Contemporary Art Forum: ART 281 Lecture Series

color washed collage of individuals, with text 'Contemporary Art Forum'

Fall 2019

All talks Thursday 5:50 p.m.–7:05 p.m. in ART 100 (unless otherwise noted)

September 5: Open House

5:50 p.m.–8:00 p.m.

Required for ART 281 students. Meet in Art 100.

September 12: Migiwa Orima

Gap + Slippage + A Realm Of Disjunction

Proofs of Burden from the exhibit Nuclear Fallout: The Bomb in Three Archives

Migiwa Orimo will talk about her recent project/installation, Proofs of Burden from the exhibit Nuclear Fallout: The Bomb in Three Archives, which was a part of 2018 FotoFocus Biennial. For this project, Orimo explored the relationship between public memory and private space by examining: how memories are shared and internalized; how they are stored and become stories; and, how memories and history collide. She will also discuss her other works for which she mines images and material from public receptacles where we "outsource memories", where memories are abandoned in plain view to be forgotten, or re-imagined, re-presented, re-collected, "where memories meander away from the precise."

Orimo emigrated to the US in the 1980’s after earning a degree in Literature and studying graphic design in Tokyo, Japan. An interdisciplinary artist, she primarily works in installation consisting of text, objects, drawing, and media. A four-time recipient of the Ohio Arts Council Individual Artist Award, her work has been shown extensively, including at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington DC, Headlands Art Center, CA, San Bernardino Museum, CA, SPACES, Cleveland, and most recently Weston Art Gallery in Cincinnati.

Artist's Website:

September 19: Timothy McDowell

In Our Time

Timothy McDowell cyanotype artwork

We welcome back to Miami University artist Timothy McDowell, who served as our juror for the 2014 Miami University Young Painters Competition. In his exhibition, In Our Time, in the Hiestand Galleries ( September 4 - October 7, 2019,) McDowell, "interprets current themes through a new visual vocabulary originating from a dialogue between painting and photography—a dialogue that I was able to explore thanks to the support of the Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner Foundation and their funding."

His current work takes advantage of the reactive chemistry of cyanotype, allowing the manipulation of tonal variations in a painterly way. Using cyanotype into linen as underpainting, as well as cyanotype as collage, McDowell combines this approach with various printmaking mediums. In Our Time is the first public showing of these large format, toned cyanotypes on Japanese Kozo paper.

McDowell is currently Professor of Printmaking and Drawing at Connecticut College, New London; he received his M.F.A. from the University of Arizona and his B.F. A. from Midwestern State University, Wichita Falls, Texas.

September 26: Don Desmett

Blind Curves on a Straight Line

Don Desmett poses in front of green leafy foliage

Don Desmett is the juror for the national Miami University 2019 Young Sculptors Competition for the $10,000 William and Dorothy Yeck Award. Desmett received his M.F. A, from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and his B.F.A. from the University of Akron.

He was Founding Director of Exhibitions for the Richmond Center for Visual Arts (RCVA) at Western Michigan University (2006-2016). In 2005, he was a design consultant for SmithGroup (Detroit), working on functional design elements for Western Michigan University’s RCVA. From 2000 to 2004, Desmett was Director of Collections and Exhibitions at The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts (again as Interim Curator from 2018/19). He also served as Director and Curator of The Tyler Galleries at the Tyler School of Art, Temple University in Philadelphia (1990-98).

Career highlights include organizing major exhibitions for ArtPrize 8, 9, and 10 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, The Museum for Contemporary Art, Cleveland; The Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

October 3: Michael Coppage

Recent Work

Michael Coppage artwork

Originally from Chicago, Michael Coppage has lived and worked in Cincinnati since 2007. Coppage earned a B.F.A in Sculpture from Memphis College of Art and an M.F.A in Studio Art from The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. He has traveled around the world extensively and has work in a number of private collections. In addition to his more personal works, Coppage has co-created a therapeutic art program called Peace by Piece at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital College Hill Campus where he works with adolescent psychiatric patients to create large-scale portraits.

His work addresses a range of topics and serves as a social commentary related to contemporary life in America. The pieces serve as a safe place to begin difficult and sometimes impossible conversations. His paintings address a range of topics including mental health issues, race, and the byproduct of human consumption.

Artist's Website:

October 17: Amy Schissel


Amy Schissel working on a large curtain-like artwork in her studio

Increasingly, as we go about our 21st Century lives, we try to bridge the gap between spaces we see and navigate in the physical world and those we see and navigate in the online world. Taking from the conception of augmented reality, every physical, geographical space is "interpenetrated" with information, so all physical spaces already are now also informational spaces.

Recently awarded a 2019 Joan Mitchell Summer Fellowship, Amy Schissel was a 2017 recipient of the prestigious Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Award, She has exhibited extensively in national and international venues including the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Spartanburg Art Museum, Carleton University Art Gallery, Florida State Museum of Fine Art, Sjalso Studios (Sweden) and the University of Brussels Gallery (Belgium.) Represented by the Patrick Mikhail Gallery (PMG), Montreal QC, Canada, her works have been exhibited in solo exhibitions at the Montreal venue as well as solo and group exhibitions with the gallery (PMG) at international Art Fair venues.

Schissel is currently an Assistant Professor of Painting at The University of Miami, Miami, Florida and received her M.F.A. and B.F. A. degrees from the University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada.

October 24: Sarah Rose Sharp

Finding Evidence - The Art of Detection in an Interdisciplinary Practice

Sarah Rose Sharp artwork, resembling a dollhouse with crowded and disorganized rooms

Artist and writer Sarah Rose Sharp talks about the multitudinous factors in creating a self-sustaining creative existence. Topics include definitions of success, scene etiquette, boundaries, freelance survival skills, reclaiming your time, community and self, and artistic values. These are field notes from the trenches of an active artistic existence that accepts no limitations on its possibilities.

Sarah Rose Sharp is a Detroit-based writer, activist, photographer and multimedia artist. She writes about art and culture for Art in America, Hyperallergic, Flash Art, Sculpture Magazine, ArtSlant and others.

Sarah was named a 2015 Kresge Literary Arts Fellow for Art Criticism and is a 2018 recipient of the Rabkin Foundation Prize. She is a guest lecturer at several universities in Southeast Michigan and served as a mentor in the NYFA Immigrant Artist Mentorship Program in 2018. Sarah has served as guest curator and juror for multiple institutions including Penn State University (State College, PA) and Scarab Club (Detroit, MI).

Sarah has shown her own work in New York, Seattle, Columbus & Toledo, OH, Covington, KY, and Detroit—including at the Detroit Institute of Arts—with solo shows at Simone De Sousa Gallery and Public Pool. She is primarily concerned with artist and viewer experiences of making and engaging with art, and conducts ongoing research into the state of contemporary art in redeveloping cities, with special focus and regard for Detroit.

Artist's Website:

November 7: Mary Ellen Goeke

Lecture, Miami Art Museum

November 21: Billy Simms

Craftowne: comics as installation art

Woodcut style artwork by Billy Simms

Billy Simms is an artist and educator. He has a BA in theatrical scenic and lighting from the University of Maryland Baltimore County, an MS in special education from the Johns Hopkins University, and an MFA from Miami University. He live in Hamilton, OH with his wife and four cats.

Artist's Websites: