Karen Chambers

Karen S. Chambers with an M.A. in Art History from U.C. has written extensively about fine art, craft, and design for international publications. She has also worked in museums in the Midwest, galleries in New York, and as an independent curator.

Stephen Berens: Thinking of Pinturicchio (While Looking Out Sol LeWitt’s Windows and Elizabeth Bryant: Sol LeWitt Studio Still Lifes, Carl Solway Gallery

Stephen Berens: Thinking of Pinturicchio (While Looking Out Sol LeWitt’s Windows and Elizabeth Bryant: Sol LeWitt Studio Still Lifes, Carl Solway Gallery by Karen S. Chambers In the summer of 2010, L. A.-based artists Elizabeth Bryant and Stephen Berens, who happen to be married to each other, spent time in Sol LeWitt’s studio in Spoleto, […]

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Jonathan Queen’s “Fresh Harvest” Mural at Kroger Headquarters

Size matters. Seeing Jonathan Queen’s mural, “Fresh Harvest,” on Kroger’s corporate headquarters downtown in reproduction is nothing like standing in front of it. (It’s visible from Walnut and Central Parkway.) Queen, who is represented by Miller Gallery, is primarily known for his small-scale still life paintings. When asked to submit a design for the commission, […]

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Be Easy: Ceramics by Katie Swartz, 1305 Gallery

I first encountered Katie Swartz’s work in “All the Usual Suspects” at Thompson House Shooting Gallery (see aeqai.com, July 2012). She showed three crocheted animals: “Bartholomew,” 2010, an 11” tall, cuddly bear, and two friendly octopi: “Mario,” 11” tall, and “Myron,” 9” tall, both 2011. In that review, I placed her work in the context […]

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All the Usual Suspects at Thompson House Shooting Gallery

By: Karen S. Chambers The Thompson House Shooting Gallery’s exhibition — “All the Usual Suspects” — is oddly titled since it suggests artists who are well known or familiar. But the participants are emerging and unfamiliar to most people although co-curators and gallery directors Jennifer Edwards and Jennifer Feld know them well. This is the […]

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Full of Color: Suzanne Fisher at The Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center

By: Karen S. Chambers When you walk into Suzanne Fisher’s exhibition at The Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center (one of six shows presented under the rubric “Full of Color”), you enter a world of wonder. In fact, if Fisher had given her show its own title, it would have been “Natural Wonders.” At the […]

Ohio to the White House: Photographs by Matthew Albritton, Taft Museum of Art

In the exhibition “Ohio to the White House,” appropriately at the Taft Museum of Art, Matthew Albritton has documented the birthplaces and boyhood homes of the seven Ohio-born presidents. Their terms account for half of presidential service between 1869 and 1923. During that time only three presidents hailed from outside the Buckeye state. Albritton’s lush […]

Looking Glass: Work by Alice Pixley Young

It took a while to fall under the spell of Alice Pixley Young’s solo exhibition, “Looking Glass,” at PAC Gallery, through April 14. This was not aided by the persistent and annoying high-pitched sound that emanated from “You are looking for something that no longer exists” tableau. I’m certain it was an attempt to transport […]

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“Through the Windshield OTR: Recent Photographs by Jens Rosenkrantz, Jr.,” at PAC Gallery

“Through the Windshield OTR: Recent Photographs by Jens Rosenkrantz, Jr.,” pretty much describes what’s on view at PAC Gallery, which is now open only by appointment. Rosenkrantz has photographed the grotty Over the Rhine neighborhood in the rain through a car windshield. But instead of being gray and depressing, these photos are bright and upbeat. […]

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Winter Solace, YWCA Women’s Art Gallery

Rather poetically, the announcement card for “Winter Solace” says the two-woman show of Kim Flora’s paintings and Trina Feldhake’s ceramic baskets “reflects the quiet, the surprise, and the texture of the winter season.” It does. At least in part. essay of education To start, a group of Flora’s haunting encaustic-and-oil-over-digital-transfer panels immediately captured my attention […]

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Renovation of the Schmidlapp Gallery, Cincinnati Art Museum

At the Cincinnati Art Museum, I always breezed through the Schmidlapp Gallery with its antiquities on my way somewhere else. Well, that will never happen again since the gallery has been renovated to present “18 of the Art Museum’s most iconic works of art,” according to the wall text.* That declaration is unnecessary since the […]

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Through a Dark Wood: New Glass Works by Steven Ramsey

  Steven Ramsey’s exhibition of paintings on glass and glass vessels, “Through a Dark Wood,” is enchanting, but not “enchanting” the adjective meaning “charming.” It is “enchanting” as in casting a spell. And Ramsey’s spell is hard to break. The show’s title suggests a fairy tale, and the works are reminders of the original darkness […]

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Speed Trials

“Speed Trials” was an essay commissioned for the catalog accompanying the exhibition “Trial by Fire: New Glass Work by Darren Goodman” at the Cincinnati Art Museum (CAM). Goodman was selected by the 4th Floor, an associated group of the Museum, for its biennial 4th Floor Award, a competition to promote local artists. j-hokkaido.com The organization […]

