Category Archives: Toledo art scene

The Alchemist’s Dream at 20 North Gallery, Toledo

The Alchemist’s Dream, a three-person exhibit of work by metalsmith Tom Muir, ceramicist Tom Marino …and me, K.A. Letts, will open tomorrow night at 20 North Gallery in Toledo. The exhibit will be on view until December 24.

I’m delighted to be showing my work alongside these two distinguished and very talented artists. For more information about our work, gallery location and hours, go here

Primavera, by K.A. Letts, 2021, acrylic on paper, 38″ x 50″
Crucible Series: Silver Spill by Tom Marino
Twin Risers, by Tom Muir
Origin Story, by K.A. Letts, 2021, acrylic on paper, 38″ x 50″

A Three-fer at River House Arts

Diamond Lips, by Crystal Miller, 2021, acrylic on canvas, gems, glitter, 20″ x 30″ photo courtesy of River House Arts

Or maybe it’s a five-fer… anyhow, until October 1, visitors to River House Arts in Toledo’s Secor Arts Building can see work by three young painters from Cleveland in the ground floor space, while on the building’s second floor a collection of intriguing objects by a young glass artist from Bowling Green State University lurk. As if that weren’t enough, some small nocturnal landscapes by yet another accomplished BGSU graduate occupy the gallery on floor 6. Any one of these shows is worth a trip to Toledo.

Waking Dream

Portraiture is having a moment these days, especially among young Black artists who are busily inserting themselves into the contemporary art conversation through figurative painting. This small group show, Waking Dream, provides two current students and one recent B.F.A. from the Cleveland Institute of Art with space to examine the contradictions inherent in our societal ideas of beauty, race, gender and femininity.

Eruwesi Archer’s paintings aim to disorient and provoke, and they do. Verging on caricature, Archer’s acid toned, oversize subjects confront with us with questions and propositions and observations about the world as they find it.

Portrait of the Disoriented, by Ewuresi Archer, 2021, acrylic on canvas, 30″ x 20″ photo courtesy of River House Arts

Samantha Schneider (B.F.A. 2021) paints larger-than-life pictures of young women in exaggerated cinematic colors reminiscent of sci-fi movie stills, and Crystal Miller embellishes her neon-colored beauties with craft materials like yarn, rhinestones, beads and foam, evocations of not only of how a young Black woman looks, but how she feels.

Firefly, by Samantha Schneider, 2021, oil on canvas, 36″ x 60″ photo courtesy of River House Arts

Ritual Relations

British artist Theo Brooks (BGSU M.F.A. 2021) has created a collection of sculptural glass artworks that present an exotic past–or future– through ritual objects from the artist’s imagination that reference his Cypriot heritage.

Ritual Relations, by Theo Brooks, installation in second floor gallery, photo by K.A. Letts

Lawn

On the sixth floor of the building, Amber Koprin (BGSU M.F.A. 2020) delivers some low key, voyeuristic thrills with her tiny, exquisite nocturnal views of deserted suburban scenes.

A Sweeping Shadow, by Amber Koprin, 2021, gouache on paper, 4″ x 4″, photo by K.A. Letts

For more information about the artists and gallery hours, go here.

Toledo Shows this month

Is it just me , or are there more shows to see this month than usual? This is AUGUST people! Aren’t we supposed to be on vacation?? It must be pent-up demand from the pandemic.

There a couple of interesting shows in Toledo right now in case you, also, have a pent-up desire to get back out there:

Not Enough by Jessica Tenbusch, 2021, colored pencil and acrylic paint on toned paper, 24 x 18 inches.

Jessica Tenbusch has a solo show at River House Arts through August 22nd. Tenbusch has always been a superb craftsman, and she has lately turned her hand (literally) to finely detailed drawings. The fifteen artworks in the show are extravagant technical feats of draftsmanship, colored pencil and acrylic on paper. The nine medium to small-size pictures of domestic flowers and birds, bisected by thin lines of obscure provenance, have a distinctly mid-century, retro feel due to color choice and the toned paper upon which they are executed. Nostalgia seems to be an animating force for these as evidenced by the titles: Suburban Springs and Floral I (My Father’s Flowers) to name just a couple. There is also a tasty suite of six 4″ x 4″ pencil drawings of anchovies, most of which were already sold when I visited the gallery. to see more go here.

Barcelona by Jonathan Ralston, 2013, oil on canvas, 16″ x 20″

At 20 North Gallery, an artist who is new to me, Jonathan Ralston, is showing a collection of paintings entitled Shadows and Enlightenment through September 25th. Light and loss characterize the notably uninhabited spaces in the artist’s vision, particularly the low, warm light of late afternoon and the textures of ruined architecture. The masonry features appear to be mostly European. None of that gritty American urban decay here; the mood is decidedly romantic. To read more go here.