Year-in-Review: Best visual arts events of 2013

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Since I’ve only recently taken over arts coverage for Alive, former arts reporter Jackie Mantey and I are collaborating — best collab since Madvillainy — to discuss the best visual arts of 2013. We’re each providing our three favorite visual art moments from the last year.—Jesse Tigges

“Horror Business” at Rivet Gallery

Brian Ewing absolutely killed it with his first solo exhibition in Columbus. With a reputation as one of the best rock poster designers around, Ewing took that expertise and transformed it into prints with a spectacularly layered effect that’s both beautiful and badass.

Using pop culture icons and infamous horror film monster images as a base, Ewing hand-drew and screenprinted skeletal and muscular details over these notorious images to create complex prints. But the depth doesn’t stop there.

Ewing also added a metallic-like element that pops in different ways depending on perspective. Move slightly and a whole new component of each print comes to life. Ewing has signed and numbered prints of the exhibit available on his website JT

TheBilly Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum’s grand opening

Ohio State’s expansive collection of cartoon and comic art has been a hidden gem on campus for a number of years, but given the proper setting (a refurbished Sullivant Hall), it has the ability to truly shine.

The two current exhibits (“Treasures from the Collections of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum” and “Substance and Shadow: The Art of the Cartoon”) offer the chance to see some of the best the institution has to offer, and a look at how these works were made. “Treasures” is a permanent “best-of” exhibit featuring artwork and artifacts highlighting the breadth and depth of the collection — more than 500,000 original pieces. “Substance and Shadow” examines the various elements, methods, tools and techniques that cartoonists utilize.

Possibly the coolest thing about the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum is its accessibility. If you want to view one of its pieces/collections, all you have to do is put in a request. Who doesn’t want to hold the original “Peanuts” or “Bone” pages? JT

Joey Monsoon atLindsay Gallery

Joey Monsoon is a self-taught artist who represents some of the best work within our local arts community. His paintings — portraits of gangly, frail individuals — are viscerally emotional. And that’s the point.

Monsoon paints individuals to look weak or vulnerable as a transformation of true beauty, a beauty that resides within. Upon an initial glance, these individuals look pained or distraught but Monsoon’s intention is for the viewer to discover the beauty and strength under the exterior.

Monsoon knows we all go through hard times in life, but it’s how we strive past them that give us our distinction of character. By capturing this dichotomous sentiment with his work, Monsoon displays a wisdom as strong as his technique.JT

“Simulacrum” at CCAD’s Canzani Center Gallery

So sorry if you missed this. You probably did because this multi-artist exhibit didn’t get nearly enough attention. “Simulacrum” displayed artwork by nationally based artists that re-created normal objects using unexpected objects. For example, there was a life-size VW bus made out of wood and a massive microphone chandelier made out of foam. I wish this exhibit would have a second show at CCAD so I could see it again ... and tell more people to go see it. JM

“Mark Beyer: With/ Without Text” at OSU Urban Arts Space

Let’s just go ahead and call 2013 The Year of the Comics. So much rad stuff happened on the Columbus arts scene by and for local and national comics and cartoon artists (and their growing legion of fans). Fitting, then, that this comprehensive retrospective of the underground comic artist, which featured more than 70 of Beyer’s original drawings and MTV animated shorts, kicked off the year. Columbus should be proud to have been the home to the first major U.S. exhibition of Beyer’s work. JM

Agora X at Junctionview

Agora was an institution in indie Columbus art events. Unfortunately the 10th rendition of the annual festival that celebrated and displayed local art of all kinds was the last as its homebase, the sprawling studios of Junctionview warehouse, prepared to be razed for a development project. The bittersweet ending was mostly sweet as indie art lovers celebrated the decade-long impact Agora and Junctionview had of positively shaping the city’s image of its talented artist. JM