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Collaborating and Curating, Two Columbus Artists Work Together

By Lisa Steward (they/them), marketing co-chair at 934 Gallery and 934 Gallery board member

Kathryn Seyerle and Sarah Achor are both Columbus-based artists and longtime volunteers at 934 Gallery, located in Milo-Grogan. Together, they curate 934 Gallery’s annual Group Show: space/time, opening Friday, Nov. 5, from 7-10 p.m.

Lisa: Can you tell me about your personal creative work?
Kathryn: Right now it’s slow and quiet. I’m working with the ideas of isolation and daily ritual and the small acts that accumulate into larger moments. It’s a lot of tea-stained fabric and sewing and trying to figure out what to do with all the daily self-portraits I’ve been taking since April 2020.

Sarah: My personal work is often very slow. I shoot with film and old cameras. I paint on small pieces of wood. Recently, I have honestly been in a bit of a creative slump, as far as actually creating work. I will often take a break from my usual forms of artwork (film and paint) to explore other things. I have been doing a lot of hand sewing; it’s been very meditative. I also started metal detecting. Both have influenced my recent revival in creative work.

Lisa: What has been your inspiration in your personal creative work?
Kathryn: My mother and grandmother did a lot of needlework when I was younger and I have recently found my way back to that. My background is in book arts so I’m always trying to tell a story. Right now I take inspiration from my immediate surroundings (my house and my studio), the handful of people who inhabit those spaces with me and how I navigate those spaces and relationships.

Sarah: I get inspiration from current/relevant events, history, human nature and mother nature. I find people fascinating and bizarre; I also deal with social anxiety often. I think no matter what medium I am working with, these themes recur.

Lisa: How does curating play into your personal creative work?
Kathryn/Sarah: Curating group shows is a fantastic way to see what other artists are doing and discover an unexpected inspiration.

Untitled piece by Kathryn Seyerle

Lisa: Where do you come up with the ideas for the themes of your group shows?
Kathryn/Sarah: Most of our ideas come to us when we’re taking down the previous show. We start tossing out ideas and see which ones stick.

Lisa: How have you seen the art and artists in Columbus change and evolve since you started curating group shows?
Kathryn/Sarah: It’s hard for us to see how things have changed because the parameters for each of our shows have been so vastly different. That said, we get at least three times the submissions when the theme is open-ended like Underwater or space/time as opposed to The Mouse Show (a show centered around work for mice) and Eat Me (a food-themed show with edible work) which had very specific constraints.

Lisa: Do you like to see artists take themes literally?
Kathryn/Sarah: We do! We live in a literal world and it’s nice to see how that can be reflected back. It’s also nice to see people come at the theme from a different place. We think the best part of having a theme is just seeing all the different ways it can be interpreted.

Untitled painting by Sarah Achor

Lisa: Tell me about one of the most unexpected ways someone has interpreted one of your themes.
Kathryn/Sarah: For the Underwater show, someone created an installation with their desk from home complete with all the crap that usually finds its way into a home desk. We think the intention was to represent the feeling of drowning in daily life and we really appreciated that interpretation of the theme.

Lisa: In your opinion, what is the best thing about the Columbus art scene right now?
Kathryn/Sarah: The perseverance of the artists. It’s been a rough year and a half and it’s been a joy to watch so many artists thrive in the midst of uncertainty. But isn’t that what artists do anyway?

See 934 Gallery’s annual Group Show: space/time,, opening Friday, Nov. 5, from 7-10 p.m., co-curated by Kathryn Seyerle and Sarah Achor.

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