UC Blue Ash College

Modes of Abstraction - Art Exhibition

Art Gallery "Modes of Abstraction" header design

Exhibit Dates

November 9 - December 11, 2015

About the Exhibit

An Introduction by H. Michael Sanders

Artists employing approaches and techniques of abstraction demonstrate numerous "modes" or specific ways and methods of working, producing particular types of work we call abstract. Abstraction can refer to work that is based on the reality of the physical world, or other artworks, but is extracted, refined or distilled for expressive or graphic purposes. Abstraction also refers to art that avoids imitation of recognizable subjects, and is hence labeled "non-objective" work. In general, abstraction is unconcerned with attempts to literally represent objects and scenes from the visible world, hence "non-representational" is another term often used to label such works. Often, abstraction involves work that operates on a purely formal level, concerned with elements and principles of design: such as color, shape, form, contrast, pattern and texture.

Since the advent of modernism in the early part of the twentieth-century, abstraction in art has also been intimately connected with ideas and concepts, as rules or processes for the creation of art, and as intellectual or philosophical subject matter. This ranges across such modes of abstraction as: the appropriation of existing objects and their placement into a new intellectual context through Marcel Duchamp's designation of readymades; the "action-painting" of Jackson Pollock; the rules and procedures involving chance operations in the work of John Cage; the "minimalism" of constructions by Sol LeWitt and Robert Morris, as well as the musical works of composers such as Philip Glass and Steve Reich; and the conceptualism of objects and language found in the works of artists such as Joseph Kosuth, Lawrence Weiner, and Douglas Heubler.

The artists included in this group exhibition, Megan Bickel, John Dickinson, Jase Flannery, Nathaniel Foley, Jessica Held, Chase Melendez and Chris Schimmel, are each deeply engaged with various modes of abstraction in their work. This includes work extracted from subjects in the real world, such as Foley's flights of fancy on aeronautical source material. Also represented are the very different approaches to non-objective formal abstraction of Bickel, Dickinson, Held, Melendez and Schimmel. Finally, a strong conceptual approach is evident in Flannery's process and idea pieces.

Much of the world that we encounter moves beyond simple physical perception to be inextricably entangled in conceptual, historical, mental, social and constructs. The abstracted visions presented by these distinctly dissimilar artists allow us an opportunity to reflect on these colorations as an integral human activity at the core of our impulse toward creativity and culture.

Meet the Artists

Megan Bickel

These works, from my series, "I Just Want to Add," are meant to be a daily documentation of memories, conversations, note taking, recording, and readings. All represented through basic fundamentals of art making color, texture, and viscosity. It ended as the physical manifestation of self-retrospection, rather than documentation of moments with others or information that was collected from a source other than myself.

Artist's Statement

Megan Bickel is a Cincinnati-based painter and installation artist with a BFA in painting and art history from the Art Academy of Cincinnati. Her work explores psychology, memory and autobiography. She is currently a community education professor at the Art Academy of Cincinnati.

1. 4.14.14, colored pencil and ink on paper, 5.5” x 8.5”, 2014

1. 4.14.14, colored pencil and ink on paper, 5.5” x 8.5”, 2014

Work in Exhibition

  1. 4.14.14, colored pencil and ink on paper, 5.5” x 8.5”, 2014
  2. 4.20.14, watercolor, colored pencil and ink on paper, 5.5” x 8.5”, 2014
  3. 5.2.14, colored pencil and ink on paper, 5.5” x 8.5”, 2014
  4. 8.30.14, watercolor, colored pencil and ink on paper, 5.5” x 8.5”, 2014
  5. 10.31.14, watercolor, colored pencil and ink on paper, 5.5” x 8.5”, 2014

View a more extensive collection of Megan Bickel's artwork. She may be contacted directly at m.bickel322@gmail.com

John Dickinson

John Dickinson is an artist based in Dayton, Ohio, where he currently teaches sculpture at Wright State University. He earned an MFA from Southern Methodist University and previously taught drawing at Colorado State University.

Artist's Statement

This body of work consists of small paintings on paper on panel, resembling screens or vents. Incisions are made and pieces are removed to reveal underlying layers. This process engages holes and cuts as opportunities for passage between barriers. Leaks and bleeds are realized as ways through, rather than over or around. They are the material counterpoint to transcendence. And, as with all things material, failure inevitably looms.

