Art Review by Roza Maille
Rebellion and art are one of those perfect combinations in life, like peanut butter and chocolate. Curator, Rob Lehr brings together some of the most unruly, rebellious contemporary artists in the region (and beyond) with the group show The Wild Ones. This salty and sweet perfection is strewn all over the walls at the Summit Artspace gallery in downtown Akron, creating an edgy compilation of contemporary artworks.
Artists address a variety of topics with their creations, including musicians, politics, mythical creatures, and racism. Alexander Strader’s unique illustration style shines with his portraits of Tom Waits, St. Vincent, Lorde, Bob Dylan, and David Byrne, all music rebels in their own right. Beautifully grotesque silhouettes of Susan B. Anthony and Hillary Rodham Clinton by Bonnie Stipe are made from collaged images of body parts and organs. Steve Ehret’s whimsical monster paintings showcase the artist’s love for the playful yet macabre. You may also see his creatures on W Market Street in the mural by Land of Plenty. “People Not Mascots II” by Andy Dreamingwolf addresses racism in the use of Native American mascots by sports teams such as the Washington Redskins and the Cleveland Indians.
Rounding off the exhibition are Nathan Abney, Adam Dumont, Hunter LV Elliot, Kat Francis, Kristin Galewood, Mike Giant, Phil Guy (AKA Burrito Breath), Mark Jaroszewski, Matt Labyk, Karen Leigh, Melissa Markwald, John Massie, Scot Phillips, Jesse Strother, Andrew R. Shondrick, Mark Soppeland, Joshua Vandegrift, Casey Vogt, and Charlie Wagers. All the artists bring their own interpretation of the theme which creates a rather diverse show.
In the rear gallery, Chris Ross’s Lucky Ten Series takes over the space. Black walls give the installation a stark, eerie feeling as you walk through. Ross addresses the often unattainable “American Dream” with images from vintage publications with the Lucky Ten symbol integrated into each. This series, that has taken over four years to complete, creates social commentary on advertising, graffiti, and popular culture.
The Wild Ones also extends its reach to Akron’s Highland Square neighborhood with No Comply: The Art of Skateboard Culture at Square Records. The show includes new Akron transplant Phil Guy (AKA Burrito Breath), local tattoo artist Jesse Strother, and local graphic designer/printmaker Charlie Wagers.The skateboards and prints feature artwork inspired by skateboarding culture with bright colors, naked ladies, weapons, skulls, and extra eyeballs to boot. Prints, skateboards, and other merchandise are available for purchase.
The Summit Artspace is FREE and open to the public Sat. and Sun. 11 am – 4 pm and is located at 140 E. Market St. in Akron, Ohio. Square Records is open Sun. and Mon. 12 pm – 6 pm, Tues. – Sat. 11 am – 9 pm, and is located at 824 W Market St in Akron.
Roza Maille works as the Inside|Out Project Coordinator at the Akron Art Museum. She is also a curator of contemporary art with past shows at the Box Gallery and Nightlight Cinema. She earned her MA in Arts Administration from The University of Akron and BFA from Kent State University with a concentration in Jewelry/Metals/Enameling. You can reach Roza Maille at firstname.lastname@example.org