The work of four Ohio artists received awards at the 13 th annual Ohio Online Visual Artist Registry (OOVAR) Juried Show , which celebrated its closing reception at the Columbus Metropolitan Library’s Carnegie Gallery on Feb. 29. Presented by the Ohio Arts Council (OAC), the Columbus Metropolitan Library, and Friends of the Library, the annual show features a juried selection of work by Ohio artists registered in OOVAR, a database of work by more than 1,900 artists from all over the world. Donna Coleman of Oberlin, Linda Hutchinson of Kent, and Angie Rucker of Westerville were awarded the three Juror’s Choice Awards, $500 prizes sponsored by the OAC and awarded by the exhibition’s jurors: Kevin Lyles , a professional artist from Gallipolis; Michael Suh of the Columbus Metropolitan Library; and Julie Newhall of Friends of the Library. Samantha Bias, an artist from Cleveland, received the People’s Choice Award, a $500 prize sponsored by the Friends of the Library, which was selected based on ballots cast by patrons of the gallery and library. “ When I received the call that I was selected for the People’s Choice Award, I was extremely humbled, happy, and quite surprised. I had never won a People’s Choice, and I personally feel that it is the most coveted because not only a select few judges had chosen me, but a wave of people did, and that made me feel very good about myself and my art,” said Bias. Bias’ mixed media piece titled “Layla’s Bad Hair Day” is her first that has been accepted into an OOVAR Juried Show . Inspired by a desire to explore a more sustainable artistic practice, Bias created “Layla’s Bad Hair Day” through a technique called a chlorophyll process, which uses sunlight and natural properties of pigmentation to bleach an image directly onto the surface of a leaf. For her piece, Bias said she used a photograph she took of a summer art student who turned out to be the perfect model despite some initial reluctance. “She was particularly not welcoming the idea of having her portrait taken that day,” Bias said. “After some convincing and reassurance of trust, Layla agreed to have her photo taken and ultimately became the inspiration of this piece.” Portraiture was a theme that extended to other award-winning works in the show, such as Rucker’s “Unidentified African American Soldier in Front of Slave Pen,” a ninth-plate ambrotype realized through digital art and photography. Rucker, whose work was previously featured in the 2018 OOVAR Juried Show , said the piece is part of a series of images drawn from her “curiosity about and bewilderment of the Civil War.” “This image particularly held significance for me. The longer I worked on it, I began to feel a great respect for this soldier and intensely felt an obligation to do him justice artistically,” she said, adding that the creation of the final image required intensive historical research into original photographs, illustrations, and other primary sources housed in private collections and the Library of Congress. She also scanned and photographed authentic Civil War artifacts, which she added to the image as the buttons and belt buckles adorning the soldier’s uniform. “The series is my attempt for people to see these soldiers as real people instead of fictional characters from another time,” Rucker said. “In the end, all my work is an attempt to create a physical representation of human character.” A similar message was shared in Coleman’s oil painting titled “Do Si Do,” an eye-catching, brightly patterned piece that depicts a multifarious crowd of men and women forming an interconnected web that fills the canvas from edge to edge. Coleman, who has previously participated in two OOVAR shows, said “Do Si Do” references two other paintings with the same cast of characters, albeit arranged in different situations. “In these two other paintings, the same characters as in ‘Do Si Do’ are isolated in cubicles. In ‘Us/Them,’ each person has their palms outstretched, as if defending themselves. In ‘Them/Us,’ those same people have their fists clenched,” Coleman said. “In both of these paintings, these people have succumbed to their fears of each other and all other people. But in ‘Do Si Do,’ they decide to approach each other in greeting and possible dancing—and maybe even romance—instead.” By concerning her work with different aspects of community, Coleman said she hopes to evoke emotion in those who view her paintings. “My goal with my painting is to move people,” she said. “Although I am not a denominationally religious person, I love Pope Francis and his quote, ‘see their faces.’ If we all saw each other’s faces, really saw them, the world would be a more joyous place, I believe.” For Hutchinson, the scene captured in her oil-on-canvas piece, “Equilibrium,” taps into the feelings of joy and exhilaration that accompany her family’s favorite pastime: kayaking. “We are a family of kayakers … on Mogadore Reservoir, and occasionally on local rivers,” she said in her artist statement. “The goal of the kayaker is to maintain equilibrium at all times; more easily attained on calm water. Balance is more difficult to maintain in turbulent white water … just like life.” Reflecting on the exhibition this year, Hutchinson said she was delighted to see a variety of mediums represented in the show, which included approximately 40 pieces by 38 artists hailing from 24 Ohio cities. “It is refreshing to see all mediums displayed together; it made the entire exhibition a thrill a minute,” she said. “What a terrific bit of community! I am so very honored to have my work hung with such interesting work from all over the state.” For more information about the 13th annual OOVAR Juried Exhibition , including a list of all artists in the show, visit the OAC website . View more artwork on the OOVAR site at ohioonlinearts.org . ABOUT THE OHIO ARTS COUNCIL 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 oac.ohio.gov . ### Article by Amanda Etchison, Communications Strategist Featured photo: 13th annual OOVAR Juried Show jurors' choice award winners. (From left) Linda Hutchinson (Kent), Donna Coleman (Oberlin), Angie Rucker (Westerville), Ohio Arts Council Artist Programs/Percent for Art Director Kathy Signorino, and OAC Executive Director Donna S. Collins. Not pictured: People’s Choice Award winner Samantha Bias (Cleveland). Photo by Amanda Etchison.