May 17 - June 21, 2019
The Art of Metalsmithing Exposed
Curated by Steve Shelby
The Art of Metalsmithing Exposed will highlight the best of contemporary three-dimensional metal art from around the world. This exhibition features a diverse group of artists, ranging from emerging or self-taught to college professors and silversmithing professionals. Many of the artists teach their craft as freelancer, around the country and parts of the world, in their own facilities, or in colleges or universities. Some primarily design and make jewelry while some come from blacksmithing, welding, or auto body backgrounds. Two of the artists featured, Betty Helen Longhi and Cynthia Eid, have written the definitive book on contemporary metalsmithing, Creative Metal Forming.
This exhibition explores metalsmithing in the cold forming of metal from flat sheet (or ingot) into three dimensional form, using hammer and various other tools (not to be confused with blacksmithing, which is the hot forming of iron and steel). The functional objects that used to be handmade by metalsmiths are now mass-produced, evolving the craft over time into a vehicle for artistic expression.
W O/A NDER
Emily Sullivan Smith
Emily Sullivan Smith is an Assistant Professor and the Foundations Coordinator at the University of Dayton’s Department of Art and Design. Having received an MFA from Kent State University in printmaking, her studio practice is interdisciplinary and is a hybrid practice including printmaking and sculpture. Her work focuses on various permeations of the effects that human behavior has on the natural world. She has examined species decline, and other resource extinctions and makes work that mimics nature’s building techniques using human labor as a surrogate for nature’s labor. A quote from John Muir, “When one tugs at a single thing in nature he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” has been at the center of the research. Recent exhibitions include; in Duo/Trio at the Riffe Gallery in Columbus, Ohio; Heavy Metal at the Akron Art Museum in Akron, OH; a solo exhibition titled, The Land and The Sea, at the University of Kentucky; Crossing Boundaries: Art and the Future of Clean Energy at the Pensacola Museum of Art in Pensacola, FL and 3rd Annual Hand Pulled Prints at Site : Brooklyn in New York. Solo exhibitions are upcoming at Artlink Contemporary Gallery in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Roy G. Biv Gallery in Columbus, Ohio and The Springfield Museum of Art in Springfield, Ohio. Emily was the winner of the 2018 Regional Exhibition at Artlink.
Sullivan Smith employs cultural and material knowledge from viewers to realize her ideas. Her work contains understones of environmental activism, inviting viewers to infer their own relationship to the topics at hand. Individual histories, experiences and beliefs play a critical roles in unraveling and tying together meaning. She often uses labor as a material, inviting audiences to take her labor into account as a surrogate for the labors of nature. Several of her pieces have taken years to complete or the assistance of other artists working in community. These efforts are intended to invoke the human understanding of work and time, calling attention to the fragility of the natural world and the dissonance between human and environmental timelines. In her practice, Sullivan Smith pulls from the global effects of humans on the natural world and also from her own small piece of land in suburban Ohio, where she fosters organic gardens, wild flower patches and her own awareness of the effects of her lifestyle on an individual scale. Travel and experiences in a variety of climates and micro environments from Iceland, the Pacific Northwest and the Eastern Sea Board to the mono-culture of her local grocery store all shape and effect her practice. Walking, deep looking and awareness of the effect of her senses on her psyche are the guiding forces behind her work.
June 28 - August 2, 2019
41st Annual Members’ Showcase
Artlink is pleased to present the 41st Annual Members’ Showcase, celebrating the individual artists that help make Artlink possible through their continual member support of the organization for over forty years. This exhibition features artists working in all mediums at all stages of their artistic careers. The Members’ Showcase provides immediate access to a gallery exhibition for our artist members.
Realism, like nature, persists. All visual art is based in the observed. Nature and perception are the minimally required precepts if one is to “make art”. On a grander scale, realism is fugitive, with the maker towing an ever confusing line between control and chaos not dissimilar from the lines walked by the abstract expressionists of the mid 20th century or even that of contemporary painters of all “isms” attempting to organize the natural world into a cohesive statement on a surface.
With realism the natural world is directly coded into the dramatic narrative of the work, and in nuanced ways abstraction is coded into the unfolding of the painted image. Each of the artists are keenly aware of both their surroundings as subject as well as the nuanced efforts that make for interesting marriages of form and content contained naturally in the painted or drawn surfaces as an expression of both intention and improvisation. Formulas, in other words, will never do. Each of these artists is attempting to make realism new, a way to discover the purposes of the image. What is the place in our mechanized, mass-produced, digital world for such hand-crafted, one of a kind, fiercely analog work. Unlike televisual media (film, television, and social media/net-channel) realism has remained relatively quiet. All of the artists represented seek to find balance inside of the quiet place that realism occupies while acknowledging its historical, social, political, and cultural contexts.
