From a beautifully crafted sandstone rabbit to a trio of bikini-shaped pins to an elegant glass rock, the works in Ohio Designer Craftsmen’s “Best of 2022” exhibit at the Ohio Craft Museum are stunning. and surprising.
The annual juried exhibit, which has been running for 39 years, continues through June 26 at the museum on West Fifth Avenue. Out of nearly 300 entries, Betty Talbott, Director Emeritus of Ohio Designer Craftsmen, selected works by 83 artists, mostly from Ohio but all with Ohio ties.
The 83 works represent an astonishing variety – not only in the appearance of the creations, but in their materials and themes.
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Christopher St. John of The Plains, Ohio won the Outstanding Director’s Award with his “Moon Rabbit,” a sandstone sculpture whose simple shape and design manages to convey the creature’s strength and confidence.
In her “Women on the Move” series, Cincinnati artist Christina Brandewie features three bikini-shaped pins in varying shades of gold, winning the Exhibit Excellence Award.
The Distinguished Director Achievement Award went to Cleveland Heights artist Brent Kee Young for “Matrix Series: Windfall…Boulder II.” Sophisticated and curious at the same time, the large sculpture is a rock of glass punctuated by two branches of glass, all created by tubes of transparent glass.
Many artists have had fun with their creations. Delaware’s Kristina Bogdanov produced “Dirty Dishes”, a large platter decorated with a scene of dirty dishes stacked in a sink. Kristin Morris won the humor award with “Ricardo,” a chunky chicken with oversized shoes and a sardonic look in her eye, made from clay and found objects.
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And many artists have used unexpected materials. Sharon Richwine of Columbus used pencil, dyed fabrics and tree branches to create an Italian village scene. Ann Silverman produced a sweet tree from handmade paper, bark and yarn. And Rachel Smith of Strongsville used aluminum, silver, steel and vinyl and an entire wall to produce her “Wearable Wallpaper”, featuring purple and pink flowers on a silver flocking backdrop. She won the Challenge of Excellence award.
Some of the truly lavish works include Cleveland artist Benjamin Johnson’s gold and green glass vase, “Wheat Field,” which won the Excellence in Glass Award, and “What Grows From Sorrow” by Jessica Mohl of Crawfordsville. , Indiana. Her small sculpture features a single pearl nestled in a tangle of brass and silver branches, a beautiful use of materials to signify both misfortune and hope.
As has become the custom with the Craft Museum’s “Best of…” exhibits, there’s plenty to see and consider. Throughout its years, Ohio’s designer craftsmen have encouraged and produced consistent excellence in craftsmanship.
In one look
“Best of 2022” continues through June 26 at the Ohio Craft Museum, 1665 W. Fifth Ave. Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Call 614-486-4402 or visit www.ohiocraft.org. From August 25 to September 29, “Best of 2022” will be presented at Kent State University’s CVA Gallery in Kent, Ohio.