Ohio artists roll out egg display at Parkersburg Art Center
“Art 360: Contemporary Art Hatching Across Ohio” features 48 hand-detailed ostrich eggs across a number of different mediums done by 48 different artists.
“It involves 48 artists, or four dozen eggs, from all around Ohio,” said exhibit curator Charles Bluestone of Columbus. “I wanted to do a survey of contemporary art around Ohio.”
After five successful showing in museums across Ohio, the show has come to Parkersburg.
The inspiration for the show was to give each artist the same object to see how 48 different artists would transform the same canvas using their own individual techniques and artistic vision, Bluestone said.
“There were no restrictions,” he said. “People really got into it and we were very excited.”
The work on display features 24 different types of artistic media, including watercolor, oil, acrylic, printing, sculpture, fabric, found items, 3-D printing, light and more.
“It touches on an incredible (variety) of different art forms,” Bluestone said.
Some of the artists, which have a wide variety of ages, were inspired by such influences as musical composition, anime, video games and more. Techniques range from the use of beeswax to the use of 3-D printers.
“You have over 2,000 years of artistic techniques just in this show,” Bluestone said.
The scope of the exhibit is different than work done on a canvas.
“With Art 360, the artist has to go around the egg so the challenge is how does the artist resolve the painting,” Bluestone said.
In addition to the eggs, a number of local artists painted a number of pieces hanging on the walls behind the eggs which took inspiration from the egg works themselves in order to complement them.
“They selected works they found inspiring and created backdrops to mirror what was going on with the eggs,” Bluestone said.
One piece, “Over Easy” by Paul Emory of Zanesville, Ohio, showcases a representation of egg platter works he had painted in the past. The work features oil paintings of a dozen eggs, sunnyside up, on a tablecloth motif, on top of acrylic.
“It is very fun and whimsical with the idea of egg on egg and the relationship there,” Emory said. “The egg was a real challenge by being three-dimensional, but I made it symmetrical.”
Like most artists, Emory always sees different ways he could have done it.
“Most artists aren’t happy with the end product,” he said. “If I were to do it again, I would have changed a few things.”
Another piece, “Devolution of Evolution” by Marc Ross of Columbus involved the artist cutting open an egg and creating a cave motif inside using sculpture and painting. Ross said the inspiration was holding the ostrich egg which got him thinking what it might have felt like to hold a dinosaur egg.
“They are huge and they are heavy,” he said.
He admits he is more of a painter and not much into sculpture, but he wanted to do a sculptural piece inside and outside. The base on which his eggs sits is a collection of six to seven years of old paint collected in a bucket. He cut it out and the design reminded him of geological striations.
“That helped bring it together as an evolution piece,” Ross said. “I had a lot of fun dealing with different forms inside and out.”
He admits this will probably be a one-of-a-kind piece for him.
“I’m a painter,” he said. “I work on large canvases.”
However, a lot of his work is non-representational which is reflected in a lot of different aspects of his egg.
“This is a one-time thing for me,” Ross said with a laugh. “It was a real challenge for me to do.
“I looked at (the egg) for three months before I decided what I was going to do.”
Being Easter season with people thinking about Easter eggs, Bluestone hopes many children will come and see the exhibit.
“Children will see these objects as Easter eggs,” he said. “Every kid can remember dipping eggs into the colored dyes, but what they may not realize is that they are seeing fine art from some of the best artists working today.
“Maybe one of these kids will be inspired by seeing an ostrich egg artwork and want to become an artist and pursue art as a career. If that happens, I will truly be happy.”
The exhibit is scheduled to remain on display until April 20 at the art center at Eighth and Market streets. It is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Daily admission is $2 for non-art center members, with no charge for children under 12.