3. Seepage: Nuptials/Computers/Doctors, spray paint on newsprint on board, 8” x 10” x 1”, 2015

3. Seepage: Nuptials/Computers/Doctors, spray paint on newsprint on board, 8” x 10” x 1”, 2015

Work in the Exhibition

  1. Seepage: Evolution/Anger/Dieting, spray paint on newsprint on board, 8” x 10” x 1”, 2015
  2. Seepage: Staying Awake/Pets/Options, spray paint on newsprint on board, 8” x 10” x 1”, 2015
  3. Seepage: Nuptials/Computers/Doctors, spray paint on newsprint on board, 8” x 10” x 1”, 2015
  4. Seepage: Tests/Time/Staying Cool, spray paint on newsprint on board, 8” x 10” x 1”, 2015
  5. Seepage: Lawyers/Cooking/Insomnia, spray paint on newsprint on board, 8” x 10” x 1”, 2015
  6. Seepage: The Office/Justice/Doctors, spray paint on newsprint on board, 8” x 10” x 1”, 2015
  7. Seepage: Health Foods/Dating/The Economy, spray paint on newsprint on board, 8” x 10” x 1”, 2015
  8. Seepage: Punishment/Restaurants/Current Events, spray paint on newsprint on board, 8” x 10” x 1”, 2015
  9. Seepage: Self Reliance/Lotteries/Doctors, spray paint on newsprint on board, 8” x 10” x 1”, 2015
  10. Seepage: Mothers/The Telephone/Cold Weather, spray paint on newsprint on board, 8” x 10” x 1”, 2015

Jase Flannery

Jase Flannery lives and works in Cincinnati, Ohio. He received his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2013. He currently teaches as an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of Cincinnati Blue Ash.

Artist Statement

A mistake preserved. It began as something else. It all fell apart and was taken apart. With Unimagined, component pieces of a failed sculpture were saved and became the ground to a drawn erasure. Their surfaces were overwhelmed by a gesture of revision, their particularity obscured by motif and made newly discrete by it. An abandoned idea, frozen in an aesthetic purgatory.

1. Acoustic Painting, cast primer paint and latex, 22” x 22” (2012)

1. Acoustic Painting, cast primer paint and latex, 22” x 22” (2012)

Work in Exhibition

  1. Acoustic Painting, cast primer paint and latex, 22” x 22” (2012)
  2. Acoustic Painting, cast primer paint and latex, 22” x 22” (2014)
  3. Acoustic Painting, cast primer paint and latex, 22” x 22” (2014)
  4. Latent Drawing, latent magnetic charge in wall and steel wool fibers, site specific with variable dimensions (2015) 
  5. Unimagined, correction tape on stained wood, each 84” x 3.5 x 1.5” (2014)

View a more extensive collection of Jase Flannery's artwork. He may be contacted directly at jaseflannery@gmail.com

Nathaniel Foley

Nathaniel Foley received his MFA in sculpture from Miami University, and is currently teaching at both Bowling Green State University and Owens Community College. Having grown up in a family of pilots, he was inspired by the imagery of flight and airplane model-building from an early age, and often utilizes the techniques of aviation construction in his sculpture.

Artist's Statement 

I attempt to communicate concepts rooted in aviation history through a visual language that references both travel and warfare by hand fabricating dynamic and iconic forms of flight. These sculptures consist of cones that are integrated with spires and held together under tension, supported by utilitarian containers (crates). This fragile relationship of forms exposes the delicate balance between grace and imminent danger, similar to the fleeting ballet of courting birds or the hostility felt between foes engaged in a dogfight. Through references to aeronautical form, the sculptures in Flight of Obscurity communicate tension and dance in direct opposition of fundamental forces.

1. MiG 27M Flogger-J, aluminum, safety wire, field rivets, poplar, steel and cork, 60” H x 28” W x 48” D, 2014

1. MiG 27M Flogger-J, aluminum, safety wire, field rivets, poplar, steel and cork, 60” H x 28” W x 48” D, 2014

Work in Exhibit

  1. MiG 27M Flogger-J, aluminum, safety wire, field rivets, poplar, steel and cork,
    60” H x 28” W x 48” D, 2014
  2. Yak-28P Firebar, aluminum, safety wire, field rivets, poplar and cork,
    15” H x 12” W x 24” D, 2013
  3. F-105 Thunderchief, aluminum, safety wire, field rivets, ash, mild steel, and Baltic birch plywood,
    60” H x 26” W x 52” D, 2012 

View a more extensive collection of Nathaniel Foley's artwork. He may be contacted directly at nathanielfoley@gmail.com.

