“Upstairs Downstairs” at Summit Artspace

Arts / Article

Although Summit Artspace, a Knight Arts grantee, has been mounting exhibits of the works of area artists for more than 10 years now, it really seems like just yesterday when the first display was up on the building’s first floor. The building had recently opened, temporary standing walls were used for the works (if memory serves) and the walls needed a good painting. But it was a successful enterprise.

Parallel with that was the opening of studio space on the large third floor for area artists (with reasonable facilities and good rental rates).

The two enterprises are coming together for the first time in a special way, with the current exhibit with the third floor resident artists having its own show in the main galleries on the first floor – “Upstairs Downstairs” as it were.

From the studios of Joan Colbert (printmaking); Cari Miller (mixed-media); Terry Klausman (sculpture/drawing); Carolyn Lewis (painting); Katina Pastis Radwanski (painting/sculpture); Bradley Hart (photography); Ron White (sculpture/drawing) and Connie Bloom (art quilts), visitors get to see some of the best of their work.

Bradley Hart, “Hole in the River.” Photo courtesy of Summit Artspace

A look at their methods indicates how diverse these artists are in the forms their pieces take, but so does the materials used – charcoal on paper; digital C-print; cotton, thread, crystals; linoleum block print; welded steel; steel and wood; and the more familiar oil and acrylic paintings.

Pretty much organized by artist (with some exceptions for sculptural works), there’s no unifying artistic idea for the wandering viewer to consider from varying artistic expression. That leaves the viewer the opportunity to see what catches the eye in a much larger and deliberate setting. With that done, one can go upstairs and stroll through the artists’ workshops to see related kinds of works.

Ron White has a very, very large charcoal on paper work, “Woman of 2000,” that wraps around a corner of the gallery. It would be hard to miss, and is otherwise maybe the stand out piece in the exhibit. The image depicts a woman who has two hands on her right side and one on the left attached somewhat to a well-built male reclining figure. The work clearly has its sensual edge.

Terry Klausman has eight welded steel pieces in the exhibit that fit the medium. Three works are sculptures in his “Industrial Series,” but of special note are three related works called “Umbilicus,” “Umbilicus Minor,” and to some eyes the best of the series, “Umbilicii.” The large sculptures seem to be waiting for a garden setting to claim them.

All works in the exhibit deserve a good look, but some seem to lure the eye – Joan Colbert’s linoleum block prints which bring out her interest in a kind of esoteric iconography (her “Monk[s]hood” and “The Night Wolf” in particular); Cari Miller’s acrylic paintings “Round and Round” and “Memories” that are abstract images with a playful aspect about them; and Katina Pastis Radwanski’s painted steel work “Daedalus and Icarus,” which is a nod to the mythic tale of Icarus who flew with wax wings too close to the sun and crashed.

Cari Miller, "Akron Art Museum." Photo courtesy of Summit Artspace

Cari Miller, “Akron Art Museum.” Photo courtesy of Summit Artspace

“Upstairs Downstairs” will be on display 12-9 p.m. Thursday and 12-5 p.m. Friday-Saturday through February 22 at Summit Artspace, 140 E. Market St., Akron; 330-376-8480; www.akronareaarts.org. Admission is free.