The Ohio State University at Marion

Kuhn Fine Arts Gallery

The Wayne and Geraldine Kuhn Fine Arts Gallery serves the The Ohio State University at Marion students, faculty, staff and the Marion community. The gallery is located off the main lobby at the east entrance of Morrill Hall located at 1465 Mount Vernon Avenue, Marion, Ohio 43302. The gallery is free and open to the public.

Currently on display - By All Appearances, Amery Kessler and Mary Jane Ward

Exhibition, Gallery Hours, and Artist Reception Information

The Kuhn Fine Arts Gallery at The Ohio State University at Marion is excited to share By All Appearances, featuring the work of Amery Kessler and Mary Jane Ward, on display March 18th through May 10th, 2019. Please join us on campus for this engaging show. Please review the gallery’s new hours of operation as they have recently changed.

Gallery Hours of Operation: Monday through Thursday 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. and 4-6 p.m.
Artist Reception: Friday, April 12, 2019, 5:30-6:30 p.m.

About the exhibition

By All Appearances has given us the opportunity to pause and reflect; the chance to present our work in the context of each other’s while making personal decisions to present work in a way that we haven’t before: Mary Jane chose to show solely portraits, and Amery chose to show a series of participatory works for visual display only. We appreciate seeing the two bodies of work in contrast, without demanding contradiction. In many ways, our styles, and approaches to making couldn’t be more different. We have allowed the work in the show to coincide, without imposing an overarching meaning, or message. In conversation with gallery director Scot Kaplan, we discovered that the word “appearance” provides an interesting entry point for considering our work:


The action of coming forward into view or becoming visible.

The action of appearing formally at any proceeding.

A company presenting themselves; a muster, attendance, gathering, a ‘turn-out’.

The action of coming before the world or the public in any character.

Occurrence so as to meet the eye in a document.

The action of appearing conspicuously; display, show, parade.

Clear manifestation to the sight or understanding; disclosure, detection.

The action or state of appearing or seeming to be (to eyes or mind); semblance; looking like; To all appearance: so far as appears to anyone.

Semblance of truth or certainty; likelihood, probability; verisimilitude.

Perception, idea, notion of what a thing appears to be.

The state or form in which a person or thing appears; apparent form, look, aspect.

The general aspect of circumstances or events; the ‘look’ of things.

As distinguished from reality: Outward look or show.

To maintain artificially the outward signs, so as to conceal the absence of the realities which they are assumed to represent

Illusive seeming or semblance; an illusion.

That which appears; an object meeting the view; a natural occurrence presenting itself to observation; a phenomenon.

That which appears without being material; a phantom or apparition.

“Appearance.” The Compact Edition of The Oxford English Dictionary, Oxford University Press, 1987.

Artist's Statement - Amery Kessler

My relational work grew out of a practice of painting and drawing. My process was based on predetermined rules and chance operations and explored how a painting could be a record of events. I found ways to exclude the evidence of my personal hand or my story and was mainly interested in the most fundamental ways we perceive space, surface, and scale. At this time, my approach was almost gamelike. The rules or guidelines I set for myself began to include the participation of others. I was curious about the simple or not so simple act of viewing a painting. If a painting is a collaboration of the maker and the viewer, and two people are looking at a painting, how many paintings are there? Of course, there is one object, but I was curious about the significance of how each person’s context, their personal interpretation or insight, played a role in the assumptions of relating with each other.

The experience or encounter of two or more people, of self and other, became central to my current work. The objects are designed to serve as the means for a shared experience—for the active participation of others. As they are here solely for display, they represent the dynamics of interpersonal encounters. They imply the proximity of people to each other and take into account the role and design of space. The forms are simultaneously a barrier and a place for connection. The coinciding events or actions are specific, in a sense also rule based, and become temporary social agreements for people to interact in a familiar yet unconventional way. The actual or implied participation is not simply about accomplishing work, playing an instrument, or winning a game. The participants are not performers in the typical sense of accomplishment or entertainment. The action or objective of hammering a peg, plucking a string, or moving a game piece, is purposefully confusing or unusual. In this way, I am considering or humoring how the form of an encounter or relationship can be significant in and of itself.

