The blog highlights the happenings of the Short North Arts District. In Art Spotlight, we feature the artists, gallerists, performers, and professional companies of the District and explore their exhibitions, shows, and more.

The holidays are officially in full swing, and Hammond Harkins Galleries is ready with their annual salon exhibition, Small & Wonderful. All 26 of the gallery’s artists – local and national, contemporary and modern – are featured in this show, offering a range of styles and mediums. This year, the show is dedicated to the Columbus College of Art and Design “Grads in the Galleries” series, including 11 CCAD alums. We talked to gallery associate Chet Domitz about what makes this show special, how its curated, and why art makes an excellent holiday gift.

Gallerist Marlana Hammond Keynes conceived of the idea for the show many years ago as a way to showcase all of the gallery’s artists in a throwback format. “We like to do it old-fashioned salon style, using the largest wall in the gallery and exhibiting artwork floor to ceiling as they used to a few centuries ago,” Domitz said. Though artists understand the works in the show are intended to to be small, because of the gallery’s large size, they can be flexible with incorporating larger works. Additionally, though “small” is part of the title of the show, Domitz emphasized that “wonderful” was equally important. “Work that is representative of what [each artist does] is the main theme,” he said, noting that the high quality of the work is what brings them together as a coherent whole.

With so many artists involved, most of whom send new work for this show, coordinating it can be a challenge, particularly when some works come in the week of hanging. At times, this can mean changing the order of the layout depending on how they look and feel next to one another, with mini-themes sometimes emerging. Another consideration is how to best display the different styles and mediums work together in a cohesive way. “It’s fun, but it’s a process – it’s basically a puzzle,” Domitz said. “It’s having the works here in the space, placing them side by side and seeing how they work together.”

Though the thoughtfulness and intentionality behind hanging the show is an important part of the gallery’s effort to put its best foot forward on behalf of its artists, particularly during the holiday season. A larger exhibition that includes a broader range of works shows there’s something for everyone, and the smaller sizes of the works means more affordable prices, too. Domitz thinks artwork makes a great holiday gift because it is out of the ordinary. “There are lots of gifts people give during the holidays, and you’ll see the ads on TV because it’s the same thing year after year; art is always something really unique,” he said.

For those on your list who decorate in Nordic aesthetics with crisp whites and greys, the intricately delicate paper cutouts by Laura Alexander or softly geometric paintings by Melissa Vogely Woods are perfect. Tactile textilers will love silkscreens by Sarah Fairchild, fabric sculptures by Andrea Myers, and abstract mixed media collages by Karen Snouffer. Those with a love of all things bold can fill big empty walls with works by Alteronce Gumby, Tariku Shiferaw, or Stephanie Lüning, while local art fanatics will be thrilled by works by Dennison Griffith and previously unseen early pieces by Aminah Robinson.

All participating artists include: Laura Alexander, Laura Bidwa, Tim Brown*, Annie Chrissy Burley*, Mark Bush*, Sarah Fairchild*, Linda Gall, Elizabeth Gerdeman*, Dennison Griffith*, Alteronce Gumby, Paul Hamilton*, Andrew Hendrixson, Philip R. Jackson*, Janice Lessman-Moss, Stephanie Lüning, Andrea Myers, Kaveri Raina, Faith Ringgold, Aminah Robinson*, Tariku Shiferaw, Mariana Smith*, Karen Snouffer, Carol Stewart, Melissa Vogley Woods, Pamela Workman*, and Erin Wozniak* (*denotes affiliation with CCAD). Small & Wonderful will be on view through January 19, 2020.

– Michelle Gibson