An Honored Moment for the Gallery: Mary Heider’s Letter to Her Art Audience

Photo: Tony Jones
Mary Heider is an independent curator whose work includes exhibits at Brazee St. Studio, 506 Ash Gallery, Carnegie Art Center, and Cincinnati Museum Center. Mary also is Assistant Dean Emerita of University of Cincinnati’s College of Medicine, where she developed the course “Art and Medicine.”



In the past, I’ve invited you to exhibits I have curated and shows of artists I’ve followed.   Today, I must to tell you about a gallery exhibit that is worth a trip to see in the cold of January.  It is Resolutions: 1. More Art which just opened at Wash Park Art, 1215 Elm Street, downtown next to Music Hall, on the streetcar line.  The show runs through February 18, 2017.  See hours at

Holly Doan Spraul, gallery owner and curator, offers in Resolutions, a super exhibit that can show those who collect or simply enjoy a diversity of art just how effectively in a very small space – possibly similar to our own homes –  a range of art and photography by 19 artists  can be presented.   She has created an exciting, mentally challenging and visually pleasing exhibition.

If you haven’t been to Wash Park Art, it is an old, elegant shot-gun style home, and in it Holly links and unifies this exhibit from your first step into the former living room through the dining room and finally the kitchen.  Resolutions is about living with an eclectic collection.  Holly has done it right!

The exhibit’s complexity makes a short description here incomplete at best.  Large and small groups of work, plus pairings within groups are in all rooms and are intriguing, unexpected.  Paintings and photographs usually aren’t hung together vertically – but here it works!   In Resolutions, these combinations speak to one another in their color, lines and shapes, and rhythms.  Both figurative and abstract appear and meld.  Viewing the show is like a good puzzle you enjoy working on that comes together as your realize what has been created for you.  You look forward to seeing what is in the next room.   For instance , one sees immediately in the living room a large surrealistic  figurative  by Thomas  Towhey  that speaks to an abstract architectural by Cedric Cox on the opposite wall, but then you discover the adjacent groupings interact with these larger works as well as within their own group.  There is a texture that emerges through the rooms and ends in the kitchen with the final bold punctuation of Mel Toledo’s  exquisite photo-realistic  floral oil and then the big, bold, other-worldly  blue-toned  “gas mask” eyes of Kurt Grannan’s  painting in juxtaposition to a final unexpected  darker blue-toned photograph/painting grouping  of  Guennadi Maslov and Robert Hebenstreit, respectively.  There are many memorable images, many artists whose work was new to me but very welcome, and offerings in new styles from familiar artists (e.g., photographer Kent Krugh).

A couple of other points:  Holly has provided interesting, relevant information about each artist, often including how the artist came to be exhibited.  All works are for sale and pricing comes with a welcome range.

There was a good feeling in the response of the crowd that came January 6.  They welcomed this exhibit giving it serious study and discussion.   Holly takes risks.   I hope she takes more if they are this well executed.

Mary Heider

An Honored Moment for the Gallery: Mary Heider’s Letter to Her Art Audience

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