Although burdened by a title that's a little too cute, Young at Art: Works on Paper by Emerging and Established Artists at Phyllis Weston-Annie Bolling Gallery is a bright and engaging show. These are the very individual works of five artists with ties to Cincinnati, plus a renegade Russian who used his art to speak his thoughts at a time when Russians weren't able to.
The link here, aside from the local connections, is the level of accomplishment. Color is a dominant element — except in a series of wood engravings by Harry Shokler and the pencil drawings of Mi-Hee Nahm — and is used with sure, sometimes even lavish hand.
Kim Krause's studies in acrylic and ink are wonderfully festive, projecting a feeling that someone has just opened a bottle of the best champagne. There are ribbon-y elements in these compositions, lovely slashes that might be scattered flower petals and colors good enough to eat. Krause is chair of the Art Academy of Cincinnati's fine arts department, and these works all date from 2007.
Mi-Hee Nahm, a recent Academy graduate, was born in Korea but has been in this country since her mid-teens. She creates pencil drawings that speak delicately and sadly of the fading of her Korean roots and memories as she becomes an adult in another land. On a long swath of paper that reaches the floor and curls up to hold slivers of actual eraser (a poignant element) she draws herself, kneeling, against a background of increasingly dim Korean script.
Although most of the works here are recent, Shokler's wood engravings date from 1936. With their dark backgrounds, they sound a different note. Landscapes and the simple buildings they embrace are his primary subjects here. Born in Cincinnati, Shokler (1896-1978) studied at the Art Academy but spent most of his career elsewhere.
George Schmidt, a Cincinnati native who lives and works in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, uses colored ink and pencil on paper to spin out architectural fantasies that spring from modernist buildings. The yin and yang of inside/outside permeates these thoughtful excursions, and the color is sheer but strong. Multiple ideas coexist.
Melissa Harshman, now a professor of art at the University of Georgia, graduated from Wyoming High School. Her works here are serigraphs, amusingly taking the measure of mid-20th-century American femininity and the era's propensity toward jellied salads.
Satire also marks the work of Alexander Mikhaylovich Nozhkin in a group of hand-colored etchings shown in a separate room. Created between 1989 and 1997, when Russian society teetered between openness and the threat of a return to its opposite, these works eventually were sent by the artist to the west for their safety.
Young at Art is a nice mix, good to look at, interesting to think about and by artists who might be young in outlook but in their art are fully mature.