By Joseph Pratt
The Southern Ohio Museum and Cultural Center (SOMACC) is currently welcoming the community to view two different galleries that showcase very unique forms of art.
The Richards and Mehser Galleries will be showcasing the art of Barbara Vogel in an exhibition they are calling “PRESERVED: Barbara Vogel.” The art on display is a unique form of photography that is completed by a hand-held scanner.
Vogel produces an accurate, exact representation of the figure she is capturing with her scanner. She then paints over the image and uses other methods to edit and blur out the sharp edges, detailed features, and all of the defining attributes that make the picture what it is. Vogel then coats the images in wax to preserve them, which also creates a muted film that removes lighting and reflections to allow the viewer a better focus on the images.
“Vogel has applied an encaustic coating, to preserve the image—the memory, just as we would preserve fruit in a jar with a layer of wax,” Southern Ohio Museum and Cultural Center Artistic Director Charlotte Gordon said.
The final product of Vogel’s work is a high-quality image that has been blurred in key locations, but remains sharp in the minds of viewers. The pieces of art are representations of what memories are and how they look to the person recalling them.
Vogul will be at the opening reception, but she will also be giving a more detailed presentation on her artistic process on Thursday, Nov. 12 at 6 p.m. at the museum.
The second exhibition that the museum will be showcasing is “The Space Between: The Work of Clara Crockett and Alan Crockett.”
The exhibition is a tribute to the lives and artistic creations of two, both very different, forms of art that push the envelope and the comfort zones of the viewers. Alan Crockett’s work is a bright and colorful abstract style that has hidden images throughout the various pieces to give meaning to the color and lines of his work.
Clara Crockett takes a very different approach, providing a juxtaposition between the two art styles. Clara’s work is done in charcoal and paper-mâché only. Her work showcases puppetry, both in three dimensional styles and in sketches. Common themes in her work include nudity, disfigurement representation, and interactions with animals in theatrical ways.
Clara’s work heavily features themes of theatre and dance, which she has a background in. Many of her puppets have been used to create movies, which will be publicly shown in a museum space for the first time on Saturday, Sept. 26 at 3 p.m. The short films feature the people and animals in her collection, as they try to discover the answer to “what is being?” Clara will also be at the showing.
The husband and wife team of 50 years have created a huge juxtaposition of art, which is highlighted in their exhibition. Gordon says it is very different from what the museum typically brings in, but she says the museum is available for patrons, to explain the pieces and guide the public to understanding them for what they are.
“The Crocketts might have moved to New York, quickly becoming a part of that grain and culture, but they have a long history of Ohio art and I think it is important for us to continue their exposure in this area,” Gordon said. “It is important to us, as an Ohio museum, to continue to show these artists who have been so important to Ohio art for such a long period of time.”
All three artists will be at the gallery opening on Saturday, Sept. 26, between the hours of 3 and 6 p.m.
“Our job, as an art museum, is to be an entity for people to come for a formal education and experience on the subjects of art. I feel like this is going to be a new topic for patrons. It may push boundaries of their comfort zones a little bit, but we will have extended labels out to help the dialogue and departure points,” Gordon explained. “I feel we offer everything from watercolors to historic works, but this is modern and what is being made today.”
The Southern Ohio Museum is at 825 Gallia St., in the heart of Portsmouth’s downtown area, and has two entrances. The entrance on Gallia leads to the lobby and the Sixth Street entrance features a handicapped ramp. The museum is open Tuesdays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturdays from 1-5 p.m; closed Sundays, Mondays and major holidays. A museum official can be reached at 740-354-5629.
Reach Joseph Pratt at 740-353-3101, ext. 1932, or by Twitter @JosephPratt03.
A photo of a Vogel original
A photo of an Alan Crockett original