Fall Arts Guide 2016: Greater Columbus

Chris Gaitten

A motley assemblage of the city's best talent

The handcart is a lot to grasp, piled so high and heavy with tools and toys, odds and ends. The janitorial wagon turned artistic installation in the Columbus Museum of Art attempts to breathe new life into Gabe Michael Kenney's found objects, while also providing a glimpse inside his kaleidoscopic mind-the patriotic colors of the Merry Pranksters counterculture movement, actual kaleidoscopes, which evoke sacred geometry and youth, and safety gear as a statement about the toxicity of printmaking chemicals. Even the installation's title, "Station," is a tangential reference to "Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey."

Its primary purpose is to impart creative fun, but it also poses a challenge to the viewer. Most art is obvious; you know it's art without question, Kenney says. "I want people always to approach my work and immediately think, 'What is this?' "

"Station" serves as a microcosm of CMA's Greater Columbus exhibition, a conglomeration of styles and subjects that celebrates the visual arts winners of the Greater Columbus Arts Council's Individual Artist Fellowships and the Artist Exchange Program residencies in Dresden, Germany. In addition to Kenney, this year's fellows are illustrator Glenn Holland, mixed-media artist Jason Schwab and potters Lisa Belsky and Lance Thompson. The Dresden Residency recipients are Janis Mars Wunderlich, a ceramic sculptor who teaches at Ohio State, and Jill Raymundo, who uses a laser cutter to burn images into canvas.

Tyler Cann, CMA's curator of contemporary art, is excited about Greater Columbus' breadth and range of work, all of which is on display through Nov. 6. "It is a pretty fantastic mix, and one that actually sits nicely in a room together," Cann says via email. "I hope that people get a sense of the strength, ambition and diversity of the visual arts in this city."