By Aileen Blaine
In the wake of a new year, the McDonough Museum of Art will kick off 2022 with four new exhibitions by artists from across the country. Covering a variety of themes — from the pandemic to purgatory — the exhibitions showcase the complexity of modern life through a multitude of mediums.
Museum director Claudia Berlinski said despite the ongoing pandemic, the museum has found ways of rolling with the punches and staying adaptable.
“We’ve learned so much during the initial surge [of the pandemic] about planning and being flexible and trying alternatives,” she said.
Artist and professor at the University of Akron Matthew Kolodziej’s exhibit, titled “Open Storage,” uses depictions of architecture and archeology to convey ideas of time, dislocation and the formation of one’s perception.
“Right before COVID, I was able to go to Japan,” Kolodziej said. “I was interested in looking at spaces there that were, on the one hand, very contemplative, and then on the other hand, very high-tech and very fast.”
The works on display are connected to each other, but change scale, perspective and detail. They come together in a collection showcasing textured paintings and a large graphite airbrushed work that covers the walls of the gallery where the pieces are displayed. Kolodziej has also created large scrolls that will hang from the gallery’s ceilings.
“We will have some musical recitals in this space — which we’ve been doing for a few years — and that’s always been interesting,” Berlinski said. “With Matthew’s scrolls hanging, I think it will be a dynamic addition to the performances.”
Kolodziej will host an artist talk at 5:10 p.m. Jan. 27 at the museum.
The exhibition will also feature a photography exhibit by Donald Black Jr., a Cleveland native. His series “A Day No One Will Remember” focuses on the ordinary days of childhood play, imagination, innocence and creative expression through the eyes of Black children. The inner-city setting serves as a way to communicate the impacts violence, poverty, grief and trauma have on children living in such “stark and gritty” conditions while also bringing light to the resilience of children’s imaginations. Black will host an artist talk at 5:10 p.m. Feb. 23 at the museum.
Piotr Szyhalski’s “COVID-19: Labor Camp Report” series uses ink drawings and accompanying captions to attempt to make sense of and document the current crisis amid the pandemic. The artist, whose works have been shown at venues such as the International Center of Photography and the New York Expo Film Festival, is a professor of media arts at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.
Artists Sarah Bowling, Han Diaspora Group, Laura Hudspith, Rosabel Rosalind and Rebecca Shapass have come together in a collaborative effort that combines painting, installation, sculpture and performance art to explore such themes as control, power, memory and transformation. The collection, titled “There Are Seams in Purgatory,” presents the works of the Carnegie Mellon University graduate students in an emerging artists showcase.
“It’s always fun for me to see how students react to the work and having professors bring in their classes,” Berlinski said.
An opening ceremony will take place from 5–7 p.m. Jan. 21 at the museum. Guests are asked to wear face coverings regardless of vaccination status and to refrain from attending if feeling unwell. For more information, visit ysu.edu/mcdonough-museum