Tactile Abstraction

Somethings cover

Exhibit Dates

September 26 - October 21, 2016

Opening Artist Reception

Friday, September 30, 5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.


Gallery Hours

Monday - Friday: 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Saturday: 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Free Admission

The UC Blue Ash Art Gallery has free admission and is open to the public

Tactile Abstraction

An Introduction by H. Michael Sanders

Tactile is a word that we use refer to experience connected to our sense of touch. The works in this exhibition explore this fundamental concept in a variety of ways and in many different senses. These range from the tangible, physical impulse generated in the viewer to reach out and touch the apparently wet, glistening surface of a work to the metaphoric tactility of imagery that explores the largely conceptual worlds of microscopic objects and mathematical concepts.

At the same time, this collection of work is unabashedly abstract in that it explores the pure physicality of materials through the fundamental elements and principles of design: line, shape, form, color, contrast, pattern and texture. This constructive design focus, of course, does not preclude the functioning of the work on conceptual levels that revolve around such classic artistic concerns as the nature of visual representation, visual representation of musical experience and sound, symbolism and metaphor residing in everyday objects, and the extraction of essential characteristics from subjects in the physical environment.

The artists included in this exhibition have all employed forms of abstraction to explore some sense of this notion of tactility. David Freeman and David Hartz present a series of collaborative works that explore mathematical principles through their visual “approximations” of mathematical formulas. They attempt to suggest the infinitely sublime in these densely layered spirographic constructions. Ian Hagarty explores visual perception and its intimate relationship with our sense of touch in works that beckon physical contact with their surfaces while manipulating the representation of visual space. George Masry Isaac pulls us into a defined physical space inhabited by common materials that tremble with mysteriously symbolic implications. Samantha Krukowski submerges the viewer in the almost mythical world of microscopic specimens while re-contextualizing this subject matter into extracted abstractions of the most basic physical structures in the human body.

Our goal in bringing these works together has been to illustrate the ways in which visual artists routinely use similar pictorial conventions, stylistic approaches, and production techniques to explore and comment upon the physical world of body and mind in the most diverse ways imaginable. Our hope is that their attempts to suggest and explore the fundamental physicality of our experience will touch the viewer with new insights extracted through the tactility of sight.

David Freeman + David Hartz

Artist’s Statement

The notion of “approximation” is ubiquitous within both mathematics and the creative arts. The infinite can be approximated by the finite and the continuous by the discrete. Such approximations are prevalent because there exist many mathematical “ideals” that cannot be fully realized within physical reality as we experience it. Artists also create “approximations” to illustrate abstract notions of infinity, time, and space. Abstract ideas and emotions are expressed in art through the use of color, shapes, marks, proximity, repetition, variation, visual representations, and metaphors. These also are “ideals” that cannot be fully physically realized but can be expressed visually for many viewers.

Our collaborative works point the viewer beyond the finite into the infinite by highlighting the tension between simplicity and complexity. The patterns in our images consist of modified epitrochoids and hypotrochoids. The geometry of such patterns is completely determined by certain ratios of relatively prime integers. In other words, our images represent a mere handful of fractions. They are manifestly finite. Yet their layered radiance prompts us to contemplate the infinite as their mathematical simplicity is hidden beneath their visual complexity.


About the Artists

David Freeman, PhD, teaches math at University of Cincinnati Blue Ash College. He conducts mathematical research in the fields of Geometric Function Theory and Metric Space Geometry, and has published several articles in international journals. Before obtaining his doctoral degree in math, he obtained a baccalaureate degree in studio art. He is currently exploring connections between his current mathematical research and his background in the visual arts.

David Hartz has an extensive international exhibition record, having shown work in such diverse places as Tallinn, Estonia; Ischgl, Austria; Taipei, Taiwan; Vancouver, British Columbia as well as many regional galleries. He creates work that emerges through the media of drawing, painting, sculpture, animation, digital art, illustration, design and filmmaking. In 2014, he served as the USA team leader for the Second World Fire Sculpture Championship in Riga, Latvia. He is currently Associate Professor of Electronic Media at University of Cincinnati Blue Ash College.

HartzD-Architectonic Triptych No.1
HartzD-Organic Triptrych
HartzD-Architectonic Tetratych

Collaborative Works in the Exhibition

  1. Approximation 1, mixed media, 6” x 6” (2015)
  2. Approximation 2, mixed media, 6” x 6” (2015)
  3. Approximation 3, mixed media, 6” x 6” (2015)
  4. Approximation 4, mixed media, 42” x 42” (2015)
  5. Approximation 5, mixed media, 42” x 42” (2015)
  6. Approximation 6, mixed media, 14” x 14” (2015)

Works by David Freeman

  1. Pythia (11/3), digital print on paper, 17.5” x 21.5” (2016)
  2. Pythia (19/5), digital print on paper, 17.5” x 21.5” (2016)

Works by David Hartz

  1. Architectonic Triptych No. 1, colored pencil and pastel on paper, 8” x 30” (2016)
  2. Architectonic Tetratych, colored pencil and pastel on paper, 8” x 40” (2016)
  3. Organic Triptych, colored pencil on paper, 8” x 30” (2016)

A more extensive collection of work may be found on the website of David Hartz at uncommonartist.com. If you would like to know more about any of this work you may contact David Freeman at david.freeman@uc.edu or David Hartz at david.hartz@uc.edu.

Ian Hagarty

Artist’s Statement

The works in the exhibition are recent acrylic and digital paintings on canvas from the Surface series. They are primarily about notions of abstraction with a particular emphasis on the relationship between the tactile, material quality of paint and the perception of pictorial space. Themes of representation, music/sound, nature and color are also present in the work.

