Finding Order in “Much-ness” at NVISION

Arynn and Joel Blazer, the husband-and-wife duo whose work is on display in Sofa King Good, are enamored of pattern.

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click to enlarge Works by Arynn and Joel Blazer
Works by Arynn and Joel Blazer

A few readers may need the title of the exhibition now at NVISION in Northside explained. If you lag in current verbal by-play and are puzzled by Sofa King Good, try saying it aloud starting with “so” and running the rest together, fast. Got it? Yep. Good stuff here.

Arynn and Joel Blazer, the husband-and-wife duo whose work is on display in Sofa King Good, are enamored of pattern. They work individually, but in this joint show it’s apparent they look over each other’s shoulder pretty frequently while still maintaining personal approaches. Establishing order in a universe of much-ness seems the primary quest of each. NVISION, where the stock of vintage clothing and furnishings crowd the space, is an ideal setting for artists concerned with such a feat.

The Blazers, who are married and live in Carthage, Ohio, have been showing together for more than a decade, says NVISION owner Emily Buddendeck. Two previous exhibitions of their work have appeared in her shop; objects in the current show all date from the past year.

Arynn has never contemplated a straight line, judging from her embroidery pieces shown here. Even some of the pieces themselves eschew rectangular framing for circle shapes. She dyed and bleached fabric and shaped clay additions to certain works; in some pieces her sinuous shapes move across a rural idyll or a vase of flowers or some other composition by another hand — found art she has elaborated on.

Those shapes — rolling, roiling curves in solid black — are picked out by black silhouettes peeking around the edges, something familiar ... rabbits! It takes a moment to identify them, but once you’ve recognized rabbits, you see them everywhere in her work. A series she calls “Pastoral Graffiti” has them; another, “Still Life Graffiti,” replaces the sky and hint of barn seen in “Pastoral” with gatherings of flowers. The rabbits, however, are everywhere. Farmers and gardeners know the experience.

Humor and pleasure are to be found in these compositions, furthered by the fact that they are produced by an accomplished artist. There is nothing haphazard here. Arynn knows exactly the effect she wants and produces it with no wasted flourishes, although flourishes are part of her skill set.

Joel’s work fills an adjoining wall and is as individual as Arynn’s, although the relationships between the two bodies of work are immediately apparent. He is the first artist of my experience to turn a skateboard into an object of art, and he does so in this show four times. The under surface is what he likes, top and bottom curving back. On these and many other surfaces he applies variations of stylized petal shapes formed into an orderly flower that — among other things — can relate to automobile wheels. Who knew?

His compositions are, in general, more ordered than those of Arynn. Shapes repeat and mirror each other, and a persistent interest in means of locomotion makes itself felt. The top row of works is a line-up of three disparate vehicles painted on worn wooden panels. One is a racecar, another a utility vehicle and the third a passenger car with plaid hood and wheels. Elsewhere, “Loco” is a steam engine with strange steam indeed coming from its chimney.

No colors are strident in his works but some are insistent: the skateboards, for instance, have various backgrounds. One is grass green, another rosy pink, still another orange-yellow. The violet background to a set of black-petaled flowers is almost purple but not quite.

Interactions between the two bodies of work add interest to Sofa King Good, but the individuality of each artist is never in question.

The show more or less overflows into the Comet restaurant and bar next door, where a series of collaborations between Joel and the photographer Jordan West can be seen. This produces a surprising meld, in which West’s large color photographs of expansive scenes of the American West are overlaid or picked out by the patterns Joel puts together. Formality (Joel) interacts with nature (West) in surprising and interesting ways. A young deer, for instance, looks directly into the camera, its pretty head now crowned with unlikely antlers suggested by one of Joel’s compositions.

Both Sofa King Good at NVISION and its informal accompaniment next door at the Comet provide immediate visual pleasures but also reward the careful observer.


SOFA KING GOOD is on view at NVISION (4577 Hamilton Ave., Northside) through Dec. 31. More info: nvisionshop.com.


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