Joy Zitko, Esra Kanisicak, Susan Milinkovich, Gary Dangel, and Maxwell Redder

Nature can be many different things. It is the environment around us, the ecosystem sustaining us, and the instincts woven into our very being. Nature can help create a culture, a cuisine, a religion; but in its fullness, it is also full of contradictions. It creates in the same breath that it breaks down. It inspires awe as it does fear. It is the deepest ocean in the same way it is the farthest star. Our relationship with it is similarly complex. It is key to our survival, yet we destroy it. It fosters our wellbeing, yet we isolate ourselves from it. It is untamable, yet we still try to contain it. Somehow all of these things can be true. And somehow, the art created in its name can address all of these things. From the Hudson River School capturing the sublime beauty of untouched America, to the Land Artists creating ever-changing works from mud, stone, and grass, nature has been the subject and the tools of artists since the dawn of time. Whether realistic or heavily stylized, representational or abstract, artists have always been attracted to depicting nature and their own personal or cultural relationship with it.  This fall, 1628 is thrilled to be showcasing 27 primarily local and regional artists in Deeply Rooted, Deeply Held, which speaks to the continuation of this millennia long dance between artists and the world they find themselves in. It explores our extraordinary planet and our connection to it – the emotions it inspires, the comfort (or danger) it brings – and urges us to appreciate and protect it, to closely hold what has been rooted within us for so long. Featured in this show are artists Joy Zitko, Esra Kanisicak, Susan Milinkovich, Gary Dangel, and Maxwell Redder.      Joy Zitko is a proud Cincinnati native and mother of three, who in 2019, traded in her professional career to pursue her true passion full-time. She has a love of art and artistry, and enjoys collaborating directly with her clients to create one-of-a-kind custom pieces. Joy uses a range of mediums, styles, and subjects in her works, and loves to share her passion with others. “I often find inspiration in nature, and during the pandemic when time at home was commonplace, I found myself walking regularly and seeing even greater beauty in the space around me. I began focusing more of my work on vegetation, flowers, and natural landscapes, and found peace in bringing that exterior beauty into our home. While the subjects of my art vary, the passion behind my work is always rooted in the natural world. Each of us has our own view and concept of the world, but whether creating for a client, a friend, or just for me, I aim to achieve an emotional response with my work.”       Esra Kanisicak is an interdisciplinary artist and Turkish native living in Cincinnati, Ohio. Throughout her life of 16 international moves, many job titles, and raising a family, art and creativity are her steadfast anchors in life. Her life-long dream to be formally trained in fine arts led to pursuing her BFA from The University of Cincinnati’s DAAP school of art. Her roots in scuba diving and the beautiful Mediterranean sea inspire her passion for ocean conservation. She is also an artist on the spectrum and as such hopes to remove the stigmas around neurodivergent people and increase awareness and acceptance of neurodiversity through her art. She explores abstract concepts and creates individualized perspectives for her audience. What is common and ever present in her work is lyrical energy, organic movement, and dynamic color. “My work Deeper Roots is a recognition of our need to reconnect with nature on a deep level and to find ways to help mother nature out of this crisis that we have caused.”       Susan Milinkovich began photographing with her father when she got her first Brownie camera in elementary school. Her dad gave her the gift of “seeing” a photograph and both parents gave her a love of nature and an appreciation for the beauty to be found in our everyday world. While Susan enjoys capturing the larger landscapes, it is the intimate details of a landscape, structure or flower that draws her attention. Susan has studied with Bill Lea, Will Clay, Charlie Cramer, Charlie Waite, John Barclay, and John Shaw. Susan has participated in FotoFocus and exhibits at numerous galleries in Cincinnati. She shares her passion for photography by teaching classes and workshops on a variety of photography topics. “I’m a nature photographer because it allows me to connect with the beauty of the world around me, to feel like I am part of something bigger than myself, and to visually communicate that experience with others through my photographs. Elliot Porter said, “Photography is an art of observation. It has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them”. I like to explore a scene and look for shapes, lines, colors, textures or patterns. I like to find something unique in a scene and then share that photographically with others who might not see the world in the same way. These small details help to tell a story and often create a sense of awe at the beauty and diversity of nature. Awe is what stops us in our tracks and takes our breath away and makes us feel utterly alive.”       Gary Dangel is a University of Cincinnati DAAP alumni and has worked as an illustrator, animation designer, set designer, package designer, art director, and creative director. He is the Founder of Grow 06, the Walnut Hills urban agriculture network. His day gig is to lead initiatives to address food insecurity and food justice issues in Walnut Hills. Gary has always felt a deep sense of awe and wonder when immersed in nature. His images are a celebration of the beauty of nature – her patterns, both seen and unseen – and why being connected to this natural world matters. “This work celebrates the fauna that lives in the air or the water – birds and fish. I’ve always been fascinated by these creatures. There is an inherent beauty in the various bird forms, the songs they sing, and their graceful motion. Fish have a beautiful array of patterns & colors, shapes & sizes as well. There is an underlying pattern made from these creatures of the murky deep. In these images, the more you look, the more you see. In the words of René Magritte, ‘Everything we see hides another thing…’”       Maxwell Redder received his BFA from the University of Cincinnati in 2011. His interests pull from elements of the natural world, primarily focusing on the fungal kingdom. “I am enamored by the fungal kingdom and its function of feeding on death. Throughout history mushrooms and fungus have been surrounded by myth and symbolism. The importance of the fungal kingdom is only recently beginning to be explored in depth. I create my own unique color palettes when painting mushrooms as a way to exemplify their uniqueness and variety.” Multiple pieces in this exhibition are for sale. If you are interested in purchasing any artwork from the show, please contact us at  
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