Amery Kessler is originally from Canton, Ohio and has a BFA from Kent State University and a MFA from The Ohio State University. He is the director ofCreative Current, a mixed use art space and collective focused on the balance of art and life, in Columbus, Ohio. Kessler returned to Columbus after living in NYC for 8 years where he focused on his personal artwork, interdisciplinary collaborations, and worked as an art handler and mover. A variety of occupations have influenced his work: teacher, construction tradesman, laborer, coach, athlete, musician, lifeguard, care provider. Kessler has positioned his work as events in public spaces, traditional galleries and museums, private homes, and other unconventional productions. He and his partner Mary Jane Ward coordinated and produced a nationwide tour of his work Drum Casket, a series of participatory events for small groups. He was awarded a residency at Can Serrat in Barcelona, Spain as winner of best in show at the Ohio Art League, Noves Històries. Kessler is grateful to have have produced works with the support of friends and family and with the cooperation and support of institutions such as the New York
Foundation for the Arts, The Ohio Arts Council, The Greater Columbus Arts Council, and The Exploratorium in San Francisco.

Artist's Statement - Mary Jane Ward

The works presented here are a series of portraits. They are a record of direct observation from life. I enjoy working with the same people repeatedly, as each time I sit down with them, I find new energy in trying to capture or convey their likeness in my artwork. The works vary in amounts of time spent– ranging from 3 hour sketches (Matthew, Bita, Molly for example) to 20 hours (Juan Michael in brown pencil), and even over 60 hours (Juan Michael in graphite). They also vary in medium. I primarily paint in oils and draw in graphite and charcoal.

This is my first opportunity to show only portraits, and so many of them, in one show together. A realistic portrait can perhaps, at first glance, give the impression of a snapshot, or a photograph– a moment in someone’s story. Yet I find it interesting to consider the difference between these and photographs– while a photo often records a single moment in time, a drawing or a painting from life is an aggregate. Many nuanced moments assembled and recorded by one observer. While my aim is to remain faithful to life, the nature of the process involves making observations through the lens of my attention, understanding, judgement, and patience; and recording through the specific skills or limitations that I possess. My drawing and painting style is influenced by painters in the Classical Realist and Realist movements as well as Art Nouveau and Renaissance.

At this point in my career, I am motivated to keep pushing my level of technique as a draftsman and as a painter. I relate this interest to my background in dance, specifically in ballet, which prizes discipline, focus, and a constant attention to refinement of craft and technique.

Mary Jane lives and works in Columbus, Ohio, where she teaches portrait, figure, and landscape painting classes at the Columbus Cultural Arts Center. Mary Jane had a nine year career as a professional dancer, dancing for classical ballet companies as well as small modern companies, individual choreographers and interdisciplinary projects. She worked with her partner Amery Kessler on a nationwide tour of his piece, Drum Casket in 2013. Mary Jane studied drawing and painting at the Grand Central Atelier in New York City, under Jacob Collins from 2012-2015. The program is a collaborative studio space, pursuing the methodology of historic ateliers to create drawing, painting and sculpture from life. Mary Jane was accepted into The Hudson River Fellowship in 2015. In 2017 she was one of three artists in residence at the Highlands Nature Sanctuary, in Bainbridge, Ohio. She is the recipient of several Artists in the Community grants from the Greater Columbus Arts Council. Mary Jane’s work has been shown at Eleventh Street Arts in New York City, The Columbus Cultural Arts Center, The Columbus Museum of Art, The Riffe Gallery (Columbus, OH), The Springfield Museum of Art (Springfield, OH), Keny Galleries (Columbus, OH), and is currently on view in Creating Identity From Place at The Southern Ohio Museum (Portsmouth, OH).