DVAC exhibit explores 'secretive, unsettling, playful’ perspectives on being female

Ashley Jonas of Dayton, Stephanie McGuinness of Englewood, and Zoe Hawk of Doha, Qatar are presenting works that explore influences on feminine identity at the Dayton Visual Arts Center.

The exhibit, “The Secrets We Keep,” depict how environments, pressures, rituals, and other factors interact with, and affect, our public and private roles in this life.

“Each artist’s scenes, some of them secretive, some unsettling, some playful, are imbued with autobiographical references. And yet, since we’re talking so much about issues of privacy these days, universal in their meaning and metaphor,” stated DVAC executive director Eva Buttacavoli.

Ashley Jonas

Works: 3 cardboard, wood, foam, and found object installations; and four framed, gouache and acrylic still-lifes presented in a grid pattern.

Description: Playful sculptures with found objects, such as a wire tray and picture frame that utilize vibrant color, focal points, and fun hidden spaces.

Artist Statement: "I think about these works as exploded paintings, like fireworks that do not fade. Rather than celebrating a single day or event, the works are dedicated to the longevity of building a life. [It's] about the relationship between movable objects, the space these objects inhabit, and my perception of the fantastic, peculiar connectivity embedded within that relationship."

Which work most mirrors your current feelings of self?

“That’s a difficult question to answer; all the works are so new. There has been a shift in my studio practice...illustrative of the roots I’ve begun to plant here in Dayton.”

Thoughts on combined exhibit: "The show is exceptionally cohesive. All the works are investing similar subject matter with a unique sensibility. All the decision making is unapologetic. We all utilize color in a way that cannot be ignored...saturated and bold."

Education: Born in Key West, Florida, she earned a bachelor's degree in fine art ceramics from the University of Florida, and her master's degree in fine art from the University of Colorado. Both with a concentration in ceramics.

Stephanie McGuinness

Works: 7 large-scale oil on canvas paintings.

Description: Imagined narratives based on discarded notes and lists she finds in public spaces. With the exception of one, the viewer's perspective is hovering above the domestic scenes.

Artist Statement: "[In] narratives told through the environment of a multi-generational house...viewers are granted access to personal spaces, but hover slightly outside of the frame, unconnected to its inhabitants."

Which work most mirrors your current feelings of self?

“‘Pieces on the Table’” encompasses all of the major themes. One of the central gathering places...is the kitchen table, [and] there are clues of every member of the house, as well as evidence of the passage of time.”

Thoughts on Combined Exhibit: "I am very pleased...each artist's work connects with the others, but they are different enough that the viewer can tell there are three separate artists. To me [this] makes an interesting group exhibition."

Education: She has a bachelor's degree in fine art from Wright State University, and a master's degree in fine art from Miami University.

Zoe Hawk

Works: 7 oil on aluminum paintings, and 2 silkscreens.

Description: Works explore the dynamics of girlhood and coming-of-age experiences.

Artist Statement: "My work delves into the world of adolescence, depicting clusters of young girls in natural, domestic, and institutional settings. Themes of identity, anxiety, group dynamics, and performance are addressed. [I've used] scenes of girlhood play and interactions, often stylistically referencing children's storybook illustrations. The constructed narratives are meant to be sweet and somewhat familiar, yet upon closer inspection they take a slightly mysterious or unsettling turn."

Education: She earned a bachelor's degree of fine art from Missouri State University, and a master's degree of fine art from the University of Iowa. She has been granted several artist residencies in Belgium, Norway, New York, and Qatar.

Want to go?

WHAT: "The Secrets We Keep," featuring work by Zoe Hawk, Ashley Jonas, Stephanie McGuinness

WHERE: Dayton Visual Arts Center, 118 N. Jefferson St., Dayton

WHEN: Jan. 13-Feb. 24

INFO: 937-224-3822 | daytonvisualarts.org

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