Announcing: The Inaugural CAN Triennial Prizes

The N in CAN stands for Network, and this defining element of the organization played an equally defining role in the inaugural CAN Triennial, from our venue partners (ARTneo, Survival Kit, Tregoning & Co.) to our exhibit partners who created the historic exhibit Three Angles (ARTneo and Artists Archives of the Western Reserve) to the sixteen dealers that exhibited and sold works at the CAN Triennial gallery pavilion. CAN is galleries, museums and related institutions working together for mutual benefit, which includes the advance of artists’ careers through communication, increased visibility, and connections. Nowhere did we find more networking synergy than in the CAN Triennial Prizes.

Rather than keep the judgments of especially noteworthy contributions in-house or on our curatorial panel, we invited regional exhibiting and collecting institutions to award prizes that fit their own missions, whether they be to exhibit or to collect the work of Northeast Ohio artists.

Five regional museums partnered with CAN to present exhibition prizes: Curators representing each institution visited the exhibit in its first week and each chose from the more than ninety artists one to give a solo show in their venues in the coming two years.

Three collecting institutions partnered with CAN to present purchase prizes: Curators and committee members from each visited the show and chose a work to buy and add to their collections.

In order to make the most of CAN’s own role in highlighting great art, staff chose a CAN Journal prize winner, whose work appears on our cover. That artist will also be the subject of an upcoming feature, to tell you more about her work.

Finally, we’re pleased to announce a People’s Choice award, given by popular vote during the run of the exhibit.

Without further ado, we announce the following prizes with commentary provided by the curators who chose them.

Exhibition Prizes:

ARTneo Exhibition Prize: Christine Mauersberger

ARTneo is proud to present a CAN Triennial exhibition prize to Christine Mauersberger for her work, Poisonous Beauty. Inspired by the beauty of nature, Mauersberger asks the viewer to examine the human role in pollution and the resulting environmental impact it has on our fragile ecosystem. As beautiful as algae blooms can be from aerial photographs, and as interpreted in Poisonous Beauty, they are detrimental to life in Lake Erie and toxic to safe drinking water. The use of materials, layered plastic film and translucent pigment, add to the idea of fluidity and the scope of the environmental consequences. This poignant artistic statement is timely and relevant as blooms appear at Ohio’s beaches preventing the public from enjoying freshwater recreation. Mauersberger masterfully combines regional issues with unconventional materials and a strong sense of aesthetics.

Bay Arts Exhibition Prize: David King

BAYarts exhibitions aim to feature artists and ideas that speak to and challenge the viewer with new ways of looking at traditional styles and mediums. David King’s paintings of everyday people in everyday situations reflect the quality and viewer engagement that is reminiscent of BAYarts’ high standards for art education programming where figure and painting are taken very seriously. A career art educator, David’s work will be featured at BAYarts in the highly trafficked main gallery, to inspire students and other visitors to discover a fresh way of painting traditional themes. See

Canton Museum of Art: Amy Casey

Northeast Ohio and Cleveland has produced a remarkable tradition of achievement in the arts over the years. The Canton Museum of Art concentrates on American Art; we also highlight artists from Northeast Ohio in our galleries. We were pleased to be a part of the CAN Triennial and to review the fine works that have appeared in Cleveland. When we saw Amy Casey’s work, we knew that she would be a great fit at our museum. Amy’s work has a unique voice; it is as if a part of Amy has been infused into each piece that she creates. A story tumbles out of each building, house, and vine, and causes you to ponder its meaning. The Canton Museum of Art is pleased to share Amy Casey’s work with its community, and to support a local artist.

Mansfield Art Center: Wadsworth Jarrell

Approaching three floor paintings presented as shields in the middle of this site-specific installation of paintings at the CAN 18 Triennial, I rediscovered Wadsworth Jarrell, up close and personal. Jarrell is a revolutionary social artist whose work is reflective of African culture. The paintings are large mixed-media shaped canvas with bright vibrant colors, innovative in style and spiritual in nature. The Mansfield Art Center is thrilled to be able to introduce our community to Wadsworth Jarrell’s legacy and this body of remarkable work.

Massillon Museum: Rebecca Cross

In selecting Massillon Museum’s exhibition prize, we sought an artist whose work is inviting and accessible, visually stunning and provocative, and whose exhibition would engage our visitors beyond the Museum walls. Socially conscious and relevant messaging was also important to us. In Rebecca Cross’ installation, we found all these qualities, combined with sensitivity to space and viewer. We were drawn to the swirling motion of elegantly dyed silk textiles. The forms arranged in a circular shape assumed those of Lake Erie rocks, holding remnants of their earthen color, articulated with carefully drawn contours. Marco Wilkinson’s poem that accompanied Cross’s installation added another layer of interpretation. Together, the sculptural installation calls viewers to consider the complexity of our relationship with the lake, and by extension our responsibilities towards the environment.

