Dion Johnson, Kurt Lightner, John Kortlander, Nikos Fyodor Rutkowski, Laura Sanders, Karla Wozniak
November 1 – December 31, 2018
Opening Reception: Thursday, November 8th, 5-8 pm
The exhibition brings together an inspired selection of artworks by a diverse group of artists who share a love for painting. Each artist approaches painting in their own way, using unique techniques and with their own distinct voices and original styles.
This gathering of artists intentionally compares painting styles. The cool California abstraction of Dion Johnson compared to the rich, thick impasto ‘road trip’ landscapes of Karla Wozniak are not merely Southern vs. Northern California painting. They represent two very different perceptions of time and place. Johnson pushes and pulls the paint across the smooth surface with a precision that highlights the symphony of color and movement. Conversely, Wozniak’s hand is ever present with the thick application of paint and the collection of signs and places set more in memory than actual space.
Kurt Lightner and Nikos Fyodor Rutkowski both use collage in their paintings, yet with entirely different approaches. Lightner’s use of collage pushes his creative process in and out of realism, creating a tension in surface and space. Rutkowski’s addition of found clothing patterns offers a structural, compositional element to his otherwise abstract vocabulary. Both artists reference the importance of the working class as a backbone to societal structures, Lightner in focusing on his family history of farmers, as seen in his subjects of ‘Builders and Growers’ and Rutkowski nodding to the role of so called women’s work with the actual clothing patterns defining the strength of the composition.
John Kortlander and Laura Sanders offer the classic acrylic vs. oil paint approaches, and I might also add a more masculine vs. feminine perspective. Kortlander wields acrylic paint in a soft manner belying the critical take on his subject matter. Dealing with life’s big themes – work, play, religion, Kortlander’s even keeled touch allows one to contemplate undistracted the mysteries layed out across the canvas. His brand of dark Surrealism questions everyday American life. Sanders’ paintings display a masterful use of oil paint to capture an almost photo-realism while employing a loose, gestural painting style. Her narratives of women set in nature, either in bodies of water or out in the woods, heightens the vulnerabilities women face out in the world today, both literally and figuratively.
This group of ‘emerging’ artists have a growing local and national audience. California based Dion Johnson’s work has been exhibited widely with a recent ten year survey at the Azusa Pacific University Gallery in California. New York based Kurt Lightner has shown his work nationally, including a solo show at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City. Athens native John Kortlander balances his career as a professor of 27 years at the Columbus College of Art and Design and showing his paintings, with a recent solo show in our gallery. Columbus artist Nikos Fyodor Rutkowski continues to gain attention with his works in local exhibitions including our Inaugural Exhibition and Art For Life (2016&2018). Laura Sanders is known nationally for her figurative paintings and has work in the Columbus Museum of Art. Most recently, she was awarded a residency at the Headlands Center for the Arts in California. San Francisco based Karla Wozniak has exhibited extensively around the country, including a solo show at the Schneider Museum of Art in Ashland, OR.