For fledgling artists, the Incubator Studio at McGuffey Art Center is an opportunity for growth. Each spring, renting artists Susan Northington and Eileen French select up-and-coming area talent to use the Incubator for a calendar year that runs from July to June, and ends with a group exhibition. “The studio has been set up to nurture and help grow these artists in their artistic practices,” says French.
This year’s show is titled “Cracked,” and like nearly all current gallery openings, it’s online due to the social distancing requirements necessary to control the spread of coronavirus.
French says the show reflects the artistic growth experienced during the artists’ time in the creative space. “At the end of an incubation period, the egg cracks open and the new life emerges,” she says. “So we felt that ‘Cracked’ was an apt title for their end-of-year show.”
The exhibition features the work of Piers Gelly, David Joo, Logan McConaughy, Lisa Philipps, Hannah ThomasClarke, and Abigail Wilson, and the artists chose their own submissions for the online gallery.
Gelly’s oil on canvas pieces are both vivid and intimate, especially “Confession,” which depicts two men in what appears to be a hushed conversation.
McConaughy’s multiple submissions become revelatory through their intricate, orderly patterns, described as the “interpretation of connections between neurons and the intersections between human intent and the energetic flow of our planet.”
In her ongoing project about endangered species, Philipps’ oil on canvas entries, such as “Last Call: Red Fox,” are bright and endearing, and gently balanced by monotypes that include large abstract florals, and a pair of lacy panties in black and white.
ThomasClarke uses embroidery to craft complex scenes that capture “the intersection between the expectations of traditional 1950s-era family dynamics and contemporary society.” “Dishwasher Chronicles” is a busy, thought-provoking caricature that twists and turns through domestic stereotypes.
Wilson’s unique interdependent style is based in symmathesy, exploring a natural order of connection using linoleum block prints, watercolor, pen and ink, and cut paper.
While it’s impossible to declare any one of the diverse works as a favorite, French says the submission that surprised her the most is Joo’s “Imaginary Landscape lll,” a sculpture created with handmade paper. “I was a witness to his process of papermaking, and was fascinated with the amount of effort that went into just that,” she says. “But to then have such a stunning work of art emanate from that was very thrilling to me.”