The exhibition will be held in Studio M, a newly renovated gallery space dedicated to presenting contemporary art. We are excited to offer Cross the opportunity to engage Massillon Museum visitors with her tactile, memorable, and thought-provoking drawings in manipulated fiber.

Purchase Prize

cARTa: A Fixed Porch, 2018, Timothy Callaghan

The Cleveland Art Association’s history is rooted in Cleveland and Tim Callaghan is the quintessential painter of Cleveland. As such, he was the perfect choice to be our first CAN Purchase Prize recipient. Founded in 1915, the Cleveland Art Association (cARTa) is a nonprofit organization that promotes and supports the visual arts in the greater Cleveland community. cARTa owns a collection of paintings, drawings, prints, small sculptures, photographs, textiles, ceramics and glass by notable Cleveland artists which it lends to its members. Callaghan’s work, A Fixed Porch, will become part of this historic collection.

In Geoffrey Chaucer’s world of the Middle Ages, “familiarity bred contempt,” while in Tim Callaghan’s world of modern-day Cleveland “familiarity breeds affection.” Callaghan paints places he knows—everyday places with an attention to detail and beauty that lifts them from the ordinary and endows them with a sense of dignity. With a fresh approach to regionalism, Callaghan’s work is in a way somewhat reminiscent of the snapshot-like works of Ed Ruscha, Twentysix Gasoline Stations; yet while Ruscha’s work has a sense of cool detachment, Callaghan’s work is quite the opposite, imbued with a deep affection that only can come from an intimate understanding of his surroundings.

A Fixed Porch is the portrait of a house, a “homeless house” if there can be such a thing. Callaghan has abandoned some of the more stereotypical elements of Midwest Regionalism such as realism and a somber color palette and replaced them with gestural vibrant brush strokes evocative of Matisse cut-outs and saturated Southern California colors. Thus we, the viewers, are asked to see our surroundings with the eye of a traveler and sense value, rediscovery and wonder.

Cleveland Clinic: Construction, Jenniffer Omaitz

Given this opportunity to purchase work from the CAN triennial, it is important to us to add new artists to the collection. In the case of Jenniffer Omaitz, we have been eagerly following her work and career over the years. Her painting Construction is an exemplary work in the context of her paintings, and the harmony of movement, abstraction, geometry and gesture fits well within the context of our collection and aesthetic at Cleveland Clinic.

 Corrie Slawson, We Moved Suddenly … print making; collage; painting

UH: Purchase: We Moved Suddenly…, Corrie Slawson

University Hospitals has selected We Moved Suddenly to the Ideological Brink Where We Could No Longer Stand Each Other. We Heaped a Great Inferno into the Ocean Where It Boiled over to Form This New World, by Corrie Slawson, as the purchase prize for the University Hospitals fine art collection.

Corrie’s piece was selected for its wonderful use of color, imagery and mixed-media materials. The work feels very uplifting and evokes an understated energy which is an important component to the mission of the UH collection. This beautifully executed piece includes colorful realism imagery combined with abstract elements which are immersed throughout this signature work.

CAN Journal Prize: Kristina Paabus

By layering screen print and monoprint, as well as forms which despite their pure abstraction call to mind stones, landscapes, and rain, printmaker Kristina Paabus brought to CAN Triennial a series of works that make us think about life and relationships, about space and how it is divided and shaped. Paabus teaches at Oberlin College, has exhibited at 2731 Prospect, and has a busy year coming up with solo and group shows in Europe. We’re proud to have her work on the cover of this issue of CAN, and look forward to breaking news of her upcoming activities in a feature story soon.

People’s Choice Award: Jonah Jacobs, Internode #1

We won’t begin to guess what the people were thinking when they chose Jonah Jacobs’ sculptural piece Internode #1 for the inaugural CAN Triennial People’s Choice Award. However, it is impossible to mistake Jacobs’ distinctive style, which incorporates materials including “fire-sculpted cardboard, paint, dye, oatmeal, plaster, sand, and cotton swabs.” Jacobs’ work has caught the eye of judges in the past: he was the Best in Show winner at Waterloo Arts Juried Exhibition in 2016. Jacobs wins a check for $500, and he’ll be the subject of a feature in an upcoming issue of CAN Journal, which surely will dive into the mysteries of his materials and techniques.