Fitton Center to present ‘home’

Four artists reflect on home with painting, installation art, woven sculpture and drawing

HAMILTON – The Fitton Center for Creative Arts will present its latest exhibition, “home,” which will feature the work of four artists, who will showcase painting, installation art, woven sculpture and drawing as they each reflect upon the idea of home – from our regional culture to what we value as a society. The exhibition will open on Saturday, Jan. 10 and it will be on display through Thursday, Feb. 20.

Cathy Mayhugh, director of exhibitions for the Fitton Center for Creative Arts, said the opening reception for “home” is set for Saturday, Jan. 10 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The reception will celebrate the opening of two student exhibitions, one featuring “Fitton Center Classwork” and the other a collection of “Oak Hills High School Fiber Art: curated by Kristen Begley.”

She said “Home” will showcase the work of four artists in four different gallery spaces within the Fitton Center. Participating artists include Matthew Litteken (Hamilton, Ohio), Elizabeth Runyon (Oxford, Ohio), Christopher Troutman (Beaumont, Texas) and Margi Weir (Detroit, Mich.)

Litteken’s painted and sculptural installation artwork largely explores the notion of consumerism as it relates to money and our value system. Many of his pieces draw from the iconography of the United States currency, largely from the dollar bill, in hopes to generate thought and dialogue about our spending practices and values.

Litteken says a lot of his work has to do with home, home décor and what is valuable in our home value systems. He also draws upon society and culture as a whole as he expresses himself with multi-dimensional art, covering topics like gender roles or stereotypes.

“Today, home is such a difficult thing to define, because we exist in so many different arenas. The lines have become blurred in regard to the definition of what we call home. It could be family and friends, or a physical dwelling,” Litteken said.

“If I had to reduce it, it’s your environment and what you surround yourself with, and what moves along with you, no matter what your location. That’s what it means to me at this point.”

Expanding on Appalachian ribbed basket techniques, breaking away from tradition and functionality, Runyon’s woven work uses woven reeds to create large, modern-day sculptures. Her pieces are sitting, hanging and one is a lamp.

She said one of her favorite pieces on display is the work “No Exit.”

“It’s like a combination of traditional basketry and non-traditional, because it doesn’t hold anything, or serve any purpose,” Runyon said.

She hopes her work opens people’s minds to see things differently or in a new way. The theme of home speaks to her as a Kentucky native, having that heritage, and basket making traditions for more than 25 years, and now living in Ohio.

“I still feel drawn to those Kentucky traditions,” Runyon said. “I would hope visitors would experience the artwork at their own level, to bring their own, ‘Oh yeah,’ or revelations, because that’s what it’s meant to do. I’m also glad that the exhibition is close to Oxford, so people from where I live can come and see my work.”

Works from two other artists will be a part of the “home” exhibition. Specializing in large-scale charcoal drawings, Troutman’s work reflects upon his homes in the United States and Japan. Working from imagination and shifting points of view, his work shows human figures in contemporary urban settings, and he amplifies figures and spaces by presenting them in settings that represent unusual points of view.

Weir’s oversized elegant ink and wash drawings depict the remains of decayed buildings that were once identified with a thriving community. Additionally, Weir’s cut vinyl window installation called “in the wind” serves as a visual metaphor for the way bits of information are thrown at us daily, with only occasional “in-depth coverage.”

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