Year in Review: The Year in Exhibitions

Jim Fischer

Once again, the breadth and depth of the Columbus arts scene was on full display in 2015. Local artists both established and emerging made great work. Galleries and other art spaces provided opportunities and a keen eye. Visiting artists and larger institutions added variety and influence.

All of which makes it difficult to pare a year down to a select few. Yet we managed to settle on the following 12 as representative of the quality of work on view during the past year.


Feb. 6-March 22 at Columbus Museum of Art

This was the largest exhibition of mobile photography held in a museum in the world. Recognizing the power of social media (primarily, in this case, Instagram), the exhibition featured more than 240 photographers and more than 300 images, 100 of which were printed and hung for display. The "community" largely self-curated, and the CMA did the heavy lifting.


Feb. 20-March 7 at Cultural Arts Center

Multimedia artist Walter Herrmann's solo show used the title as a metaphor for community or personal network, as a period of personal and professional changes and challenges found Herrmann leaning on friends and colleagues. The installation featured 13 hives built from thousands of blocks of wood cut from found and salvaged lumber, including construction projects at Glass Axis and Columbus Idea Foundry.


April 17-May 17 at MINT

MINT Collective was formed to provide opportunities for young artists and creatives, and "New School" was right on point. For this exhibition, established artists and educators sought work from emerging artists in their personal networks, then juried the submissions, ultimately selecting pieces from 15 undergraduate artists from nine different schools, and representing a wide variety of media, including sculpture and drawing.


April 29-July 17 at Fresh A.I.R.

This exhibition and a companion, "Beyond Our Walls" at OSU's Urban Arts Space, featured 32 artists who had previously exhibited at Fresh A.I.R. The scope spoke to the significance of the impact the gallery in both educating the community about mental illness and in supporting the artists it serves. Each artist has a personal story, and collectively, this art tells that story with beauty and creativity.


May 1-2 at The Vanderelli Room

The reclusive creative – Beoddy worked in comics, pastels, paintings and performance art – who preferred to be known for his work, or better, preferred his work to be what was known, received his due a solo show at Vanderelli showcasing his varied skills. Sadly, this pop-up exhibit was encouraged, in part, in response to Beoddy's terminal cancer. Beoddy passed away two weeks later.


May 30-July 11 at OSU's Urban Arts Space

Creative Arts of Women members Allison Beugner, April Sunami and Barb Vogel challenged members of this collective to repurpose used and/or discarded materials in creating new works of visual art, installation or performance. In the end, 43 CAW members created works that pushed their personal artistic boundaries, working with either new/different material, working in larger scale or even in new mediums.


June 25-Aug. 8 at King Arts Complex Elijah Pierce Gallery

"Cypher" was among several exhibitions both created and curated by David Butler while he served as artist-in-residence at King Arts, creating a welcoming space for a nuanced examination of current issues affecting African-Americans. This exhibition concerned hip-hop, its lyrics and storytelling. While it featured some pieces that were playful, it still made strong statements. Butler included his own work alongside that of several emerging artists.


July 4-25 at ROY G BIV

The artists in this four-woman show - multidisciplinary artist Erbacher and Page's Maria DiFranco, Amanda le Kline and Jessica Naples - used the written word and its imagery to create engaging and fascinating pieces. The two- and three-dimensional pieces bridged through material and narrative.


Sept. 11-26 at 400 W. Rich

400 W. Rich's Promenade Gallery hosted Sue Cavanaugh's massive and striking installation. "Gathering III" was three installations using 35-foot parachutes as well as previous installations reconfigured into new compositions that flowed off the walls in an ambitious use of the warehouse-like space's hallways and ceilings. The parachute pieces were painted and hung in such a way as to call to mind a watery aesthetic.


Nov. 7-current at PM Gallery

Former Stache's/Little Brothers impresario Dan Dougan lent a broad selection of pieces from his personal collection to PM for this exhibition. Most of the work is by local artists, including Charles Wince and Daniel Gerdeman, and was hung at one of the two music clubs helmed by Dougan from the 80s to the 00s. To be clear, this is not memorabilia, but art collected by Dougan.


Dec. 9-16 at OSU's Hopkins Hall

Spearheaded by Ohio State University Department of Art professor Amy Youngs, "BioPresence" was about sensing, acknowledging and celebrating animal life, primarily where it intersects with the OSU campus. Participating artists are students in the Art & Technology program as well as faculty and other artists who had done work related to the theme. The exhibition was a fascinating collection of installation, video and technology.


Dec. 5-current at Little Fish Gallery

This delightful space's alternate take on the selfie featured each studio artists' visual interpretation of themselves and those most important to them. (Little Fish exhibits one-of-a-kind works of art created by artists with developmental disabilities, enabling them to channel their creativity through uninhibited self-expression). The project challenged participating artists to redefine how they see themselves and the people that mean the most to them.