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Visitors look at art on view at the 12th Annual OOVAR Juried Exhibition

Four Ohio Artists Win Awards in 12th Annual OOVAR Exhibition

The Prestige by Jason MorganMost people would not typically view a pepper, two coat hooks, an antique Christmas tree bulb, and a bundle of leafy greens as “treasure.” Wilmington-based portrait artist Jason Morgan would beg to differ.

“The theme for the exhibition this year (“My Treasures Are Within”) was a perfect match for The Prestige, which contains the most ordinary objects. And yet, I still think they are visual treasures,” Morgan said. “For me, what is ‘within’ is the challenge to represent these objects both technically and compositionally in such a way that the viewer will see them as treasures, too.”

This approach won over at least one viewer, as Morgan’s acrylic piece was chosen for one of three $500 Juror’s Choice Awards at the 12th Annual Ohio Online Visual Artist Registry (OOVAR) Juried Exhibition closing ceremony on Jan. 12.

Presented by the Ohio Arts Council (OAC), Columbus Metropolitan Library, and Friends of the Library, the exhibition showcased Ohio artists registered in OOVAR, a database of work of more than 1,900 artists from Ohio and all over the world. This year, 37 artists working in a variety of mediums were selected for the show, which was held in the Columbus Metropolitan Main Library. Works explored the theme of “My Treasures Are Within,” a phrase inscribed in stone above the library’s main entrance.

At Table Number 47, Dayton, Ohio, by Glenna JenningsFor Dayton-based artist Glenna Jennings, the theme inspired a literal look into what it means to be invited into someone else’s space. Her archival pigment print called At Table #47 (Dayton, Ohio) depicts a post-Thanksgiving get-together with a group of friends and their furry family member, a dog named Cody. It was also selected for an OAC-sponsored Juror’s Choice Award.

“The entire At Table series addresses this theme, as the photographs are quite often interiors of homes or familiar spaces, where the ‘treasures’ consist of both the people within and the material abundance they share,” said Jennings, an assistant professor of photography at the University of Dayton. “The notion of home runs throughout much of my work ... I would like viewers to feel they can enter the photographs to be present in some way, especially in cultural spaces they may have never yet seen for themselves. Finding familiarity in difference is important in my work.”

Charlotte Lees by her piece, My Space.Observation of one’s surroundings is a key part of Charlotte Lees’ artistic process and resulting work, as seen in her Juror’s Choice Award-winning piece entitled My Space.

“Using nature as my catalyst, I collect and store the images that I see around me. I hold them in my memory bank to be later transformed into unique works of art. These images and impressions are my 'treasures within,’” said Lees, who resides in Solon. “To incorporate mirrored steel was a new challenge, but I felt it gave the viewer an entrance into my world. I would like the viewer to enter My Space and reflect on the gift of nature and enjoy the moment."

Elements of nature, specifically flowers, are showcased on a grand scale in Evie Zimmer’s oil on canvas painting called Lush, which won the People’s Choice Award. Sponsored by the Friends of the Library, this $500 award was determined based on ballots cast by patrons of the gallery and library.

Evie Zimmer by her piece, Lush.Zimmer, a Cleveland-based artist known for her vibrant op-art pieces, said the floral imagery in her work expresses a feminine power that works to overcome destructive forces.

“Being an artist, I put my feelings on the canvas. All the ugliness, I try to get rid of that and express beauty. I feel that every step closer to beauty and closer to the life that I want, the farther away the pain is that I struggled with years ago,” she said. “Because of my struggles when I was younger, I call myself a survivor, and one of the reasons that I survived was because of my art. Besides an ability to love and be kind and compassionate, I knew I had something more—my ability to create. That particular treasure has shaped my life."

For more information about the 12th Annual OOVAR Juried Exhibition, including a list of all artists in the show, visit the OAC website.

Presented by the Ohio Arts Council (OAC), Columbus Metropolitan Library, and Friends of the Library, the exhibition showcases Ohio artists registered in OOVAR, a database of work of more than 1,900 artists from Ohio and all over the world. 

The Ohio Arts Council is a state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally, and economically. Connect with the OAC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or visit our website at


Article by Amanda Etchison, Communications Strategist
Featured photo by Katie Monahan, Communications Strategist

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