Staff Pick: "CYA L8R"

Jim Fischer
"Tiger Tongue" by: Claire Smith

Here's a hug. A weird, plastic, bright, '90s-y hug. But in a world that's got as much going on as ours, a hug of almost any kind is a good thing.

Columbus artists Dana Lynn Harper and Claire Smith have their work featured in an exhibition at Ohio State University's Urban Arts Space that closes this weekend. "CYA L8R" features work that draws on the colors, textures and patterns of the '90s, when both women were growing up. Smith creates fiber sculpture with found fabrics, assembled with her industrial sewing machine. Harper is drawn to Plexiglas, reflexive plastics and theater gels.

"The reason I use past references is to try to initiate childhood memories in the viewer, to take them back to a childlike state," Harper said. "I believe that who we are as children is who we're supposed to be, our personalities their truest and not hardened by the world. I want to initiate or trigger that play, passion and joy in the viewer.

"Some art is supposed to respond to what's happening politically and culturally, and to make a statement on that. I feel like my work is not the opposite, but that it offers comfort and a warm hug, a bit of release and relief."

The patterns and colors of the '90s just happen to be the personal palette of both women, who grew up a few years apart in Upper Arlington, although they did not know each other until they were adults.

"I kind of look up to her as a big sister," Smith said. "We share the same foundations, developed under similar circumstances."

Urban Arts Space

Reception 5-7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17

50 W. Town St., Downtown