“Painters of Interest” August 19 – September 16, 2016 Cincinnati Art Galleries 225 E Sixth Street #1 Cincinnati, Ohio 45202

October 8th, 2016  |  Published in Early Fall 2016

Cincinnati Art Galleries has been around long enough to outlive a slue of quality galleries which have slipped away, simply because the business of art fluctuates so easily ..and often.  Now, however, a new face is in charge. The gallery has been purchased by David Hausrath, formerly the general counsel for Ashland Oil for 32 years. Upon retirement, he chose to travel in Europe, visiting artists, galleries, and forming a collection from both here an abroad  The continuous involvement with art became so focused that he bought CAG from Randy Sandler who created the gallery 37 years ago. He also serves on several area arts boards, and is currently Treasurer of the Board of The Taft Museum of Art.
Hausrath’s ambition is to identify artists whose work deserve to be a part of our lives by gracing our homes and businesses.  He will find there’s plenty of talent here from which to choose.   As the first show under Hausrath’s ownership, “Painters of Interest” hews nicely to that intention with a smorgasbord of local big names and a goodly sampling of media , styles, and subjects.
Landscapes have headed up art sales for several hundred years, as more of the population began to find the convenience of city living entailed long periods of less contact with nature.  Kay Hurley has turned this into her bailiwick, after a workshop with Wolf Kahn, excelling in both pastel and oil.   She captures the magic of light on atmosphere with few interruptions and soft peace. Cynthia Kelly Overall employs a familiar theme in “Friends”, portraying birds in a deeply blue forest interior.
Mark Daley’s “Winter in the City” echoes some of American’s finest impressionists.  His goal is explained as capturing serenity, wonder, and joy.
Of course, Ray Hassard  mixes up a bit drama with lots of color and smidgeons of exotic places and times stirring in a true talent for draughtsmanship that is hard to beat.  Hassard teaches pastels and oils at The Barn in Mariemont.  His past association with photo-realism has grown into a well-respected reputation for excellence.
And figures, still life, flowers and narrative are there in even-handed presence.  Keith Klein includes a rather threatening white “Dutch Treat”,  a powerful blossom nearly frame to frame about 3 feet by 2 feet.  Kate Lachman is changing her specialty from clowns to delicate narrative portraits of women.  Most curious, but captivating are those which place the subjects behind rain-drenched windows, seemingly imprisoned there.
Small, but perfect, fruits by Brian Burt are miniature treats, as are the fly-fishing lures arranged by Chris Griffin-Woods, whose arrangements of these ornamental tempters lack but a possible one or two strokes to wander off into surrealism.
Over the many years of association with the Cincinnati area artists,  some are so good and so welcome to see again, that they are close to becoming Cincinnati classics.  There’s Greg Storer, whose sure and energetic paint quality stirs up the artist in everyone.  Tom Bacher’s fluorescent “Brooklyn Bridge” takes us all to  paint in a time capsule, as it lights up in the dark.   Leslie Shiels’ “Eight and a Half” happy hunting dogs
 are ready to hit the field  She is another painter’s painter who portrays the hunt with passion. Kevin T.  Kelly takes hard edge over the edge.  He exhibits four pieces of clear color, flawless drawing, and comic book style.   Yet these four pieces are confusing.  Kelly’s usual work is crisply filled with brilliant color and innuendo.  Yet here are 3 small paintings of feet waving in the sunshiny heat beside flat sea, and a small blue, black and white “Nocturne” about one-eighth the size of one of his full paintings.
Will the real Kevin T. Kelly please stand?
As if to make up for this oversight, there are several paintings in oil and cold wax by Cindy Walton,  four of which have been sold already,and all of which are layered with hypnotic strokes, scrapes and graffiti in lemony-gray shades broken with just the right subtlety of varying color in the same tonal range. Walton’s  colored freshness sadly tinges nearby neighboring works  with tired age.  A very difficult gray patterned wall was chosen on which to exhibit five, including the four sold,  of her pieces which held their own with unpredictable elan.
Most of the choices for this debut show did illustrate Cincinnati’s taste.  It was pleasant, no shocks, and by and large safe.  The only problem with “safe”  is a lack of excitement, and that’s what art is all about.
–Fran Watson

Comments are closed.