Mar 202024

Akron Soul Train supports local artists through a residency program, exhibitions, and a shop in the front of the gallery which sells their work. Currently the gallery is showing work by Matthew Kurtz (work seen above) and Thomas Smith (work pictured below). Both artists are approaching the environment in different and interesting ways. Several of Kurz’s video pieces are focused on his upcoming performance for the solar eclipse. His photographs, for which he’s created additions to scenes he finds, are charming- as is his sculpture- a piano that moves his natural additions when played.

From the gallery-

Performance artist Matthew B. Kurtz presents Drumroll for a Total Eclipse: A Preliminary Exhibition, a prelude to his upcoming live performance with this year’s solar eclipse. Kurtz’s work fuses place, nature, sound, rhythm, and movement to question the mystery of existence. With humor, curiosity, and in tandem with his surroundings, Drumroll explores the process of trying to understand wonder.

For his upcoming performance on April 8, 2024, Kurtz will invite an audience to celebrate the total eclipse. Collaborating with the cosmos, he will perform a drumroll before “totality” passes over Northeast Ohio and creates the natural phenomenon known as “the blackout.”

“When I engage with a site for an art piece, I consider its history, recontextualize its objects, and insert my identity through intuitive gestures. I was raised to believe that humans are supposed to connect the lines between their innate feelings and the unknown. Making art is [my] attempt to reclaim this existential directive. These experiences are documented so outside viewers can participate in my examination of ambiguities, systems, and the sublime.” — Matthew B. Kurtz

Kurtz is also a musician. Check out his Instagram and Bandcamp to listen to his 2021 album 107.

For Thomas Smith’s sculptures he creates natural environments within man-made structures and uses the results as a commentary on the growth and sustainability of suburban development.

From the gallery-

In SUBARIUM II reprise, Thomas Smith combines materials from big box stores with contained terrariums to generate a sense of security and quality. However, upon second look, the viewer may see past the façade of what may look safe to what is substandard. Perhaps it is even denying growth and positive change. Smith’s sculptures dare to ask questions about survival, public image, and the landscape of today.

“Akin to an ecosystem enclosed in a terrarium, my sculptures depict a vibrant but, ultimately, unsustainable artificial environment. As plants within the terrarium grow, competition for space intensifies, turning the once-comfortable space into a struggle for survival. The metaphor extends to suburban America, where curated living conditions prioritize aesthetics over functionality, reflecting an impermanent American Dream.”

— Thomas Smith


Both of these exhibitions close 3/23/24.​

Nov 042023

Jenn Ryann Miller’s charming creations, seen above, are currently on view at Tempus Projects in the Kress Contemporary building in  Ybor City for her solo exhibition, Hobby House.

From the gallery-

Hobby House– where art meets self-indulgence, subversion meets humor, and creativity meets absurdity. With ceramics, sterling silver, a little photography and a lot of gemstones Hobby House presents objects that are meticulously crafted for no good reason other than looking fabulous. Hobby House contemplates the places and practices of art making with humor, irony, and a little wit.

Jenn Ryann Miller explores materiality and aesthetics through sculpture and painting. With a background in functional ceramics, her work subverts tradition and process through the experimentation with oblique materials and forms. Miller has been part of numerous solo and group exhibitions in Florida and the United States. Originally from Connecticut, she received a BFA from the University of Connecticut and MA from the University of South Florida. Miller currently teaches ceramics at the University of South Florida.

In another of the Tempus Projects gallery spaces is Justin Myers‘ exhibition, What Did We Use To Say, seen below, which uses collage along with a video and sound installation to explore the concept of memory.

From the gallery and artist-

What Did We Use To Say? Trying to remember things from the past from distorted and fragmented memories. Is that really how it happened? With intention, the mind has the ability to erase just as easily as it does create. The mind decides what stays and what gets purged for the new. Are you in control? Or is the subconscious doing as it pleases? In this work, I explore deconstruction, recomposition, and sampling, and their impact on memory and perception.

Justin Myers, a Tampa Native, is a member of music projects Justin Depth, Alien House, and Diamond Man. He also is the co-founder of Tampa-based record label, Image Research Records.

