Artists in the 2017 FRESH Juried Art Exhibition will gather Thursday, Feb. 16 at Summit Artspace for a discussion about their work and its relationship to the shifting ground of the political and cultural climate that personifies the show.
Artist Charles Beneke, professor of Art at the University of Akron Mary Schiller Myers School of Art and associate dean of the Graduate School, was the juror for the show and will join the panel.
The discussion will start at 7 p.m. in the Summit Artspace Gallery, 140 E. Market St., Akron. The event is free and open to the public. Displaying 33 pieces from 29 local artists, the FRESH exhibit ends Feb. 18.
In his juror’s statement, Beneke characterized the works this year as vibrating with “a sense of unease and trepidation—our world is unsettled; our political climate is divisive; big changes are impending.”
“We have all—individuals, families, neighborhoods, communities, regions, states—taken part in a profound shift in the direction of our nation. In the wake, many of us are trying to ground ourselves in a time that is uncertain and a world that is unknown,” Beneke wrote.
Beneke works in a broad range of print media, painting, new media and installation which addresses climate change, urging the viewer to confront his/her role in the fragile state of the world environment. His art is in collections around the world and was the focus of a recent exhibit, “Specter,” at the Akron Art Museum.
Beneke will be joined on the panel by Priscilla Roggenkamp of Alliance, who took first place with her piercing interpretation of war and displacement in the piece “Refugee,” fabricated of cotton, rafts, keys, tote bags and rope. She is an associate professor of Art at Ashland University.
Photographer Don Parsisson, who opened a tiny gallery of photography in Summit Artspace this month, has a photograph in FRESH. Jeanne Grossetti, Summit Artspace exhibitions manager and an artist, will also participate.
With the reputation of celebrating new perspectives, the annual FRESH exhibition challenges regional artists to take their art in new directions for the annual competition.
The common theme among the pieces that struck Beneke was the exploration of space. As a nationally and internationally known visual artist, he observed artists using their craft to come to terms with uncertain times and a new, uncertain world.
Second place in the show went to Emily Duke of Mogadore for “Double Presence,” an ethereal three-dimensional work that shows division and shadows but whose sky blue surface offers hope. Jasmine Kornel of Cuyahoga Falls was the third place winner for her fiber art work, “Bandage,” described as a waterfall of weaving excellence. Kornel will be part of the panel.
The FRESH Air Award went to Erica Bishop of Seven Hills, Ohio, for two works, “River” and “Pond,” both archival pigment prints. The prints remind the viewer of the fragility and beauty of an environment in peril. Bishop will also join the artist panel discussion.
Summit Artspace Gallery hours are Thursdays and Fridays, noon to 7 p.m., and Saturdays, noon to 5 p.m. The show is open Saturday, March 4, noon to 9 p.m. during regular hours and for Artwalk in downtown Akron. Summit Artspace is located at 140 E. Market St., Akron.
Parking is available behind the Summit Artspace building when visiting the gallery. Summit Artspace is handicap accessible and has an elevator. For information, go to summitartspace.org or call 330-376-8480. Find Summit Artspace on Facebook, on Twitter at @AkronAreaArts and on Snapchat.