Summer 2023 Artist Spotlight – Sophia Grollmus, Tom Owen, Josie Kirby, Michael P. Knueven
Author : 1628 Ltd.
4 minute read | Author : 1628 Ltd.
4 min read
Summer is the season of boundless possibilities and pure joy. As the days get longer, the city of Cincinnati comes alive through the hearts of its residents. The energy in the air is strong; it brings people together to create memories in smiles and laughter. There’s so much to appreciate – from being around those who bring joy to exploring the vibrant colors of freshly bloomed flora.
There’s no better way to embrace this positivity than through art. The city has been blessed with a thriving creative culture, offering up talented artists that have the same goal as the summer breeze: to bring smiles to everyone’s faces. The purpose of the Saturation exhibition is to use vibrant colors to bring a sense of brightness and positivity to those who enter. Featuring art created by local artists, viewers are able to experience an environment full of laughter and an overall feeling of cheerfulness.
The pieces showcased in this exhibition capture the vibrant aspects of modern pop culture as well as the free-spirited energy captured by artists. Each work carries a unique message intended to evoke a smile, a laugh, fond memories or even just an “Oh Wow!” reaction. With every wall of this exhibition offering up color and excitement, it’s easy for patrons to find something new that will leave them
feeling energized and inspired.
This summer, 1628 is proud to give a spotlight to 19 talented artists from the Cincinnati, Dayton, and Northern Kentucky area in our exhibition, Saturation: An Exploration of Vibrancy. This show features artists including Sophia Grollmus, Tom Owen, Josie Kirby, and Michael P. Knueven.
Sophia Grollmus is an abstract painter and sculptor based in Cincinnati Ohio. She works predominantly with canvas and acrylic paint but she does blend found materials into the pieces. Sophia is heavily influenced by abstract expressionism and the colorfield painters. She uses their influence, especially the usage of color in her works today. She has shown in several galleries and she was awarded an artist residency at Trestle Art Space (Brooklyn, NY).
“My artwork is about abstracting everyday emotions into color and forms. A large part of my practice is intuitive but I tend to draw influence from everyday objects and break them down until they are non-objective forms. Then I put these forms into an environment to live in, it could be an environment that I create on a canvas or it could be an existing environment such as an outdoor area. Color is tremendously important in my work.”
Tom Owen is based in Newport, KY. His work has been exhibited for over twenty years in several US cities including New York, Miami, Santa Fe, Cincinnati, and in the San Francisco Bay Area; it’s been featured in several publications as well. His work is in both private and corporate collections across the US. While primarily self-taught, Tom holds a B.S. in English literature and a M.A. in psychology, both of which inform his art making.
“My work has evolved over time, moving from organic shapes that floated on the canvas to more brightly colored minimalistic, geometric shapes and forms that fill the entire space and substrate. Subtle texture and layering mirror my own psychological experiences of the subject. My media has evolved too; moving from acrylic to flashe, a highly pigmented, water-based paint which I apply using squeegees and a variety of straight edges, pulling and scraping large forms onto cradled wood panels or stretched canvas. Within these forms is a subtle interplay of color and movement, inviting the viewer to look closer. As curator Jen Tough notes, ‘It’s a characteristic of his current work that makes it so interesting and accessible. The work really stands out in its boldness, simplicity, and how different it is from the typical minimalistic genre. His paintings have this very subtle and warm interplay of color that really draws you in.’”
Josie Kirby, a Cincinnati-based artist, creates abstract mixed-media paintings of objects that evoke an essence of portraiture. She received her BFA in 2000 from the University of Cincinnati, College of DAAP, where she became greatly influenced by abstract expressionism and the modernist movement. Throughout her artistic career, Josie’s subject matter has evolved to reflect moments that bring her joy, which is evident through her bright color pallet. Her current abstractions of shells exhibit her love of the ocean through an interwoven compilation of layers. With each intentional mark, she breaks down the tangible nuances within each shell to discover its’ form, formation, and deformation. Josie recently had her art featured on the 2023 winter cover of Venue Cincinnati magazine along with an awarded 2-page spread.
“My creative process of abstraction begins with a seemingly simple shell. That small object has the power to transcend objectivity, psychologically transporting me to the ocean, and inspiring my abstract expression. I have been visiting the beach with my family and collecting shells for as long as I can remember. With each painting, I mentally escape to the place that has always enabled me to reset, look inward, and dream. I am drawn to shells with perfect imperfections, possessing unique nuances, transformed by the ocean. Beaten and swallowed by the tide, brittle, pitted, and salted. Reaching beyond initial conception, these seashells have a distinctive beauty created by the unapologetic effects of nature, portraying all the wonderful intricacies of a life well-loved and worn. Through abstraction, I interpret details within each shell to reflect the continuation, and transformation of life.”
Michael P. Knueven is a lifelong Cincinnati native, the middle child of a large family and part of the baby boomer generation. He is married with three adult children. He has pursued Art since childhood and is a graduate of Edgecliff College with a degree in Fine Arts. He became a professional visual artist for a local department store and a sporting goods chain. In later years he became a high school art teacher. Now retired he enjoys creating whimsical abstract paintings.
“My whimsical action-reaction abstract paintings give my viewers just enough expression to catch their interest and let them explore the surface to find their own interpretation without a specific intent. I like to create a what-if atmosphere in my work, a reaction to initial action where I explore color, shape, form and movement. Then the painting takes on a life of its own. With splashes of color and bold movement I’m looking to unlock intense emotion and generate a thought provoking experience.”
The Summer 2023 Exhibition will be on display May 22nd – August 24th, 2023.
Multiple pieces in this exhibition are for sale. If you are interested in purchasing any artwork from the show, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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