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Presages: Gordon Smith’s Kentucky Coal Country Photographs

Gordon Smith’s (b. 1952) black-and-white photographs of Kentucky’s coal mining country and its people are disturbing documents of hardscrabble life. His images tell the story of the miners and their families who endure the crushing poverty that forces them to destroy their very environment to survive. A part of the photographic tradition of social commentary, […]

Still[ed] Life: Katie Parker and Guy Michael Davis

Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but it can also be a sincere source of creativity. That tenet is confirmed by “Still[ed] Life: Katie Parker and Guy Michael Davis” at the Taft Museum of Art. In collaboration these two area artists (Parker is an assistant professor at the University of Cincinnati’s College of […]

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In Company with Angels:

              Seven Rediscovered Tiffany Windows Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933) has been a crowd-pleaser for decades (except for the period following his death as a bankrupt until the 1950s). Popularly he is best known for his leaded glass or stained glass lamps, first marketed in 1899. But his stained-glass windows […]

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Treeline: Photos by Kent Krugh

It might seem flip to start a review of “Treeline,” Kent Krugh’s (American, 1955- ) rather magnificent exhibition of 22 black-and-white photographs* of the Angel Tree, the largest tree east of the Mississippi, with the old chestnut that “you can’t the see the forest for the trees.” But in this case, the Quercus virginiana, an […]

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2 Artists/2 Perspectives

Jeff Shapiro and Don Reitz Although the exhibition at the Thomas J. Funké Gallery is named “2 Artists/2 Perspectives: Jeff Shapiro and Don Reitz,” the “perspectives” of these two ceramic artists seem more aligned than not. Visually Reitz’s and Shapiro’s work shares a roughness that borders on crude. It rudely slaps the refinement of much […]

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A Collaborative Show with Carrie Iverson and Nathan Sandberg “Tally: A Collaborative Show with Carrie Iverson and Nathan Sandberg” at Gallery One One at the Brazee Street Studios in Oakley has a somewhat misleading title since the only thing vaguely collaborative is that Sandberg’s installation piece, Roundtrip (2011, bricks, dimensions variable) comprised of used bricks […]

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For a Better World

                        Curators of exhibitions rarely receive more than a mention in exhibition signage–“curated” or “organized by.” But it is nearly impossible to talk about “For a Better World 2007” without acknowledging the organizer, Saad Ghosn (head of U.C.’s department of pathology and laboratory medicine […]

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Jun Kaneko

An Exhibition of Sculptures, Paintings, Drawings & Prints Entering Jun Kaneko’s solo exhibition at the Carl Solway Gallery, I was smacked in the face by his Nagoya Wall – Tile Wall, 1987, even though the ceramic work is installed on a freestanding wall at the back of the corridor gallery. It did more than draw […]

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In Dutch

Contemporary Design from Local Collections When I walked into “Going Dutch: Contemporary Design from Local Collections” at the Cincinnati Art Museum, I was overwhelmed—by the volume of words covering all four walls of the diminutive gallery—and under-whelmed by the number of objects on view—19. Given that ratio, I thought the words better be good. The […]

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Radha Chandrashekaran

Prints and Mixed Media by Radha Chandrashekaran. Walking into Radha’s exhibition at Xavier, I was transported to India, which I first visited too many years ago—first because I hoped to return and expected I would, but haven’t—yet. What evoked India for me were not just the Hindu gods and voluptuous goddesses and the decorative motifs […]

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Roy Johnston

Binding Connections Roy Johnston is not schizophrenic, but his solo show at the Weston Art Gallery sometimes seems to be a two-person exhibition. Like a group (two is a very small group) show, the paintings, drawings, and prints on view are related, but in this case it’s just Johnston pursuing simultaneously two strains of aesthetic […]

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Studio Glass

A Look Back Although Cincinnati can’t truly be considered a hot bed of glass art activity, another Ohio city—Toledo—played a seminal role in the development of what is known as the Studio Glass Movement. Studio glass describes glasswork created by an artist working directly with the material, often alone, and with the intent of making […]

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American Elegance

Chintz Applique Quilts at The Taft The contemporary art world has embraced quilts: Amish quilts with their color-blocked abstraction and the equally striking quilts from Gee’s Bend, which are perhaps less known. For six generations the women of Gee’s Bend, a rural community founded by freed slaves on an island in the Alabama River, isolated […]

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Kevin Kelly and Leslie Shiels

At Cincinnati Art Galleries There are twin—fraternal twin–shows at Cincinnati Art Galleries: Leslie Shiels: Lost Dogs Found and Kevin T. Kelly: Embracing the Yin. Shiels provides the hunting hounds, and Kelly the countryside they might roam. Shiels has returned to a subject that she has explored, with great success, in the past, but a wall […]

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Grace and Nepenthe

Kim Krause at PAC Gallery Unlike many artists in academia who spend more time teaching than making art, Kim Krause, chair of the Fine Arts department at the Art Academy of Cincinnati, found enough studio time in 2010 to create the seven large (up to 80″ x 72″) paintings and six mixed media on multimedia […]

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