Feb. 26, 2022

2940 Colerain Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45225

Critical Mass is an exhibition featuring artists working within the context of a larger collective, galvanizing as a group to envision brighter futures. The show includes work from multiple creative collectives: a group of four women-identifying students from a local alternative educational institution; artists working within the Ohio Prison Arts Connection program in order to connect people with art inside and outside of prisons; a group of women working through their experiences of trauma and recovery by learning new skills in storytelling and woodcutting; and an ad-hoc crew of immigrant/refugee artists and artisans led by an internationally renowned artist.

Inside the Dollhouse is a group project funded by the Judy Chicago Art Education award, led by artist and teacher Chelsea Borgman who worked with four students (Izzy C., Ava C., Addie W., & Lucia A.), to create dollhouses as a metaphor for the historically silenced political voices of female-identifying teens. Inspired by the groundbreaking feminist installation, Womanhouse (1972) Borgman's collaborating students created individual dollhouses. Using this toy associated with youthfulness and naiveté as a jumping off point, the group explored their relationship to girlhood, as well as pushed back against cultural messages that they are too young, immature, or innocent to speak meaningfully about the issues that affect their lives. Consequently, these objects model more nuanced examples of feminisms for future generations.

Onto Life's Pages is a poster project from six Ohio artists: Gwendolyn Garth, Whitney Johnson, Jamie Ochs, Kamisha Thomas, Brittany Vondenhuevel, and Aimee Wissman. After taking several "Driving Lessons" classes through Wave Pool's ongoing artists professional development courses in early 2021, each made illustrations based on quotations from people who were directly impacted by incarceration. The Ohio Prison Arts Connection subsequently commissioned prints of the resulting imagery made by the participating artists. This series was designed to pay artists for their work, to promote artwork sales, and to get art made by justice-impacted people into the public space—supporting these artists with professional development as well as networking opportunities.

Owning Your Own Voice is a community-based storytelling project designed to increase resiliency, build community, and combat stigma one story at a time. The women involved, Keinaya Davis, Loretta Davis, Cynthia Furbush, Johnnie Mae Gutter, Leakeather "Kitty" Meeks, Angelique Metcalf, April Radcliff, Mimi Rook, and Bianca Weatherspoon, gathered together over several months, learning new skills of storytelling as well as in wood-working—with the collective goal of empowering themselves and reducing community stigmas around addiction and trauma. Collectively they created 4 "listening benches" featuring personal imagery they made in wood and paint to describe their experiences.

Welcome Editions are art objects designed by nationally recognized artists and fabricated at least in part by the refugee and immigrant community of the Welcome Project, bringing much needed employment and empowerment to our local communities. For this sixth Welcome Edition, internationally renowned artist Vanessa German is working with local artists from Bhutan, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Togo and who are local to the United States to create limited edition Power Figure sculptures. The series is created off of the question, “What if you could create an artwork that had a power to change the world?” The figures are designed to build on the strengths of Wave Pool’s diverse community, pulling together disparate talents and skills to create something emblematic of the power of the collective.

Critical Mass is curated by Maria Seda-Reeder and on view at Wave Pool from January 15 - February 26, 2022