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Surface-Active

Paintings by Mark Fox, Andrea Sparks, Joseph Winterhalter & Ryan Woods

Surface-Active

Paintings by Mark Fox, Andrea Sparks, Joseph Winterhalter & Ryan Woods

On Friday, November 16, from 6 to 9 p.m., the Cincinnati Arts Association’s Alice F. and Harris K. Weston Art Gallery in the Aronoff Center for the Arts will premier two new exhibitions: Three Landscapes, a stunning site-specific installation by nationally-recognized artist Joel Otterson that creatively inserts three landscape vistas into the gallery’s street-level exhibition space; and Surface-Active, a group exhibition of four abstract painters who share a common interest in the physical and seductive exploration of paint and the canvas surface.

Surface-Active, an eclectic and energetic grouping of four abstract painters who approach the canvas through a very physical and direct exploration of the surface will be featured in the lower galleries of the Weston Art Gallery. Large-scale paintings and more intimate works on paper will be featured by Mark Fox, Andrea Sparks, Ryan Woods and Joseph Winterhalter; four artists linked by their love of the medium of painting and its seductive, lush and tactile qualities – its timeless ability to convey ideas in an enigmatic way.

Mark Fox, a Cincinnati native, has established a strong reputation for both his innovative and sophisticated puppet theater productions as co-founder of Saw Theater and for his intriguing multi-media installations. Fox is less well-known as a painter, although it is a medium in which he is equally skilled and remains devoted to since he earned his master of fine arts in painting from Stanford University in 1988.
Commanding in their scale, often 8’ in height and 6’ to 7’ in width, Fox’s paintings are works of exquisite beauty and contemplation. Painstakingly layered with multiple applications of oil paint and wax, the paintings’ resulting surface of translucent layers resonates with transmitted light. Created in his densely populated studio that also houses his puppet creations and theater sets, Fox’s paintings serve as a means to connect both worlds while distinguishing themselves as vehicles of meditation, luminosity, and transcendence.

Andrea Sparks, of Boston, Ma., received a master of fine arts in painting from the University of Cincinnati in 1997. Her richly color-saturated and thickly applied paintings isolate a single gesture that for her represents the clarity a simple and single movement can provide. Sparks’ paintings meld the many personal experiences and memories associated with a particular place, utilizing paint and its gestural manipulation as a physical extension of the artist and her process of editing and distilling information.

Joseph Winterhalter, of Cincinnati, worked towards a master of fine arts in painting from Louisiana State University in 1993. Winterhalter’s canvases suggest a surface that has been scraped raw and peeled repeatedly to reveal previous information or a prior history. Executed with a variety of materials including: alkyd, latex and enamel paint, graphite, acrylic caulk, duct tape and fiberglass roofing tape, against a backdrop of raw canvas, the artist elegantly works within a neutral range of black, white and gray occasionally complemented by the sparse and isolated use of color. With calculated precision and a keen sense of materials, Winterhalter’s paintings merge past and present histories and suggest new information that is still evolving and in the process of revealing itself.

Ryan Woods, a recent graduate of the Art Academy of Cincinnati, is actively involved in a variety of creative endeavors that include film and multi-media installations in addition to his interest in painting. At the core of Woods’ work is the exploration of personal icons. His thickly painted acrylic paintings incorporate fragmented images and isolated words that serve as symbols for a larger visual dialogue. Often employing several smaller canvases to make up one larger work, Woods’ paintings imply a loose narrative and allow the artist to comment on the larger world as a whole.

 

Showings