Occupying Zygote Press

Each June, Zygote Press invites a nonprint artist to abandon his or her discipline and occupy the studio as Zygote’s  Artist In Residence. In recent weeks, 2012 resident artist Johnny Coleman has worked closely with Zygote’s print coordinator Paul Rogers in our non-air conditioned collective to experience fresh new approaches to his oeuvre. Coleman is a sculptor/installation artist and Professor of Art and African American Studies at Oberlin College. He will be shifting gears to work in just 2 dimensions, creating a series of silkscreens and etchings.

One composition from this series includes rubbings from the headstone of Lee Howard Dobbins. Dobbins arrived in  Oberlin as a four year-old, fleeing slavery. The little boy was too ill to continue from there, however, and was left behind  with a family in town. He died just a couple of days later, and as such, he never had a chance either to travel on to Canada  or settle in Oberlin. Lee and other individuals with connections to his flight from slavery will be represented in Coleman’s ongoing project called “Ghosts of Ohio.”

John Parker is another of the artist’s subjects. Coleman created photo etchings from photographs taken on site at  Parker’s home in Ripely, OH., along with documents from the Oberlin College Archives. Parker was an enslaved man who  purchased his own freedom and set up a foundry on the banks of the Ohio River. Later, Parker would secretly row over to  Kentucky to bring escaping fugitives to Ohio. Parker eventually sent two  of his sons to Oberlin College. The exhibit  resulting from Coleman’s time at Zygote—Some Spirits: The Free Side of the River opened at Zygote on Sept. 7th An additional artist talk is scheduled for Sept. 13th from 6:30–8pm. The exhibit continues through October 6.

Coleman explores a separate project over at The Sculpture Center as a rumination upon the migration of African  Americans into this region. (See Sculpture Center’s CAN listing) Coleman won’t be the only one occupying Zygote’s shop  this fall, but will be joined by artists Tina Wohlfarth & Heike Wadewitz (our Ohio Arts Council Dresden Exchange artists from Dresden, Germany) and Ivan Andres Lecaros Correa, a printmaker and Master Printer from Santiago, Chile. Ivan  will be our resident artist for three months as part of  the Cleveland Foundation’s Creative Fusion program. All artists  will exhibit their work in the Foreign Affairs Exhibition on October 13th from 1–3 p.m.

In November, we welcome Zygote’s winter resident artist Bec Young. Young is a printmaker  and member of the  Justseeds artist cooperative (justseeds.org) of Pittsburgh. She will be creating new work and exhibiting  in Zygote’s  labor-oriented show The New Deal Updated, which opens on November 2nd alongside works of Claudio Orso-Giacone,  and other New Deal selections from the collections of William Busta, Rachel Davis and Tom Sodders.