Weston Art Gallery in the Aronoff Center Reopens on Saturday, January 30

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Weston exterior, 2008, photo Tony Walsh.

with Three New Exhibitions Linked by Social, Political and Historical Investigations

CINCINNATI, OH— The Cincinnati Arts Association’s Alice F. and Harris K. Weston Art Gallery in the Aronoff Center for the Arts is pleased to announce that it will reopen on Saturday, January 30 with three new exhibitions linked by social, political, and historical investigations: And the Presence of Light, a new immersive installation by Johnny Coleman (Oberlin, OH); A Piece of my Mind, a recent series of uniquely executed textiles by renowned quilt maker Carolyn Mazloomi that reveal and challenge political and social injustice; and A Sense of Place,  a new series of black and white textiles by Heather Jones that blurs the boundaries between fine art and craft and addresses themes of migration, and historical and personal narratives.

All three exhibitions will open to the public on Saturday, January 30 from 11:00 a.muntil 4:00 p.m.  Due to ongoing safety concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, an opening reception will not be held. Regular daily visitation during the Gallery’s new hours (Wednesday-Saturday from 11:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.) will be available throughout the run of the exhibition (January 30 – February 27, 2021). Admission remains free and open to the public, and no reservations are required. The health and well-being of the Gallery’s guests, staff, and artists continue to be our number one priority. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have implemented new Health and Safety Guidelines that can be found on our website at CincinnatiArts.org/waghealthandsafety.

In the Weston’s street-level atrium, Johnny Coleman (Oberlin, OH) constructs a new installation honoring the historical plight of Lee Howard Dobbins, an adopted child, and eight enslaved women seeking freedom and a future in Canada in 1853. And the Presence of Light imagines an immersive dreamscape within which the recurrent theme of light – the North Star, the light in the window, the Eternal Light of the Spirit within each of us – is linked across time and space to a specific narrative of freedom. In this space, the voices of eight contemporary Black women from Oberlin, where the body of this child lies at rest, speak to the eight women who carried him there. Incorporating sound and video, and lovingly embellished with repurposed wood that echoes past histories, the piece is composed as a Gesture of Acknowledgement and Gratitude for their love, determination, and tenacity.

Johnny Coleman is an interdisciplinary artist and educator. His sculptural work and sound installations are composed as intentional gestures in homage and prayer. He holds the Young Hunter Professorship of Art and Africana Studies at Oberlin College where he serves as a tenured faculty member teaching studio art and African American studies. He earned his B.F.A. degree from the Otis Art Institute of the Parson’s School of Design and his M.F.A. degree from the University of California, San Diego.

His work has been exhibited in numerous galleries and museums, including Cleveland’s Museum of Contemporary Art, the David Zapf Gallery in San Diego, the Akron (OH) Museum of Art, and the William King Art Center in Abington, VA. His published works include “Landscapes of the Mind: Psychic Space and Narrative Specificity” in Space, Site, Intervention: Situating Installation Art from the University of Minnesota Press.

Coleman is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including grants from the Ohio Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, ART MATTERS, and the Russell Foundation. In 1997, he was named Outstanding Alumnus of the Year by the Otis Institute of Art and Design. In 2003, he received the Cleveland Arts Prize for Visual Arts.

And the Presence of Light is generously sponsored by Brian and Helen Heekin
Co-sponsored by Vanessa and Rick Wayne

The visual and metaphorical links between textiles and human beings are fertile ground for the narrative quilts of Carolyn Mazloomi (Cincinnati, OH). Considering that every person has a “cradle to grave” relationship with textiles, she recognizes how quilts articulate a powerful language of familiarity through which they may speak to and about our experience as human beings. Paying tribute to vulnerable people (the disenfranchised, dispossessed, and outsiders) and the injustice and harsh realities of the daily lives of those in need inspires her to create artwork depicting their circumstances.

A Piece of My Mind features a recent series of mostly black and white quilts and screen prints completed by Mazloomi in the past five years. Covering a wide range of pertinent social and political topics, including immigration, migrant workers, systemic racism, interracial marriage, and sexual exploitation, she empowers her quilts as messengers to raise awareness and give voice to social injustice in all its forms. The stark contrast of her black and white quilts embolden the messages she conveys and suggest the political divide and societal failures that allow these injustices to continue. Additional works by Mazloomi feature more positive outcomes in pieces that celebrate family unity and reconciliation. 

