Monday, September 15, 2014

Fall Exhibitions at Carl Solway Gallery Opening Friday, September 19.


MARCUS RATLIFF: The Art World: Forty Years of Graphic Design

JODY ZELLEN: Time Jitters (FotoFocus Biennial)

TOM WESSELMANN: Steel Drawings & Prints

MARK COHEN: Grim Street (FotoFocus Biennial)
an outdoor installation presented in the Carl Solway Gallery parking area by Iris BookCafe and Gallery

September 19 – December 20, 2014
Opening Reception: September 19, 5-8:00 pm

Gallery Hours: Monday – Friday 9am-5pm; Saturday noon-5pm
Free admission


Regional Student Show  (FotoFocus Biennial)
Findlay Street Project Space
Across the Lobby from Carl Solway Gallery

October 8 – October 29, 2014
Gallery Hours to be announced
Opening Reception: Saturday, October 11, 11am – 2 pm



Carl Solway Gallery showcases recent collages and selections from the graphic design archive of Marcus Ratliff.  His intimate, small-scale collages incorporate paper imagery collected from countless sources over many years.  His cut and pasted fragments take narrative form, often incorporating literary or mythological references.  Ratliff’s collages mark his return to personal artwork after an extremely successful, forty-plus-year career as a graphic designer.  In his words, “It would have been strange for me to begin to paint on large canvases and return to the abstract expressionist paintings that I was doing in art school.  So I worked with paper, scissors, knives and glue, just like I did as a designer.” 

Trained as a painter in the 1950s, Ratliff designed books, catalogues, posters, advertisements and announcements for the most significant galleries and museums in New York City.  The Art World will feature an extensive selection from his graphic design archive. Several galleries have shown his collages in recent years, but the exhibition at Carl Solway Gallery is the first to juxtapose them side-by-side with his graphic design work.

A native of Cincinnati and graduate of Walnut Hills High School, Ratliff moved to New York City in 1956 to attend Cooper Union.  He befriended the pop artists Jim Dine, Claes Oldenburg, Tom Wesselmann and Red Grooms. Dine and Wesselmann also moved to New York from Cincinnati.  In 1959, during his third year of studies, while living at the Judson Student House off Washington Square, he started the Judson Gallery where he organized some of the first exhibitions for artists like Oldenburg and Wesselmann who would become lifelong friends.  After graduate studies in painting at Yale, Ratliff returned to New York where he apprenticed in letterpress printing with a former professor at Cooper Union.  The typesetting and printing skills he acquired led to his career in graphic design.  He briefly worked for Time-Life books and Fortune magazine, but he soon gained so much freelance work that he opened his own design studio.  Leo Castelli provided Ratliff with many early gallery contacts.  His design practice thrived through the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and on into the millennium. 

As the world of graphic design became more and more digitized, and galleries focused less and less on fine printed materials, his business gradually began to wane.  About eight years ago, he closed his office.  He now lives in Norwich, Vermont, where he makes collages, an art form he initially explored in the 1960s. 

Time Jitters

In conjunction with the FotoFocus Biennial, Carl Solway Gallery presents Time Jitters, an exhibition of artworks by Jody Zellen including digital photographs, paintings, animations and iPad apps that take their point of departure from news photographs culled from daily newspapers.

Zellen calls attention to image overload in contemporary society by creating her own over-saturated world. She begins with images culled from both digital and print media sources and alters them a variety of ways. In a series of photographic works, she reduces the web images to their essential pixels, distilling the photograph into a grid of colors. Line drawings made by tracing the printed newspaper images are overlaid on these grids of color, creating a push/pull between the abstracted grids of color and the contents of the source: politics, war, natural and man made disasters. While the original image is diffused, it never really disappears.

The various components in Zellen’s work serve as building blocks that are reconfigured in different mediums. A line drawing of a newspaper image is scanned and then used in a digital collage, which can become a template for a painting, a page in an artist’s book, an image in an iPad app as well as an animation in which the drawing process is made visible.

In the exhibition Zellen presents a grid of gouache on paper paintings. While the specific events may not be discernible, these 22 x 30 inch works collectively become a representation of the passage of time. The translucent colors of the paintings contrast with the harsher opaque tones in the digital photographs, which are in fact, their referent.

