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Opening Reception: Katie Butler and Kayla Weinman

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Akron Soul Train artist-in-residence Katie Butler presents “Bread and Butter,” a series of still-life paintings commenting on financial disparities in American society. Scenes of everyday spaces and objects, like a barn, a gingham tablecloth, or an American flag are framed in the background: small, obscured, and off at a distance. In juxtaposition, the foreground radically shifts in scale with a large table set with fine china, wine, and food delicacies. Butler uses this contrast to accentuate the income divide in contemporary American society and examine the difference in realities between the average citizen and those in power. Both boldly provocative and shrouded in disparity, Butler’s paintings seek to narrate the class climate in American society.

Artist Kayla Weinman creates representational objects that somehow have a twist whether they are intentionally smaller, larger, brighter, or have exaggerated features. In “Clowning Around,” Weinman designs pieces inspired by specific parts of a clown’s attire using coils, slabs, hyper-smoothing, carving, and stitchwork. Certain pieces are photographed on a model, which amplifies the juxtaposition of the large, stiff, visibly uncomfortable, and unfitting attire with the human body wearing it. At first look “Clowning Around” may seem humorous and nostalgic, but as a viewer examines the life-size clown attire and how it looks on a model, underlying themes of insecurity and anxiety surface. A clown may seem simple and direct, yet they find ways to satirize situations, entertain, and make light of the complexities of everyday life. In Weinman’s “Clowning Around,” there’s an element of levity but the pieces may surprisingly evoke a personal reflection of how individuals “mold” with society.