Elevate at 21c presents temporary exhibitions of works by artists living and working in the communities surrounding each 21c Museum Hotel property. Elevate provides hotel guests with unique access to the work of notable regional artists, while featuring their work in the context of 21c’s contemporary art space. To view these works, please stop by the front desk to arrange access to the vitrines on guest room floors.
Justin Toland (Cincinnati)
Acrylic on panel
Justin Toland is a fine art painter and member of the Cincinnati based mural group Xylene Projects. In 2017, Toland and the Xylene group descended on Lexington, KY to put murals on the Lexington Transit Hub as part of the annual PRHBTN art celebration. PRHBTN is an annual celebration of art forms that have been criminalized, marginalized, and under-appreciated in the mainstream, featuring public murals alongside an exhibition of street art works in a space that complements the raw, powerful nature of the message and artistry of each piece. This mural process is the subject for Toland’s painting here. He uses the top right quarter of the panel as his pallet in an attempt to keep things “loose and globular,” allowing the viewer to see his artistic thought process. At first the paint pools read as balloons or a ceiling installation, but once identified the pallet puts the viewer in an unfamiliar position, they suddenly find themselves in the driver’s seat.
Emily Louise Howard (Kentucky)
She Steps into Her Power, 2018
Garden Snake, 2019
The Unicorn in Captivity, 2019
The Peace of the Wild Things, 2019
Linoleum block prints
Emily Louise Howard carves linoleum blocks for black and white prints that highlight a combination of art and design history influences; all recall illustrated fairytales or storybooks. Howard likes to say that she lives “in a little house at the edge of the woods that inspire her so,” which is easy to see when getting lost in the visual worlds of these linoleum prints.
Nikhita Samala (Indianapolis)
Night Orbs, 2018
Day Orbs, 2018
Artist Nikhita Samala says that “Few things in life provide me with the same depth of fulfillment as starting on a blank slate and ending with a piece of art—taking nothing and creating something of value. Producing a spark of light in a narrow darkness. Much like the universe was created from an explosion of light in a dark hole, which created millions of glowing stars. I would like for my art to have the same metaphoric underlying tone of expression and power.” Day Orbs and Night Orbs embody this statement through her use of digital photography to capture blurry, glowing lights in the distance, giving us a world that is alien yet vaguely familiar.
Claire Talbot (Valencia, CA)
Ohio Fresh Eggs, 2018
Lenticular prints on panel
Artist Claire Talbot makes work of stunning contrast. Her piece, Ohio Fresh Eggstakes the form of a classic portal painting by way of several lenticular tiles. She depicts a lone figure covered head to toe in a protective jumpsuit for health and safety reasons, walking by a seemingly infinite staircase, contrasted by dozens of brown and white eggs that appear to be more molecular than agricultural. Ohio Fresh Eggs strips away the nostalgia most Americans have when they think about farm fresh food and reveals the industrialized reality of today’s working farms.
Tyler Griese (Cincinnati)
The Past is Close Behind, 2018
Oil on canvas
Oil on canvas
Brian Harmon (Kentucky)
8-bit Art History: Nighthawks, 2018
8-bit Art History: The Arnolfini Portrait, 2018
8-bit Art History: Son of Man, 2018
8-bit Art History: The Great Wave, 2018
8-bit Art History: The Persistence of Memory, 2018
8-bit Art History: American Gothic, 2018
8-bit Art History: Frida, 2018
8-bit Art History: In the Car, 2018
Framed fuse beads, 2018
Brian Harmon is a visual artist and educator living and working in the Greater Cincinnati area. Brian holds an MFA in photography from the University of Cincinnati, as well as a BA and MA in art education, from Northern Kentucky University and Morehead State University, respectively. Much of Brian’s work explores the photographic image-as-object, often resulting in interdisciplinary, installation, and participatory work.
Brian has taught introductory through Advanced Placement art and photography at Campbell County High School for over a decade as well as art appreciation and photography at Northern Kentucky University.
Brian Harmon recreates icons of art history on a small-scale using fuse beads in his series, 8-Bit Art History. Fuse beads were invented in Sweden in the 1960s and over the years have served as both therapy tools for senior citizens and art project materials for children. After the introduction of 8-bit power consoles like the Nintendo Entertainment System in the 1980s, video game enthusiasts started recreating their favorite video game characters with the popular low-melt beads. Continuing in this vein, Harmon uses the beads almost like tiny mosaics to recreate masterpieces from art history.