soppeland

Clever Little Devils is also about bringing contemporary and thought-provoking artwork to our community galleries in Akron. We need more exhibitions that offer contemporary ideas and mediums, not just at the museum level.  Artists in this show come from a wide variety of age groups and diverse educations. From tattoo artists to fine art college professors, this show will hopefully offer you something new.  I want the The Box Gallery to be a place for people from many different backgrounds and experiences to engage in conversations about art. 

By Bonnie Stipe

 For me the hanging the art on the walls is just the beginning because I truly enjoy throwing a big party!  This Friday, November 15th, will be a great gathering of Akron’s creative personalities all under one roof.  I am fortunate to have Ashley Brooke Toussant and Kyndra Heischman both playing music for the opening reception.  These ladies have fantastic voices and their performances alone should not be missed.

For a full list of artists in the exhibition, along with more details, visit the facebook event page here:

Clever Little Devils opens Friday, November 15th 2013 from 5pm-9pm at The Box Gallery on the 3rd Floor of Summit Art Space Building  (right around the corner from The Akron Art Museum). The gallery address is 140 E. Market St, Akron, OH 44308.

The event is open to the public and free.  Show runs through December 31 for First Night Akron.  The exhibition is sponsored by Artists of Rubber City.

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