Stefan Hurtig, Still from Double Make-Up, 2015
ROY G BIV Gallery presents the work of Stefan Hurtig for a one-night exhibition on Tuesday, July 28, from 7–10 pm.
Stefan Hurtig is a video artist based in Leipzig and Berlin, Germany. His video installations and performances explore the influence of digital image culture on the conception of the self. He is especially interested in subversive forms of visual representation, e.g. masquerade, disguise and veiling.
This exhibition concludes Hurtig’s three-month residency in the Artist Exchange Program, a partnership between the Greater Columbus Arts Council and the Cultural Foundation of the Free State of Saxony.
By Kat Niu
2 October 2014
Materialism is an oft criticized ideal in the art world, where many artists work to convey an abstract aesthetic. But for two artists whose work is on display at ROY G BIV Gallery, the material has become their muse.
Crystal Gregory, an artist based in Brooklyn, N.Y., is one of those artists and takes inspiration from inverting the meanings and stereotypes of today’s society. With material as a key focus, her work delves into the meanings and roles pressed into material by culture.
“Material is very important to me. I use material as vocabulary to explore social norms. My interests have been in the commonness and everyday-ness of the materials I use,” Gregory said.
Gregory spent five months in Amsterdam studying traditional lacework patterns, which influenced her choice of tools. Gregory said she is drawn to lace because of the emptiness in the textile and the way the eye passes through it, which allows it to either empower whatever is on the other side of the filter or expose it. This installation will feature works that contain lace as a focal textile.
Her title piece, named “How Many of Those Who Are Yoked Together Have Ever Seen Oxen,” features lace netting suspending concrete tubes.
“Lace and concrete contradict each other but I feel that they both can be very structural and architectural materials. Concrete is like a building material and lace is more decorative, interior and nonnecessity,” Gregory said.
The contrast in the role of both the lace and concrete reflects Gregory’s inversion of social norms.
“The lace is essentially supporting the weight of the cement and inverting this idea of necessity,” Gregory said.
The title of the main piece is a passage from Gregory’s favorite novel, “Ida” by Gertrude Stein. In the novel, Ida has marriages that are short-lived, and yet they make her weary. Gregory’s title is a line Ida says in lament of this fact, and Gregory uses it in relation to the constant shifting of the idea of tradition in reality as well as the fluidness in connotation of the word “tradition.”
On the other hand, Luke Ahern, the other artist featured in the exhibit, who is also a lecturer at Ohio State, likes to incorporate materials from his surroundings as a way to show the effects of everyday life on his artwork. He uses limitations, such as his access to material or his creative process, to manipulate pieces to reach outside of these boundaries.
“Often times, I’ll use introduction of new material to shake up my practice and learn something new,” Ahern said. “It’s an act of discovery — I’ll see a new material and wonder how it’ll work in my studio.”
For one piece, he explores new material that changes the focal point of his art. “There is one painting that is a totally new process I’ve never done before,” Ahern said. “It’s kind of drastically changing things for me. I think my work after this show will focus more on this form. I’m including it in this show to see how it interacts with other pieces.”
Ahern said his work process often involves him trying to “stumble upon” new ideas. As he gathers materials for his art work, he fumbles through ideas to discover new ways to work with new media. As an artist, Ahern is constantly searching and researching techniques.
The cohesiveness in Ahern’s work lies in the interaction between the viewer and their perception of sight.
“I think the (audience) will initially react to the visceral color. It’s color through material as opposed to color being shown as an illusion. You interact with color more as a tactile object than characteristic,” Ahern said.
Ahern hopes his work comes off playful in the sense of active discovery, but still with some degree of seriousness.
ROY G BIV Gallery, founded in 1989 and located in the Short North, is a nonprofit art gallery that aims to showcase works of emerging artists.
“It’s actually in the full name: ROY G BIV Gallery for Emerging Artists — we try to be a launching pad for them,” said gallery director Ken Aschliman. “The other mission we have is: we are built on an educational mission and we really enjoy exposing the Columbus public to these new emerging artists.”
Aschliman said he looks for connections between artists to decide which to pair for showings to bring a sense of cohesiveness between the pieces.
“I paired Luke with Crystal because I thought that there is a relationship between their works. They’re not looking at the same materials but there are formal relationships — both Crystal and Luke use geometric patterns in different ways using very different materials,” he said.
Aschliman said he looks for differences between the artists as much as he looks for relationships.
