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Academics . Community Works . Women to Watch artists 

Women to Watch artists

Through a unique collaboration with the Ohio Advisory Group of National Museum of Women in the Arts, CIA shines a spotlight on accomplished women artists with Women to Watch—Ohio. This exhibition, on view April 2-May 2 in CIA’s current Reinberger Galleries, will feature artworks by five women artists from Northeast Ohio who work in a variety of media including ceramics, tapestry, painting and drawing, photography, installation, and mixed media.

Birchfield looks to both the natural and mechanical world in efforts to create her own nature morte that is anything but lifeless. She pushes the limitations of her chosen medium, transforming the act of printmaking into a performative juxtaposition of destruction and delicacy. The printing press transforms organic materials through their own destruction as they become one with the surface. Her writhing designs find a delicate combination of chaos and harmony, emphasizing symmetry yet embracing the unexpectedness of the printing process. “Invested in the unique stains and texture each run produces, I am distanced again by the insensitive and aggressive act of making,” Birchfield explains.

Process is central to Jónsson’s textile-formed paintings, which become ghosts of the landscape of her native Iceland. Her colorful woven tapestries are stretched onto frames or (like her most recent works) heavily draped on gallery walls, further mirroring her beloved undulating Icelandic landscape. Jónsson returns to Iceland and photographs her hikes throughout its countryside, looking specifically “for shapes and interaction of lines and shapes. The photographs trigger the memory of being in these places and they help with forms,” she explained in the catalogue of her most recent solo exhibition.

Mood, experience and landscape are in conversation in Kato’s performative photomontages, which feature her image, embedded into traditional yet modernized Japanese landscapes. Through relentless repetition, Kato’s large photographic panels create a new theatrical space where the artist acts out all roles. Playful yet at times confrontational, she disrupts the notion of “natural” through her various roles and manipulation of the landscape, from soda cans floating down the river to two schoolgirls caressing one another while their disapproving parents spy above (again, all played by Kato).

Inspired by both macrocosmic and microcosmic environments, Kwong’s ceramic sculptures are direct manifestations of the natural world - in materiality, shape, and subject matter. “I am interested in the juxtaposition of mass/space, land/air, solid/hollow, male/female forms,” Kwong states. “I feel I am a hybrid constructed of opposites.” These dualities find harmony in her free-standing sculptures of organic forms and wall installations of fantastic bacteria, diatoms, and cells. Kwong’s work is deeply personal and rooted in understanding herself and the environments surrounding her.

Yeager’s investigations of everyday objects breathe new life into items like traffic cones, mirrors, and yellow no. 2 pencils. Her work functions as an urban taxonomy, organizing seemingly banal objects and systems into something more interesting and often absurd. In a recent CIA exhibition catalogue Yeager explained, “The relevance of my work does not depend on a specific geographic location, but a more common, contemporary experience of everyday urban and suburban life.” In this respect, her work is more about interacting with any given environment in an effort to reimagine its organization, its meaning, and its active relationship with its participants.

Exhibition Photos

View photos from the exhibition here.

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