The BOX Gallery in downtown Akron is featuring two solo exhibitions from Oct. 20 through Nov. 18: “Rosie,” which will showcase work by Melissa Markwald, and “Annotations” by Katie Butler. The artists will be on hand for an opening reception Friday, Oct. 20, from 5 to 8 p.m. at the BOX Gallery, located on the third floor of Summit Artspace (140 E. Market St.).
Markwald is a graduate from the University of Akron, Myers School of Art, with a bachelor’s degree with an emphasis in painting and drawing. After receiving the Academy Merit Scholarship, she participated in the month-long Summer Undergraduate Residency Program at the New York Academy of Art this past summer.
She has also been the recipient of a Dashiell Tools and Materials Grant and Folk Charitable Foundation Venice Biennale International Travel and Study of Art Scholarship, both through the University of Akron.
In her newest body of work, “Rosie,” Markwald takes ordinary people and lets their voices shape the meaning of famous icon Rosie the Riveter. Rosie the Riveter is a symbol of strength, power, courage and feminism. But Rosie was more than an icon, she was the actual everyday working women of an entire generation. Her paintings deal with different expectations of power. They raise questions about who we are now: How is our culture changing? What will trigger the need for our generation to gather its strength? And when the need to be strong arises, whose turn will it be?
“For me the purpose of painting is to bear witness,” said Markwald.
Butler is also a recent graduate of the Myers School of Art at the University of Akron, obtaining a bachelor’s degree in painting and drawing. Currently living and creating in Akron, her work has been exhibited in galleries and museums throughout the region. Recent installations include seven large scale paintings in the O’Neil building storefront as part of the Curated Storefront initiative, and a variety of work in the city of Akron’s Mayor’s Office.
Butler’s paintings stem from the compulsive need to index her own actions and experiences. Using drawing as a method of note-taking, making quick blind contours to mark moments in time.
She creates paintings based off these drawings, while continually making more blind contours of the work as it progresses. In doing this, she intentionally distances herself from the subject and is obsessively trying to bring it back into fruition. The goal is to continue this contradictory cycle until the subject transforms into something entirely new. It is a systematic way of giving up control, allowing for spontaneity while maintaining a sense of order, allowing for change while maintaining a sense of stability. The process is individual and private, but the desire for order and control in a world of flux is universal.
The BOX Gallery will also be open on Saturday, Nov. 4 for the Akron Artwalk, and Nov. 16 for 3rd Thursday from 5 to 9 p.m. in addition to its regular hours. Admission is free and open to the public.
In 1978, Artists of Rubber City (AoRC) was founded by a group of University of Akron art students looking for places to display their work and for a way to stay connected. AoRC is a member-based visual arts nonprofit with the mission to advocate for contemporary artists and Ohio art.
The BOX Gallery is an artist-run gallery owned by the Artists of Rubber City. It opened in October 2009 on the third floor of Summit Artspace, 140 E. Market St. in Akron. Gallery exhibition proposals are open to the public and can be acquired at the gallery or at ArtistsofRubberCity.org. Accepted artist and curator proposals have the opportunity to be featured in two exhibition spaces: the Big BOX and the small box. As a part of the AoRC mission to promote regional contemporary art and artists, membership is not a requirement for gallery shows or exhibitions.
The BOX Gallery is FREE and open to the public during exhibitions on Friday and Saturday from 12-5 pm, during Friday art openings, during 3rd Thursday, every third Thursday of the month from 5 – 9 pm, and during the Akron Art Walk, the first Saturday of each month from 5 – 9 pm.