Arts: City Center Gallery

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

The OSU Urban Arts Space, a university-owned gallery in the former Lazarus building Downtown, found itself with some unused space.

The hallway entrance, a long, white-walled path to the Urban Arts Space's front desk, has now been transformed into a student-run gallery space, City Center Gallery, that students are optimistic won't go the way of its namesake.

"We felt like how the mall failed is kind of happening a lot in Columbus. A lot of buildings are just being left vacant and being torn down," said Jackie Little, gallery curator and OSU senior. "We wanted to revive it and pay homage to it since we're across the street [from its former site]."

City Center Gallery limits exhibitors to artists who are just starting out. And the gallery's student directors gain experience curating, installing and managing.

The gallery's first show couldn't pair more perfectly with the gallery's intentions. Chine-colle, an artists' collective of CCAD students Ross Caliendo, Alex Ross, Todd Pleasants and Brian Sharrock, has always explored themes of decay, renewal and consumerism.

The group made a direct connection to the city's Downtown shopping mecca upon being accepted for the show.

That's especially the case in Pleasants' living pieces. In "Lazarus," tropical fruit and two loaves of bread - one carved with the word "Macy's" and one with "JCPenney" - sit atop a table. A plastic cover over the table is made opaque by condensation from the fruit's decay. It's a display of lush bounty left to dissolve.

Wood carvings hang on one of the gallery's walls. Pleasants carved out the Visa and Mastercard logos, then filled the recesses in with moss that's molding under a plexiglass cover.

Other parts of the exhibition are 3D and interactive, such as Brian Sharrock's "Untitled (Come Listen to Yourselves)," a series of three listening stations at which prerecorded YouTube user comments play in an illustration of pop culture's online conversation.

The Chine-colle artists started out as performers, and for the show's opening, they put on a show depicting a getting-ready-for-work routine. The leftovers - real beard hair, toothbrushes and a makeshift sink - sit at the entrance of the gallery, with a videotape of the bit projected onto the wall.

Little said the artists' work was ideal for the space.

"We really liked the idea of the artists' collective, and that it was four people coming together," Little said. "That's kind of what we're trying to do for the community, bring it together."


Through August 7

City Center Gallery, OSU Urban Arts Space

50 W. Town St., Downtown