ImageOHIO 14

In Blog, Photography, Reviews By by Ken Aschliman On March 8, 2014


In its fourteenth year, ImageOHIO features works of photography, video, digital art and mixed media works by Ohio artists. This year’s jurors, Aspen Mays and Shannon Benine, selected forty-nine pieces by thirty-one artists. Because ImageOHIO unites artists by their geographic location, it begs the question of whether or not Ohio artists share an aesthetic or a common thread. The exhibition showcases diverse mediums and forms, and the artists grapple with a variety of conceptual issues. However, all of the exhibiting artists push the boundaries of their respective mediums and challenge notions of temporality and perception.





Charla Mayhew’s photograph Into the Wild portrays an intimate moment from a distant perspective. The child gazes outward, as if daydreaming and enjoying a warm breeze. Mayhew presents a scene that arouses memories of youth and times of curiosity and wonderment. Photography is a medium of nostalgia, one that captures the past, and yet that moment becomes inaccessible immediately after capturing. Mayhew encourages reminiscence—it is a photograph that triggers nostalgia, even though this memory could never belong to us.





In Nayeon Yang’s video Feed the Light, 2:36 p.m., the artist throws rolls of plastic against the floor of her studio. Sunlight bounces off the plastic and reflects onto the wall, creating swirling bodies of light. Light becomes tangible, transforming a mundane phenomenon into an ethereal spectacle. The specificity of time indicates her interest in the particularities of light at specific times of day, an interest shared by Impressionist painters.





Do You Know the Cause of Your Problems and Suffering? belongs to a body of work that Charles Fairbanks shot while taking a trip to Mexico. This photograph portrays a painted sign with the title written in Spanish. While its saturated color and graphic composition may allude to advertising, this sign does not attempt to sell anything. Instead, it asks a question that provokes reflection. The sign’s grim message reminds viewers how the things we own end up owning us.





Eric Sherwood integrates photography with installation in his piece All I Want Is My Parents to Last a Little Longer. As the title suggests, sorrow and grief exist within the concept of time. Time and age reveal themselves throughout the piece: a clock ticking backwards, weathered wood and black-and-white film photographs. Photography captures fleeting moments: the instant snap of the shutter, the split second that will never happen again. The lifespan of a photograph’s making symbolizes the temporality of life. Sherwood’s old photographs are then ridden with impermanence, melancholy and loss.





Jessica Naples’ In the Kitchen with Grandma June and Grandpa Mike presents a photograph of a photograph. The artist holds an old family photograph and conceals her own image within the picture. Through this simple gesture, Naples collapses the past and the present. She re-shoots old photographs, and thus brings them into the present. She also demonstrates a kind of analogue editing by simply covering to conceal rather than using Photoshop or digital manipulation. Through self-concealment, Naples erases herself from the photograph and from a memory.





Griffin Pines composes a mosaic of video channels in the piece VC972. Nine videos play simultaneously and display seemingly disparate events: fiery car crashes, home videos of a child’s first steps, massive explosions, lightning and the daily news. Ranging from intimate private moments to physiological events on a global scale, all videos contain some type of failure. The videos loop, articulating over and over the inevitability of failure. Pines, however, offers a glimpse of optimism because the fallen child gets back up and continues to walk. The video becomes a testament to resilience despite seemingly impossible circumstances.





Photography and video bear the signs of temporality—the two mediums literally display time. With the over-abundance of visual stimuli that we encounter daily, it is easy to forget the image’s complex themes: nostalgia, ownership, impermanence, repetition, loss and death. While there may not be a single aesthetic for artists in Ohio, ImageOHIO exemplifies how contemporary artists explore these themes and thus challenge the image.



By Marisa Espe