Justin studied printmaking at HCC in Ybor City and began experimenting with sculpture and installation-based works during his time there. Myers finds inspiration from discarded imagery, random thought, and spontaneous actions. Over the last 10 years, Myers has participated in numerous exhibitions at Tempus Projects, including the T-shirt shows, Mix Tape Show, Return to Sender, and an offsite window installation as part of a partnership with Downtown Tampa and more. In 2020, Myers partnered with his brother, Jeremy Myers on a virtual exhibit with Tempus Projects titled, “One Day of Perfect”. Justin has been involved with Tempus Projects since his music project Alien House made its debut performance in November of 2011.

Both of these exhibitions are on view until 12/14/23.

Sep 012023

Music producer Rick Rubin’s book, The Creative Act: A Way of Being, is a quick and enjoyable read. The short chapters are broken up with smaller ideas, like the ones pictured above. Although a lot of it felt familiar, there were definitely moments and ideas that were helpful and even inspirational.  His advice on editing and completing creative projects I found particularly useful. Others may find they get more out of other sections.

If you don’t know much about Rubin’s career, he’s had an amazing creative journey himself. From founding the famous Def Jam label in college and playing in a punk band to producing albums and songs for a wide variety of musicians. From early hip hop artists to Red Hot Chili Peppers to Johnny Cash and Jay Z to Adele- it’s worth checking out his wide range of work.

Below is LL Cool J’s Going Back to Cali which Rubin co-wrote and produced. Rubin talks about working on this song, as well as many others, in this article in Rolling Stone magazine.

Aug 312023

Kelley Walker, “Pioneer PL-518 7-inch Series Love (Is The Answer)” (2015), Pantone 4-color process silkscreen with acrylic ink on MDF

The work above is Kelley Walker’s Pioneer PL-518 7-inch Series Love (Is The Answer) (2015) from the exhibition Terry Adkins, Christian Marclay, Kelley Walker, that was on view at Paula Cooper Gallery in NYC this past March.

From the gallery about Kelley Walker-

Known for his manipulation of long-circulating images from advertising and other sources, Kelley Walker examines the consumption of visual culture using collage, screen-printing, sculpture, and installation. Bose Glitter Stock (2016) and Untitled (Screen to Screen) (2017) contain montages of superimposed silkscreen images printed on polyester mesh substrate, the armature for screen printing. Pioneer PL-518 7-inch Series Love (Is The Answer) (2015) is a grid of silkscreened panels that reproduce vinyl records and their packaging. Walker referenced the legendary Pioneer brand of turntables, famously advertised by Andy Warhol, as part of his investigation into the visual culture of the 1970s and 1980s New York disco scene.

Below is the song that the title references. It is included among the records pictured and is from the Four Tops album, Still Waters Run Deep.

Four Tops- Love (Is The Answer)

Jul 212023

“Precarious recline”, 2015, Found lawn chairs, strap, bottle

This sculpture, Precarious recline, is from Bjorn Copeland’s 2015 exhibition Over Easy at Various Small Fires Los Angeles. It was created using discarded furniture found around East Los Angeles.

The exhibition also included a sound sculpture, Scrambled Eggs, Mexican Radio Edit (2015).  It was made in collaboration with the artist’s Black Dice band mates Eric Copeland and Aaron Warren, and combined signals from multiple car radios in an unpredictable and erratic disharmony. The resulting composition was synthesized in real-time and constantly changing.

The video below is for White Sugar, from Black Dice’s 2021 album Mod Prog Sic.

Apr 202023

“Pink and green music”, 2023

“What we re-quire is…silence”, 2023

“Within the Lattice”, 2023

“An Ode to Hugs”, 2023

It’s the last week to see Kennedy Yanko’s exhibition, Humming on Life at Jeffrey Deitch gallery’s Wooster Street location.

Tonight, 4/20/23, she will be at the gallery discussing her work with Alteronce Gumby.