About the Artist

Ian Hagarty’s work has been exhibited widely in the USA and Europe in solo and group exhibitions, and at international art fairs. Currently, his work is represented by the gallery Montoro 12 Contemporary in Rome, Italy. He has also been awarded artist residences at various art institutions in Italy and Spain. Ian is currently associate professor of art at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia.

5-HagertyIan-07-Folding Shadows
6-HagertyIan-01-Glimmer Dim
1-HagertyIan-05-Dusk Filter

Work Included in Exhibition

  1. Dusk Filter, acrylic on canvas, 24” x 18” (2015)
  2. Fila, acrylic on canvas, 35” x 22” (2016)
  3. Spine, acrylic on canvas, 35” x 22” (2016)
  4. Perennial, acrylic on canvas, 35” x 27” (2016)
  5. Folding Shadows, acrylic on canvas, 25” x 25” (2015)
  6. Glimmer Dim, acrylic on canvas, 16” x 12” (2015)
  7. Lemon Seed No. 1, acrylic on canvas, 20” x 16” (2016)
  8. Lemon Seed No. 2, acrylic on canvas, 20” x 16” (2016)

A more extensive collection of work by Ian Hagarty may be found at  ianhagarty.com. If you would like to know more about any of his work you may contact him at ian@ianhagarty.com.

George Masry Isaac

IsaacG-10-Whte #18 copy
IsaacG-06-White #10
IsaacG-08-White #12 copy

Artist’s Statement

The works in this exhibition are from my series entitled White. These mixed media pieces are shaped by the desire to reveal the marvelous in the quotidian, the moving poetry that exists in simple things. Materials can be a vehicle of expression, a kind of language through which I seek to communicate ideas and feelings and to speak of my own experiences and cultural heritage. The supports I use are cardboard, boxes, broken frames, and recycled photographs. These objects from everyday life were not chosen for their banality but rather for their metaphoric and symbolic implications. They create the ambiguity between the roughness of the background and the delicacy of gesture.

About the Artist

George Isaac is an artist based in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He earned a B.F.A. and M.F.A. in Painting from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. He has primarily exhibited his work at university galleries in the Northeast and Southeast of the United States.

Work Included in Exhibition

  1. White #5, cardboard, plaster and mixed media mounted on canvas, 20” x 16” (2016)   
  2. White #12, cardboard, plaster and mixed media mounted on canvas, 20” x 16” (2016)
  3. White #10, cardboard, plaster and mixed media mounted on canvas, 20” x 16” (2016)   
  4. White #18, cardboard, plaster and mixed media mounted on canvas, 20” x 16” (2016)
  5. White #11, cardboard, plaster and mixed media mounted on canvas, 20” x 16” (2016)

If you would like to know more about George Masry Isaac’s work you may contact him at gmasryisaac@gmail.com.

IsaacG-07-White #11 copy

Samantha Krukowski

Artist’s Statement

The Histograms are a series of small, playful drawings based on histological slides; brightly colored, illustrative and cartoon-like. The drawings are scaled to recall the view through an analog microscope. The clarity and linearity of these drawings resist the cloudy and out-of-focus qualities that are associated with manually directed microscopic vision. The works in the Microscopy Series are ink-on-mylar drawings that reconstruct images from electron microscopy. Each drawing investigates the formal and structural languages found in one corporeal system. Distinct taxonomies are represented, but so are repetitions and reappearances across systems that are simultaneously independent and interdependent. The shapes, spaces and qualities discovered in these drawings exist in many contexts and at many scales. Excerpted details from the drawings of the ear and nerve suggest bony triangulations, spines, ribs, fences.  Sections of the drawings of the nerve and the lung resemble grasses, scallions, cilia and flagella, tentacles, walking squid, bundled ballerinas. The Microscopy drawings reorder and re-contextualize the systems under consideration. They are potential components of an altered and novel body.

Krukowski-Collecting Tubules
Krukowski-Cat's Tongue
Krukowski-Bone Marrow
Krukowski-Glomerular Capillary

About the Artist

Dr. Samantha Krukowski holds a PhD in Art History from the University of Texas. She is an artist, author and educator who has long been interested in the roles of impermanence, ephemerality and (in)visibility in creative production. She is curious about how images, objects, people and places function in the context of a society where information is aggressive, multilocated and slippery. Her studio work often involves examining bits of the world at micro and macro scales in order to discover shared pattern languages. Her drawings, paintings and videos have been exhibited nationally and internationally. Originally from New York and St. Louis, she currently lives in Cincinnati where she teaches design at the University of Cincinnati.


Work Included in Exhibition


  1. Bone Marrow, pen on paper, 6"x6" (2009)
  2. Hypophysis, pen on paper, 6"x6" (2008)
  3. Cat’s Tongue, pen on paper, 6"x6" (2008)
  4. Interdigitations, pen on paper, 6"x6" (2008)
  5. Collecting Tubules, pen on paper, 6"x6" (2009)
  6. Goblet Cells, pen on paper, 6"x6" (2009)
  7. Glomeruler Capillary, pen on paper, 6"x6" (2009)
  8. Marrow Cavity (I), pen on paper, 6"x6" (2009)


  1. Bone, ink on mylar, 16” x 16” (2003)
  2. Ear, ink on mylar, 16” x 16” (2003)
  3. Heart, ink on mylar, 16” x 16” (2003)
  4. Lung, ink on mylar, 16” x 16” (2003)
  5. Nerves ink on mylar, 16” x 16” (2003)
  6. Testis ink on mylar, 16” x 16” (2003)

A more extensive collection of work by Samantha Krukowski may be found at samanthakrukowski.net. If you would like to know more about her work you may contact her at krukowsa@ucmail.uc.edu.


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.

Contact Information

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