Carolyn Mazloomi has had a remarkable and accomplished career as an artist, historian, curator, author, and lecturer. Trained as an aerospace engineer, she turned her sights and tireless efforts in the 1980s to bring the many unrecognized contributions of African-American quilt artists to the attention of the American people as well as the international art communities. From the founding of the African-American Quilt Guild of Los Angles in 1981 to the 1985 founding of the Women of Color Quilters Network (WCQN), Mazloomi has been at the forefront of educating the public about the diversity of interpretation, styles, and techniques among African-American quilters, as well as educating a younger generation of African Americans about their own history through the quilts the WCQN members create.

She has an extensive exhibition history participating in more than seventy-four exhibitions in venues such as the Mint Museum, American Folk Art Museum in New York City, National Civil Rights Museum, Museum of Art and Design, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum, and the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington. Her quilts can be found in private collections around the world, as well in distinguished museum collections in the United States.

As a curator Mazloomi has curated twenty-one extensive exhibits of quilts made by members of the Women of Color Quilters Network, many of them traveling exhibits. As an author she has published twelve books highlighting African-American-made quilts.

She has been the recipient of many state and national honors, among them the 2003 Ohio Heritage Fellowship Award, the first such award for any Ohio citizen. In 2014, she was named a National Heritage Fellow by the National Endowment for the Arts and was awarded the Distinguished Scholar and Celebrated Artist Lifetime Achievement Award by Faith Ringgold’s Anyone Can Fly Foundation. In 2016, Mazloomi was inducted into the Quilters Hall of Fame Museum.

A Piece of my Mind is generously Co- sponsored by Sara M. and Michelle Vance Waddell,
and Mu Sinclaire and the Sinclaire Family Foundation.  
Additional support provided by Lennell and Pamela Rhodes Myricks 

Through her work, Heather Jones (Springboro, OH) investigates the historical and socio-political relationship between women and textiles and women’s work. The relationship between gender, place, time, and culture serves as a means to connect with her Euro-Appalachian ancestors who settled into southern Ohio and eastern Kentucky, many of whom made goods with their hands as their livelihood and connection to their ancestral homes. Carrying on the tradition of woman as maker, Jones pushes the boundary between fine art and craft. 

A Sense of Place showcases a new body of work by Jones using black and white fabrics that are influenced and informed by place, in particular, Cincinnati.  Using geometric patterns inspired by traditional quilts, Jones explores themes of migration, historical and personal narrative, visual communication, feminism and the role of women in society (particularly that of the mother), and the traditional role of handicrafts in a culture.

A native Cincinnatian, Heather Jones studied art history at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Art, Architecture, and Planning, earning both a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts. Her work has been exhibited widely at national and international venues including the Taft Museum of Art, Cincinnati, OH; Art on Paper, New York, NY; Aqua Art Miami, Miami, FL; Marta Hewett Gallery, Cincinnati, OH; Iowa Quilt Museum, Winterset, IA; New England Quilt Museum, Lowell, MA; the University of California, Berkley, CA; Boecker Contemporary, Heidelberg, Germany; drj- dr. julius | ap, Berlin, Germany; Five Walls, Melbourne, Australia; and M17 Contemporary Art Center, Kiev, Ukraine. Jones’ first book, Quilt Local: Finding Inspiration in the Everyday was released in October 2015 by STC Craft, an imprint of Abrams, NY.

A Sense of Place is generously sponsored by Barbara and Gates Moss
Additional support provided by Liz and Steve Scheurer

All dates and times are subject to change. 

Since 1995, the Weston Art Gallery’s mission has been to present and support the visual arts of the Tri-state region through exhibitions and special programs. Its objectives are to foster an awareness and appreciation of the visual arts among area residents and to support the development of professional and emerging artists of the region. 

Weston Art Gallery 2020-21 Season Sponsor: DEE and TOM STEGMAN 

Weston Art Gallery in the Aronoff Center for the Arts
650 Walnut Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202-2517
513/977-4165

Wed. – Sat. 11 am – 4:00 pm.

www.westonartgallery.com • WestonArtGallery@CincinnatiArts.ORG • Admission is free.

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