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exquisite works presented in the exhibition “2021 Biennial Juried Exposition”

For a taste of some of Ohio’s best artists, head downtown and stop by the Ohio Arts Council’s Riffe Gallery – or head to the gallery’s website for an online tour. – and discover the exhibition of the biennial 2021 jury.

Be prepared to want to spend some time with this rich exhibit featuring 53 of the state’s artists. Each work has a fascinating story that adds to his enjoyment and appreciation.

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“Judy POW81-A,” a brown-and-white sculpted dog created by artist James Mellick of the Milford Center, greets visitors at the gallery door. The real dog that inspired the work befriended an American soldier in a Japanese POW camp during WWII. Their story is touching.

Julianne Edberg’s “1950s Dress” is a hanging paper sculpture – mostly from old cut-out children’s books – wrapped around small cardboard triangles. The dress’s retro jacket and loose skirt are meant, writes the Cleveland Heights artist, to comment on the title’s bland decade “But Can Be Scary Indeed.”

Nearby are two huge sculptures by artist Michelle Stitzlein from Baltimore, Ohio. From a distance, “Horizon Fringe – Boucherouite Series” looks like a colored fiber wall hanging. Up close, we see that it is made of hundreds of pieces of old garden hoses, electric cables and computer wires, a sort of trompe-l’oeil homage to textiles. His “Toklat-Fynbos Series”, also made from old recycled commercial materials, is a recreation of mosses, lichens and fungi the artist saw during a residency in Denali National Park in Alaska.

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Columbus artist Ron Anderson captures dancers in his beautiful oil painting “Ballerinas Taking Court”. In the moving acrylic painting “Cooking Clips”, Jennifer Murray of Westerville considers material objects left behind when her grandmother moved into a nursing home.

Cincinnati artist Susan Byrnes uses the metaphor of sweeping – involved in house cleaning as well as change – in her colorful wall installation “The Sweeping Meditation”, over 40 multi-colored brooms hanging from attention to attention on the wall.

Hundreds of tiny cardboard houses – some dark and others lit from within – are stacked on top of each other in what Galloway artist Nicki Crock describes as an “upside down survey of the atmosphere. curious, strange and sometimes magical of architecture and community. “

The Jury Prize went to Alli Hoag from Toledo for “Trace Decay”, in which the head of a real taxidermy fawn is surrounded by a swarm of crystal butterflies; Max Markwald of Cleveland, who commemorated his gender transition with a larger-than-life self-portrait, “Twenty-Seven”; and Thomas Hudson of Richmond Heights for his realistic painting “For $ 2.00”.

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Top Show honors went to! Katie B Funk! for her massive ‘Junk Dazzle silhouettes’ wall piece, in which the Columbus artist pasted hundreds of black and white photographs of herself in a variety of positions and expressions, all backlit by an eerie orange glow -pink.

“I made my body childish, manipulative and ethereal,” she writes. “I made my body enraged, suspicious and distant.” She also made her body and this artwork express a variety of moods – playful, energetic, disturbing, and always haunting.

The powerful, fascinating and beautifully designed works in this exhibition were selected by jurors Jessimi Jones, Executive Director of the Springfield (Ohio) Museum of Art; Kevin Lyles, art professor at the University of Rio Grande; and Columbus artist and educator April Sunami. They selected artists from nearly 1,800 entries with criteria that included craftsmanship, compelling content, strength, sentiment and, as Lyles said, “an attempt to show something new”.

Well done, jurors and artists.

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In one look

The “2021 Biennial Juried Exhibition” continues through January 7 at the Riffe Gallery, Ohio Arts Council, 77 S. High St. Hours: Wednesday through Friday, noon to 5 pm. Masks are compulsory. The full exhibition is available online. oac.ohio.gov.