What’s Upcoming and Ongoing at Akron Art Museum
Jun Kaneko: Blurred Lines
Karl and Bertl Arnstein Galleries
February 17–June 3
Among the most acclaimed artists working in contemporary ceramics today, Jun Kaneko has spent decades pushing the boundaries of ceramics, sculpture, and painting, repeatedly blurring the lines that have traditionally separated the world of fine art and craft. Jun Kaneko: Blurred Lines, opening February 17, presents an impressive array of the artist’s monumental works while providing insight into his thinking and artistic process. Blurred Lines features Kaneko’s signature ceramic “dangos,” drawings, paintings, several large-scale ceramic heads, and a site-specific installation of his 65-foot-long painting, Mirage. The exhibition also represents the first Akron Art Museum exhibition curated by John S. Knight Director and CEO Mark Masuoka, who drew from a nearly 35-year relationship with the artist to create Blurred Lines. The exhibition features atypical works by Kaneko that highlight the artist’s ability to create monumental monochromatic sculptures that define space and volume. These works were chosen for their powerful yet contemplative presence.
Informed by early experiences in a Zen Garden at Ryōan-ji, Kaneko’s work contains ongoing references to rhythm and pattern and sound and silence. His artworks are often covered with stripes, simple geometric shapes, and spirals and dots, suggesting themes of light and darkness, mass and space, and present and past. Central to Kaneko’s artistic exploration is a sense of play and experimentation, which drives his restless creativity. His large-scale hand-built ceramic sculptures—both dangos and heads—often exceed seven feet in height and weigh thousands of pounds. Many of the works in Blurred Lines are drawn from the artist’s private collection and represent transformational works in his over 50-year career.
Jun Kaneko: Blurred Lines is organized by the Akron Art Museum and supported by funds from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Ohio Arts Council. Media sponsorship by ideastream®.
Frameworks: Paintings by Dragana Crnjak, Andrea Joki and Matthew Kolodziej
Judith Bear Isroff Gallery
March 2–September 9
Dragana Crnjak (Youngstown), Andrea Joki (Cleveland) and Matthew Kolodziej (Akron) each approach painting as an exploration of the way we understand time and space. The concept of time being fluid rather than linear is of particular interest. Interwoven into that equation is how time distorts memory. Each artist deploys different processes to conduct their inquiries. Kolodziej photographs construction and demolition sites, which he digitally collages, then translates into line drawings that form the basis of his paintings. Crnjak uses photographs of textile patterns or architectural details as source imagery for her paintings. She distorts those images, then layers crisp lines that scaffold the space she creates. Joki shifts from painting in loose, spontaneous brushstrokes to applying precise hard-edge lines, often combining both in one composition. Maps or keys to places that exist somewhere in between the realms of the physical, digital and psychic, the three artists’ paintings are fascinating to explore yet impossible to know.
Frameworks: Paintings by Dragana Crnjak, Andrea Joki and Matthew Kolodziej is organized by the Akron Art Museum with support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Ohio Arts Council.
Jerry Birchfield: Asleep in the Dust
Fred and Laura Ruth Bidwell Gallery
March 24–September 23
The multimedia work of Jerry Birchfield thoughtfully investigates photographic processes and concepts. Obscuring his camera-based images with layers of darkroom processes, Birchfield calls attention to the gap between his photographs’ original subjects and the abstracted printed image that you see. The resulting gelatin silver prints are complemented by wall relief sculptures that assert the physical nature of printed photographs. By encasing photographs in plaster, Birchfield masks the images and warps the paper upon which they exist. The centerpiece of this exhibition is a site-specific installation that stages an assembly of sculptures in the gallery. Jerry Birchfield: Asleep in the Dust reflects the basic nature of Birchfield’s subjects and materials, which are often cast-off detritus of his studio activity. The exhibition highlights the transformational role of the artist in producing objects of meaning from such materials through an iterative process of framing, reproduction and display.
Jerry Birchfield: Asleep in the Dust is organized by the Akron Art Museum with support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Ohio Arts Council.
JUN KANEKO: BLURRED LINES | FEBRUARY 17 – JUNE 3 | Karl and Bertl Arnstein Galleries
FRAMEWORKS: PAINTINGS BY DRAGANA CRNJAK, ANDREA JOKI AND MATTHEW KOLODZIEJ | MARCH 2 – SEPTEMBER 9 | Judith Bear Isroff Gallery
JERRY BIRCHFIELD: ASLEEP IN THE DUST | MARCH 24 – SEPTEMBER 23 | Fred and Laura Ruth Bidwell Gallery
ED EMBERLEY: BETTER YOU THAN ME | JANUARY 11 – JULY 15 | The Mary S. and David C. Corbin Foundation Gallery
Akron Art Museum
One South High Street
Akron, Ohio 44308