Updated Sun, Oct 20, 2013 11:38 pm
For the untrained eye, the Dairy Barn’s most current exhibit is simply a room full of different colors and structures. Luckily, that’s not the case for the gallery’s Exhibition Coordinator, Courtney Kessel.
“I try to think of them having conversations with each other,” she said, pointing out the connection between two neighboring works of art: one a three-dimensional sculpture, the other a flat canvas drawing. “I spent a lot of time making sure the works communicated with each other.”
From Kessel’s point of view, the gallery is rapt with screaming colors, meaning and personality. Making sure what she sees in each piece is reflected in the room’s layout, she finds a complimentary home for each one.
This might explain why a 3D sculpture full of wires, lines and colors is placed next to a black and white drawing with furrowing strokes and varying shades of gray.
“It was very intuitive working with the space,” she said.
The exhibition, OH+5, is the result of about two years of work and is on display until Nov. 26. It began with a call for art from Ohioians and the state’s neighbors – Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
The winners were selected by a panel of jurors purely based on talent alone, resulting from the separation between the panel and artists’ personal identifiers such as names or hometowns.
“The staff here had absolutely no say,” said Jane Forrest Redfern, the barn’s executive director.
This year’s addition serves as the ninth biannual marker for the contest, featuring 75 artists and 93 pieces including a variety of mediums such as sculpture, relief, painting, photography, video and weaving.
“We got a great wide variety of submissions, which is evident by the selections the jurors made,” Kessel said.
One unique selection, she points out, is a yellow face sculpture hanging on the wall towards the middle of the room. Another, Redfern later points out, is a weave made with plastic bags.
Photographic interpretations and paintings also suspend from the walls, offering a more contemporary representation. Each element, Kessel said, makes up the whole or overall picture, tying it all together.
Though the exhibit has certainly kept the center busy, it’s only one piece of the puzzle for the Dairy Barn, constantly bustling with lectures, showings and classes. But that’s what it’s all about, Redfern said, that was always the goal since the barn was saved and converted into an art center 35 years ago.
“That was the mission,” Redfern said. “To be here, to be here for artists, and learning and doing art.”