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Summit Artspace displaying three different exhibitions

8/15/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Roger Durbin

Akron Art Museum staff featured in show

Alex Strader’s “Family Portrait” is on view in Well-Guarded & Institutionalized: Works by Akron Art Museum Staff at Summit Artspace.
Photo courtesy of Bradley Hart
Artist Mina Huang won third prize for her pastel interpretation of the Akron Civic Theatre in the 2013 Street-scapes: AKRON in Plein Air exhibit at Summit Artspace.
Photo courtesy of Bradley Hart
“Windows 1” by Thomas Reiderman is on view at Summit Artspace in the BOX gallery.
Photo courtesy of Thomas Reiderman
DOWNTOWN AKRON — From artwork by museum staff through pieces exemplifying the urban Akron area to specialty artistic technique, Summit Artspace has three concurrent exhibitions on view —Well-Guarded & Institutionalized: Works by Akron Art Museum Staff through Sept. 15; 2013 Streetscapes: AKRON in Plein Air through Aug. 31; and Digital Infrared Photographs by Stephen Paternite and Digital Composites by Thomas Reiderman in the BOX gallery through Sept. 14.

The exhibit by the Akron Art Museum staff is truly a cool one. It’s nice to see the people who work there put up their own artwork for display. According to Sandy Kreisman, director of the Akron Area Arts Alliance, it’s not unusual to showcase works by museum staff, as the Cleveland Museum of Art does something similar regularly, except that museum’s exhibit is relegated to the lower levels of the museum. Here, the works are given prominence in the first-floor galleries of Summit Artspace.

The “gallery committee came up with the idea,” Kreisman said.

And it turned out well, for the exhibit looks fresh and exciting when you enter the galleries. Most of the artists are museum guards — those folks who stand around making sure no one harms or hauls off anything. There are also works by preparators and installers of the museum’s own exhibits.

As with most displays, this one has considerable range of genres, from oils, pastels, markers on paper, acrylic works, three-dimensional sculptures of plaster and the like, and collages.

Melissa Roth has some highly interesting and eye-catching acrylic works wherein she cuts away sections of the canvas and covers over the empty spaces with acrylic. The wall then becomes part of the piece, and thereby would change somewhat depending on where the work was hung. They are bright, vivid works and very appealing.

Collections Manager Arnold Tunstall, who has appeared in several exhibits in Summit Artspace and elsewhere, has three silver-toned gelatin prints that catch urban scenery from odd and interesting angles.

Also on view is the Plein Air exhibit, which features pieces depicting Downtown Akron during a single weekend. On opening night, Aug. 9, winners were not announced until 6 p.m. If you arrived earlier, you could go around the 40-some works and choose what you would consider the best and most likely to win awards.

You could take a bet on Mina Huang, for she has placed or been mentioned the previous years. Turns out you’d be correct, for this year she had a work in the Honorable Mention group of five artists, and received the third-place prize. Her works are finely done and worthy of mention and awards, especially her pastel called “Market Street.”

Other winners were: Julie Holman, first place for her “Day 2” oil work; and Mark Erdelyi, second place for his oil painting “Texting Undercover.” Honorable mentions went to Jana Volkmer, Jeanette Torma, Carolyn Lewis and Richard Makruski.

To be honest, many of the works are pretty forgettable, but those mentioned and awarded were clearly standouts.

The Plein Air exhibit this year is on the third floor of the Summit Artspace building, where the works can be toured through around the temporary walls that can be used in the space.

In the BOX gallery on the third floor, there are works by the Artists of Rubber City. Be sure to see the infrared photography of Stephen Paternite. If you are a fan of this technique, you will be highly appreciative of his works. If you aren’t, you’ll probably become an advocate. All of the works are selected to show the genre to its highest effect.

Paternite said informally at the opening he chooses shots where the contrasts and moods would be the best, and takes the photo in one shot, without enhancing it later in the studio.

Summit Artspace, 140 E. Market St., is open Thursdays from noon to 9 p.m., Fridays from noon to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from noon to 5 p.m. For more information, visit www.akronareaarts.


Roger Durbin is professor emeritus of bibliography at The University of Akron and an avid art enthusiast. To contact him, email r.durbin@sbcglobal.net.

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