Kent show highlights a variety of works by new and veteran artists

It’s an interesting time for visual artists.

Like everyone else, we struggle to find a familiarity and rhythm in our everyday world that too often seems “just out of reach” to us.

However, unlike everyone else, artists struggle and continue to work and share their life experiences with the world in a way that few other people can.

At the moment, the exhibitions are in the process of being delayed or canceled. Ask the Cleveland Museum of Art about this, as one of its recent blockbuster exhibitions, “Picasso and Paper,” has been postponed indefinitely.

Many shows that have been delayed since the spring are just catching up and are showing. There are a lot of moving parts involved in the process of putting together an exhibit of any kind and delays often create difficult situations for showing work, especially when the work can come from more than one source.

The seventh annual regional juryed exhibition at the Group Ten Gallery in Kent was originally scheduled for earlier this year, but is now on display.

It presents a variety of works in many mediums and styles.

Like all jury exhibitions, you cannot see a large number of an artist’s work. Rather, you get to see little snapshots of what different people are doing, which can often lead to the discovery of talent you might not have known.

This type of show is also a great vehicle for emerging artists to pay part of their professional membership fees and to make themselves better known at regional or national level.

Gwen Waight, the show’s first-place winner for her “Don’t Call Me Baby” and “Sun Drained” blends, is well known in the region, and this work helps show why.

The assembly is often thought of as a three-dimensional collage. Different “found” elements or objects are glued, nailed, welded or fixed in one way or another to create the work.

Parts have many different elements. In fact, the artist uses so many different types of objects to do her work that it’s hard not to wonder how she put them all together.

However, due to her commitment to making art, Waight creates works that are always interesting, meaningful and impactful to see.

‘Sweet as Honey,’ a ceramic mural by Morgan Jones, is a prime example of how shows like this provide an opportunity for new talent to be seen.

For the piece, Jones used the mold of a cup holder to create a series of embossed wall tiles in a symmetrical pattern. Ceramic pieces have a shiny, glazed surface and are reminiscent of something covered with honey.

The work is geometric and encourages reflection in its construction and style.

“The Father of Us All,” a colored pencil on museum cardboard by John Smolko, received an honorable mention.

The drawing is a portrait of the late artist Thomson “Tom” Lehnert, who was Professor Emeritus in the School of Art at Kent State University. Anyone who was lucky enough to know Tom and his works of art knew how hard he worked in his craft and the joy and energy he brought to it.

John Smolko is incredibly gifted and has exhibited his work across the United States. His unique style in colored pencil is both gestural and precise.

The exuberant and unique brand of the artist is on full display here as it captures the personality and energy of a fellow artist who was well loved by those who knew him.

Tom Jackson’s “Chinatown” oil on canvas won second place. Jackson’s painting uses light, color, and the movement of people on the street in a way that makes this canvas truly come alive.

It adds detailed architectural elements and representations of what must be actual signage that enhances the composition in a way that really gets your eye moving to understand it all.

The Group Ten Gallery is an artist-run space and presents a variety of exhibitions throughout the year.

The regional juryed exhibition is a great introduction to the type of works you will find there.


What: The seventh annual regional jury competition

Where: Group Ten Gallery, 201 E. Erie St., Kent

When: 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. August 7, 8, 14, 15


John Smolko received an honorable mention for "The father of us all," a portrait of the late artist Thomson "To M" Lehnert.