September 20 - October 25, 2019
Humanimals in Precarious Positions: Melanie Cooper Pennington
Melanie Cooper Pennington has been sculpting for 20 years. It wasn’t until after marriage, two children and 12 years as an interior designer in Chicago that Melanie received an opportunity to pursue her dream of working as a full time artist. Prior to her Master of Fine Arts (MFA) at Indiana University, Pennington began studying the figure at Wheaton College where she received her Bachelor of Arts (BA). She continued figurative anatomy studies at workshops in New York and Colorado, and has since participated in multiple artist residencies and curated exhibitions. She has recently shown with Sculpture in the Parks in Chicago, The Indianapolis Art Center and at The Grunwald Gallery of Art at Indiana University where Melanie has worked as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Sculpture for the past 3 years.
By embodying forms in the likeness of whales, bison and elephants (animals that we keep our distance from because of their physical power and intimidating size), Cooper Pennington’s large-scale sculptures immediately trigger curiosity and wariness. Her ‘Beasts’ are, however, frequently soft and touchable, placed in precarious positions or engaged in a struggle with an opposing force, consequently probing the viewer’s capacity for empathy. The visceral materials by which Cooper Pennington constructs her work range from ceramic and steel to fur and wood. She uses her knowledge of human anatomy to anthropomorphize the beast - incorporating human signifiers that make the imagined creatures feel knowable.
November 8 - December 6, 2019
Unreal Empire: Robert McCann
Robert A. McCann is a Midwest-based artist and educator. Born and raised in the Ozarks of southwest Missouri, he developed as a studio artist through his studies at Missouri State University, Indiana University, and as a Fulbright scholar based in Berlin, Germany. In the fifteen years since that time, McCann’s paintings have frequently dealt with the potential for metaphors in our byzantine mass media culture, and the overwriting of epic and intimate events in the particular artifice of painting.
In the summer of 2017, he mounted the exhibition “Staged Revolt” at the South Bend Museum of Art in South Bend, Indiana. He will have a new solo exhibit at Amos Eno Gallery in Brooklyn, New York, in September 2019. McCann is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Art, Art History & Design at Michigan State University, where he heads the Foundations Area of studio art fundamentals and teaches painting.
McCann describes his paintings as “elaborate fictional spaces”. He utilizes characters from pop cultures and subcultures to stage human drama. These visual threads spiral outward into the shared universe logic of Marvel blockbusters and Pinterest pin boards, and inward to personal mythologies and autobiographical fragments. The paintings use larger-than-life-characters from the world of wrestling, rock & roll history, or educational film reels to evoke a fuzzy boundary between fantasy and reality. His works incorporate staging of affiliated subjects in fragmented narratives plays on a viewer’s incomplete grasp of sublime subjects like memory, future-forecasting, or knowledge of society at large. The subsequent paintings bring together elements of landscape, portraiture, history painting, and improvisational abstraction.
Transparency & Toxicity: Meganne Rosen
Meganne Rosen graduated from Drury University with a Bachelor of Arts with Honors (BAH) in Art History with minors in Fine Art and English in 2006. She completed her Master of Arts (MA) in Studio Art and Theory at Drury University in 2011. She currently resides in Oakland, California, where she recently graduated with a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) at the California College of the Arts (CCA) in San Francisco. During her first year at CCA, she was the co-director of the Graduate Student Alliance, a graduate teaching assistant for three art history courses, and a gallery assistant for the exhibitions department.
Through the investigation of and experimentation with different kinds of materials, Rosen’s works express discontent with the current political climate while reflecting on her experiences growing up in the American Midwest. Her art explores entropy, artifice, consumerism, and her place in the lineage of abstraction in contemporary and modern painting and its relationship with installation art. Using found matter, fiber works, oil and acrylic painting, remnant fabrics, and photography, Rosen composes mixed media pieces which are layered in visual dialogues. The work evokes an intimate recollection of garments worn, skins shed, and packaging discarded. Each assemblage or installation is a partnership between the materials she works with and the sociopolitical, cultural context of our times.