From the press release-

By employing paint skin and metal in ways that both transmute a bodily essence and reposition the weight of gravity, Kennedy Yanko wields materiality and abstraction with the possibility of intervening in the viewers’ perceptions. In Humming on Life, Yanko‘s first exhibition at Jeffrey Deitch, the artist continues this exploration.

Although the tactile quality and lyrical processuality of Yanko’s works emphasize their sculptural quality, the artist considers herself foremost a painter. In her new body of work, Yanko takes an approach to sculpture that reconnects it, and her, with painting. In recent years, the weathered paint and bruised patinas found on salvaged metal relics informed her palette for the paint skins. Now, the artist is introducing colors to the metal she finds. By painting the metal directly, underpainting, fire-cutting forms and compositions, and then crushing those new shapes, Yanko is expanding the definition of painting through her process. She remarks:

Working this way has been labor-intensive and has exposed me to sounds, like water thrashing inside a metal tank while cleaning it. Feeling that thrashing—hearing a power that felt like infinity incarnate—encouraged me to probe water as a medium and examine my intuitive method more closely, which seemingly only comes from physical exchange: input and output, expansion and contraction. In pulling water apart and becoming more curious about its behavior and participation, I’ve enjoyed revisiting the ways in which it’s a web of activation, a source, and information. It’s a cue and a salve and carries with it tinges of what it’s gone through.

What water did for me in that moment was to point back to the livingness of my medium — of the metal and paint skin I rely on — and wash away the binary between life and matter. Erasing this divide expands the possibility of experience; it gives materiality an abstract power that we yield to. It’s that vitality, found in color, form, attention and consciousness, that I hope this work can be a language for.

The “Illuminating Sound” presented apart of the exhibition, composed by Samuel Kareem, is derived from audio Yanko recorded while working in the yard. Kareem expanded one striation of sound within the clip—one small element he excavated from the layers of water, metal, paint and movement—and created 10 ten unique soundscapes. Each of the scapes corresponds with a sculpture within the show, and illuminates it. Listen to “Illuminating Sound” here.

Dec 162022

Themes for a Left-Handed Pitcher”, 2021: “Still Life with Left-Handed Pitcher (04-06)”, 2021. serigraphy, pochoir, collage, acrylic ink, gouache on paper; “Left-Handed Pitcher Still Life (II)”, 2021. particle board, acrylic ink, concrete, polymer clay; “Perfect Games (Theme for a Left-Handed Pitcher)”, 2021. projected sound from single speaker. 9:00 min. (infinite loop)

While at Dunedin Fine Art Center to hear Ry McCullough’s talk, I was reminded of seeing this work at the USF Contemporary Art Museum last year as part of Skyway 20/21: A Contemporary Collaboration. The discussion was great and touched on a lot of interesting topics, especially around his use of collage.

From the gallery’s wall plaque about Themes for a Left-Handed Pitcher

Inspired by the perfect game Los Angeles Dodgers’ pitcher Sandy Koufax threw against the Chicago Cubs in 1965, Themes for a Left Handed Pitcher engages compositional fielding of the domestic pitcher and black and white balls in a callback and comparative dialogue between sculptural objects and works on paper. Inviting playful and participatory discovery, the project includes an amplified palindromic sound score and a zine, which are both available to download. Interspersed with abstracted baseball references, the project evokes a change-up between the fabricated and found forms, the known and the unknown.

On McCullough’s website you can find the downloadable zine and the audio file mentioned in the description above and its a chance to check out more of his impressive collage pieces. For his most recent work, also check out his Instagram.

In addition to his independent practice, he is part of the collaborative project, small_bars, with artist Nick Satinover.

From the small_bars information page about the project-

Within their collaborative practice they explore the structural authority of their band name moniker, small_bars. This ambiguous name serves as an all-encompassing banner which simultaneously referencing pixels on a screen, lines of type of a letter press, halftone processes, and the physical clubs and venues their former bands played. As small_bars, McCullough and Satinover are able to generate a collection of collateral materials such as audio recordings, videos, printed ephemera, performative events, and structural arrangements, all of which support and expand the notion of what the moniker suggests. This collaborative effort seeks to use the form of a band-like entity to create a space where the acts of publishing, printing and performance co-exist.