The Associates trip to Columbus Ohio- Sherman and Impressionism

Last week, a few Gund associates, assistant director Christopher Yates and guest artist Uche Opka-Iroha (whose work is up right now in our Urban Cadence Exhibition until the  4th of March) travelled off the hill to Columbus to explore some fall/winter exhibitions.

The road trip was personally a culture shock. Having lived most of my life in London, I have never seen as many flat cornfields and farms as I did on this trip. The hills and landscapes were picturesque, and I felt as though Thomas Cole could have depicted them. Once we got to Columbus, and particularly OSU, the culture shock became even more apparent. I have never seen as many buildings and Chipotles in a 250 meter radius (they made Kenyon’s KAC look like a shrimp in scale!).

The Wexner Center for the Arts was our first stop on our tour. The institution was founded in 1989 as “a laboratory for the study of contemporary art.” The building, designed by Peter Eisenman, is set at an angle of 33 degrees and is built interiorly to be a multiverse for the next generation of the arts. As you enter the Wexner Center, Maya Lin’s Groundswell (1993, Tempered Safty Glass) covers three sections of the building’s “residual spaces” and enhances the architect’s use of geometry.

The exhibition Cindy Sherman- Imitation of Life, curated in collaboration with The Broad of Los Angeles, shows a retrospective of Sherman’s photography.  From the silver gelatine prints of Old Hollywood to the recent Clown series, Sherman is both an artist and a diverse character in her work. She manipulates self identity as a reflection for artificiality in society. The first room of the exhibit displays Sherman’s early Untitled Series, a personal favorite, which explores the notion of old Hollywood, publications, and Broadway through different identities. Each work contains an interesting balance between naturalism/realism and artificiality. In the next few rooms, Sherman is influenced by the history of western art, using a saturation of colors and artificial facial expressions and body postures. There is a higher contrast and use of the focal point being pushed to the foreground.

The next stop on our art tour was the Columbus Museum of Art. As we drove into the parking lot, the Columbus College of Design and Art “Art” sculpture welcomed us into a completely different part of the city. The exhibition Beyond Impressionism (in partnership with the Guggenheim Bilbao) provides the viewer with the transformations and expressive liberation of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. As you enter into the gallery, a iconic Water Lily work by Monet welcomes you. Its bold, expressive, and almost translucent qualities immediately give the viewer the tone of the work.The rise in global fascination with print, posters, japanesma, lack of brush stroke/realism and boldness are also explored throughout the exhibit. Volland and Bonnard interiors examine Parisian city life through clear graphic strokes and an illusion of space with limited colors. There is a perfect mix in color pallet which distorts the viewer’s eye and lures them into the artists’ bold works. If I could personally afford to buy a flat in Paris, I would totally want to have Volland’s pink decorative walls in my living room. Overall, the exhibition was fantastic and gave a good retrospective of the moment. It’s also great for families as there is a dress up station…which I got to explore!

Overall, the day was fantastic. Our group was small but mighty and we returned to Gambier refreshed and inspired for our future explorations into the world of art.

Cindy Sherman- Imitation of Life is on display at the Wexner Centre until December 31st, 2017 and Beyond Impressionism at the Columbus Museum of Art is up until the 21st of January. Need more ideas for art in central Ohio? Visit the Gund Gallery and say hello to our amazing associates!

Jamie Sussman ’21