“The way Luke and Crystal use material is very different. Crystal uses cement, string, and lace to create these sculptures, and Luke will grab any and every material for his installation. So I think their approach is similar and also different. I think it’ll be a good combination,” he said.
ROY G BIV Gallery is located at 997 N. High St. The exhibit is free and is set to open at a reception on Saturday 7-10 p.m. The works will be on display until Oct. 25, when there will also be an artists’ talk at 2:30 p.m.
Recently, photography graduate student Jennifer Spitzer interview ROY’s director Ken Aschliman for her current business course.
Jennifer Spitzer: Seeing that the gallery is about 25 years old, how did the nonprofit gallery get started and have there been any major changes in the gallery’s focus since its early conceptions?
Ken Aschliman: ROY was founded in the fledgling Short North Arts District in 1988. ROY has been an anchoring presence and has had a central role in transforming the district into the cultural capital of Columbus. In the past 10 years especially, our gallery has emerged nationally as a voice for contemporary art by emerging artists.
JS: You have an amazing list of supporters – from foundations, granting organizations, corporations to individual donors. Do you take any form of support or do you choose those that come to you that have similar visions and missions? Or is it a combination of both?
KA: We don’t discriminate! As long as a donor is interested in supporting us, we are interested in their support. Our diverse business strategy enables us to better support our emerging artists. Your question does bring up a good point: we would never let a donor interfere with our mission of showcasing emerging artists.
JS: How often do you have exhibitions?
KA: We have a new exhibition, featuring 2 or 3 artists, each month. We host our Small Works Exhibition for members each December and always partner with a local arts organization for a special exhibition one month each year. In addition, we host an annual satellite exhibition called ImageOHIO for photo, video and digital artists in Ohio.
JS: What is the committee looking for when selecting a new artist body of work for the gallery? Or do the submissions received guide the shows for the year?
KA: We ask our jurors to select the artists they deem most deserving of an exhibition, and this is what separates our gallery from most. We don’t necessarily ask our jurors to choose artists that will sell in our area. We love selling work, but we place education (both for the public and for the artists) as our top priority.
JS: How far in advance do you schedule a season? I see on your site that you have already completed your 2015 exhibition schedule; when will you start seeking calls for entry for your 2016 season?
KA: We plan our exhibition schedule a year in advance. Every May we release our call for entries for the next calendar year. Entries are due in early June, jurying lasts through July, and we notify artists of acceptance in August.
JS: Does your selection committee change from year to year?
KA: Yes, we work to get jurors from a variety of arts backgrounds (artists, instructors, curators, critics and arts administrators) to guarantee a diverse selection of artists from year to year.
JS: How many artists work do you look at compared to how many you accept?
KA: Last year we had 297 entries for 22 exhibition slots.
JS: You represent a lot of different mediums of art, is there anything that you are not looking for? Do you have a certain demographic for the galleries art focus?
KA: We take pride in showing a spectrum of what’s happening among emerging artists. This runs from more traditional painting, drawing and sculpture to installation, performance, interactive work and happenings.
JS: What is the art collector community like in this area? Can you give me an idea of what kinds of work people are drawn to?
KA: In general, collectors in Columbus have more traditional taste. Two-dimensional, representational work seems to sell best.
JS: I saw that you have monthly artist talks – how do you select an artist for these talks? Or will they always be from the exhibiting artist work being shown?
KA: Our monthly artists’ talks always feature the exhibiting artists. We host these talks to educate the public on the artists’ concepts and art-making techniques, to allow collectors a chance to meet the artists, and to increase exposure for our artists.
JS: If I wanted to become a member, is that an issue being an out of state resident? Is there a benefit if I am not a local to the community?
KA: As an artist, the main incentives for membership are free entry fees and promotion. Members get free entry in our annual exhibition season competition and ImageOHIO, guaranteed inclusion in our Small Works Exhibition, and promotion on our website.
JS: Do you have any advice for emerging artists trying to break in to the fine art field?
KA: Be persistent.
ROY G BIV Gallery for Emerging Artists is now accepting submissions for ImageOHIO 15, a statewide, juried exhibition of the best photographic, video and new media art in Ohio. Juror Benjamin Montague (Assistant Professor in Photography at Wright State University) will select the exhibiting artists. Entries are limited to artists living in Ohio or from Ohio. The selected artists’ work will be exhibited from January 20 – February 20, 2015, at the Fort Hayes Shot Tower Gallery.
The deadline for submissions is Thursday, October 30. Enter here.