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Artists defy portait’s definition

Portraits in Ohio.'

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The Riffe Gallery will highlight the portraits of 14 Ohio artists in the exhibit “Here’s Looking at You: Portraits in Ohio,” which opens today.

However, these are not your typical portraits, said Kay Koeninger, curator of the exhibition.

“My main goal in doing the show is focusing on non-traditional portraits,” she said. “I wanted to look at artists doing portraits in a lot of different ways.”

The pieces in this collection reflect the artists’ opinions of what a portrait is.

“The definition keeps changing,” photographer Chas Ray Krider said. “I don’t know if I could tell you what it is.”

Painter Amy Kollar Anderson said her definition of a portrait is “an image that represents either the interior or exterior of an individual.”

Former Ohio State lecturer and artist Marty Shuter, who graduated from OSU in 2001 with a master’s in fine arts, defines her pieces as portraits because “they’re human.”

The portraits vary not only in content and definition, but in medium as well.

“Most of the artwork is done in different materials,” Koeninger said. “There are some oil paintings but most are done in different mediums.”

Anderson, Krider and Shuter will each have five works in the show. Anderson’s pieces are all done with acrylic paint on canvas.

“A bunch even have glitter in the paint,” she said, “and some have gold foil. I like the sparkle.”

Krider’s five pieces are all photographs; however, none of them was intended to be a portrait photo.

“Through my process a portrait will sometimes appear, but it’s never my intention to create one,” Krider said.

Shuter’s pieces are all done in ceramic.

“I have two self-portraits in the show and three that are made up,” Shuter said.

Koeninger chose the 14 artists in the exhibition after a state-wide search.

“I traveled around the state to look at as many pieces of art as I could to pick pieces for the collection,” she said. “I wanted to make sure I had a good representation from different parts of the state.”

Some artists, such as Krider, were asked to submit pictures of their work while others were recommended to be part of the show, based on previous work.

“I had known Kay through various outlets,” Anderson said, “and she was familiar with my work and she saw these pieces at a show and asked if she could put them in the show she was doing in Columbus.”

Shuter said the Ohio Arts Council recommended him.

“The curator, Kay, came out to my house, looked over my work and picked the pieces for the show,” he said.

According to the Riffe Gallery website, four of the 14 Ohio artists included in the show hail from Columbus. The rest are from Dayton, Toledo, Cincinnati, Oxford, Mount Vernon and Cleveland. “Here’s Looking at You: Portraits in Ohio” will run from today through April 17.

“The most important thing is that people keep an open mind about what a portrait should be,” Koeninger said. “People will be surprised and see works of art they might not consider a portrait.”

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