Cincinnati artist Brian Joiner had a powerful body of work behind him and an ambitious career ahead of him when he passed away this October. Among his many honors, Cincinnati Magazine named him “Best Portrait Artist” in 1999, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center selected him for a prestigious commission in 2004 and in 2009 he was awarded the Duncanson Artist-in-Residence at the Taft Museum of Art. Cancer put his plans on hold but it did not derail them. That's why even after his death, he has a group exhibit opening this Friday at Prairie Gallery.
Joiner brought his proposal for the exhibit to David Rosenthal in early 2010. The idea was to invite 14 artists to join him in a world of fantasy and indulgence — making art inspired by chocolate. In his gallery statement, Joiner described his exhibit Chocolat “as an escape, a feel-good, light hearted, poetic vision of artists’ experience with chocolate.” He produced this show once before at Flowers and Beyond in Over-the-Rhine almost a decade ago and wanted to bring it back at Prairie.
Joiner began work on Chocolat this year, along with a solo exhibit at PAC Gallery titled Hold On! Change is Coming! Joiner was diagnosed with liver cancer and entered hospice before he could finish his curatorial work. Rosenthal kept Joiner’s vision alive by following up with artists and moving forward with plans for the exhibit. Joiner passed away on Oct. 8. Now, Chocolat has become a way for the 14 participating artists to pay tribute to Joiner’s life and career.
Chocolat, a group exhibit curated by Brian Joiner, opens Friday at Prairie Gallery (4035 Hamilton Ave., Northside; 513 557-3819) with a reception from 6-9 p.m. Go here to read Selena Reder's full exhibit preview.