Jessica Held

Jessica Held has a BFA in painting and photography from Ohio University, and has exhibited widely throughout the Midwest and New York. She recently completed an artist's residency at Minnesota's Anderson Center for Interdisciplinary studies. Based in Athens, Ohio, she currently teaches at Dairy Barn Cultural Arts Center and in public school art enrichment programs.

Artist's Statements

By allowing reactions and interactions with poured materials, each piece is an exploration. Once poured, alchemy happens, transforms, expands, mixes and merges. Every painting is a new experiment. My paintings will always be evolving by focusing on the individual characteristics of each material. All of the materials live together as a whole; yet do not detract from the beauty of each individual one. The Atmosphere series are circular paintings and each is a visual cross sections inspired by scientific microscopic cellular images and nature's rocks and geodes.

1. Atmosphere [2], acrylic and polymer coating on spruce, 18” diameter, 2015

1. Atmosphere [2], acrylic and polymer coating on spruce, 18” diameter, 2015

Works in Exhibit

  1. Atmosphere [2], acrylic and polymer coating on spruce, 18” diameter, 2015
  2. Atmosphere [6], acrylic and polymer coating on spruce, 15” diameter, 2015
  3. Atmosphere [7], acrylic and polymer coating on spruce, 18” diameter, 2015
  4. Atmosphere [10], acrylic and polymer coating on spruce, 15” diameter, 2015

Chase Melendez

Chase Melendez currently lives and works in Cincinnati, and received his MFA from the University of Cincinnati. He works in a broad range of media, with painting as his most consistent process. His focus on and influence from cinema and storytelling often informs his work.

Artist's Statements

This group of landscape paintings, Landscapes of THEM, is inspired by the SCI-FI narrative that drives my current painting practice. This ambiguous narrative revolves around an alien species, and these landscapes would represent the worlds these aliens come from. The visual language of this narrative release heavily on stripes, color, and shape. Using bright artificial colors, dark solid fields of color, I want to create abstract representations of these aliens and their worlds.

3. INV003, acrylic on wood panel, 48” x 28”, 2015.

3. INV003, acrylic on wood panel, 48” x 28”, 2015.

Work in Exhibit

  1. INV001, acrylic on wood panel, 22" x 22", 2015.
  2. INV002, acrylic on wood panel, 22" x 22", 2015.
  3. INV003, acrylic on wood panel, 48" x 28", 2015.
  4. INV004, acrylic on wood panel, 24" x 48", 2015.
  5. INV005, acrylic on wood panel, 48" x 24", 2015.

View a more extensive collection of Chase Melendez's artwork. He may be contacted directly at chasemelendez@gmail.com

Chris Schimmel

Chris Schimmel utilizes his work to gain perspective on life and sees it as a tool for conveying ideas and emotions. A graduate of the Art Academy of Cincinnati, his work has been gained recognition over the past three years through exhibitions in numerous local and regional galleries.

Artist's Statement

This work is from a non-objective series describing an individual falling short of human perfection against the backdrop of an intangible void. The central mass in each work is comprised of gestures or painterly marks as referents for the techniques employed when looking to different doctrines for philosophical answers. These marks combined to oppose themselves. The surrounding void evokes the world external to the self, the settings we observe as nature, indifferent and unending.

1. Submerged Mass No. 2, oil on board, 49” x 28”, 2014

1. Submerged Mass No. 2, oil on board, 49” x 28”, 2014

Work in Exhibition

  1. Submerged Mass No. 2, oil on board, 49" x 28", 2014
  2. Submerged Mass No. 4, oil on board, 49" x 28", 2014
  3. Submerged Mass No. 6, oil on board, 49" x 28", 2014
  4. Submerged Mass No. 7, oil on board, 49" x 28", 2014
  5. Submerged Mass No. 8, oil on board, 49" x 28", 2014

Acknowledgements

The UC Blue Ash Art Gallery is supported by the Office of the Dean and the departments of Art & Visual Communication and Electronic Media Communications. This exhibition is curated by H. Michael Sanders and John Wolfer. Gallery publications are edited by H. Michael Sanders and designed by Michael Ziepfel. John Wolfer is gallery director.

Resources

Contact Information

Phone: 513-936-1712
Email: bagaller@ucmail.uc.edu