Zellen illustrates the process of creation via her animated works. Time Jitters is a nineteen minute, two channel video projection. In the work, a grid of twenty-five animations looping at different rates becomes a media wall -- a cacophony of pulsing color and flickering imagery. This frenetic display is seen in contrast to a large-scale projection weaving together a narrative from the various fragments. Seen together these works become a meditation on remediation, using the media presentation of world events as its point of departure.

Jody Zellen is a Los Angeles-based artist who works in many media simultaneously to make interactive installations, mobile apps, net art, animations, drawings, paintings, photographs, public art, and artists’ books.  Her recent installations include "Time Jitters," Grand Central Arts Center, Santa Ana, CA, 2014; "Above the Fold," The Halsey Institute at the College of Charleston, SC, 2014, "The Unemployed," Disseny Hub Museum, Barcelona, 2011.  Zellen was a 2012 recipient of a California Community Foundation Mid Career Fellowship and in 2011 she received a Center for Cultural Innovation Artistic Innovation Grant and a Fellowship from the City of Santa Monica to develop an artwork for mobile devices. Her six apps "Urban Rhythms," "Spine Sonnet," "Art Swipe," "4 Square," "Episodic" and "Time Jitters" are available for free in the iTunes app store. For more information, visit her website


Tom Wesselmann (1931–2004) is recognized as a leading figure in the Pop Art movement that came to prominence in the 1960s.  Throughout his long career, he infused the classical subjects of the figure, the still life and the landscape with his own graphic line quality and vibrant sense of color.

Carl Solway Gallery will feature an intimate exhibition of laser-cut steel drawings of the nude figure and a small selection of figurative and still life prints.  The steel drawings represent one of Wesselmann’s best-known technical innovations.  In 1983, Wesselmann sought a way to draw in steel.  He envisioned the illusion of lifting the lines from his drawings and placing them directly on the wall. Once installed, the pieces appear to be drawn on the wall. His idea preceded the available technology for mechanically laser-cutting metal with the accuracy Wesselmann needed.   He invested more than a year in the development of a system that could accomplish this. Wesselmann created a number of steel drawings in the 1980s and 1990s. Laser-cut paper and metal are materials now utilized by countless artists.

The graphic qualities of printmaking also appealed to Wesselmann and he created, etchings, lithographs and screenprints.  In addition to paper, he printed on other materials including plastics.

The exhibition at Carl Solway Gallery is concurrent with Beyond Pop Art: A Tom Wesselmann Retrospective on view at the Cincinnati Art Museum from October 31, 2014–January 18, 2015.   Tom Wesselmann attended the Art Academy of Cincinnati before moving to New York City to study at Cooper Union.


Mark Cohen was born in 1943 in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, where he remained for the next 60 years, until relocating to Philadelphia in 2013. He has received international recognition for his radical street photographs, made in his hometown in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s, collectively published in 2004 as Grim Street. His work was first exhibited by Nathan Lyons in the group exhibition Vision and Expression at the George Eastman House in 1969, then by John Szarkowski as a solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in 1973. Cohen was only the third photographer to be given solo exhibition by the legendary Leo Castelli, first at Castelli Graphics in 1977 then at Castelli Gallery in 1979. In 1980 his work also was included in the Museum of Modern Art exhibition Mirrors and Windows: American Photography Since 1960. Cohen’s photographs are held in the collections of more than 30 museums and he has received two prestigious Guggenheim Fellowships. This Iris exhibition in the Carl Solway Gallery parking area is organized by Iris’ curator William Messer; the twelve black and white prints on vinyl coated canvas were originally created for staging on a cyclone fence at SteelStacks in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania in 2012 for the InVision Photo Festival, at which Messer encountered Cohen and invited him to exhibit in Cincinnati.


In conjunction with the FotoFocus Biennial, Findlay Street Project Space presents a  juried exhibition of lens-based imagery.  Entry to this show was open to college and university students living within a 200-mile radius of Cincinnati.  Findlay Street Project Space is located at 424 Findlay Street, across the lobby from Carl Solway Gallery.

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