By Samantha Richardson, writing intern at OSU Urban Arts Space
Developing clarity and questions during the past three years at the Ohio State University, the Department of Art graduating class of 2020 invites you to their culminating exhibition, Ballast, as Master of Fine Arts students. To be experienced sharply — artwork in an array of mediums, styles, spirts and motivations, brought to you by 16 different local artists. I was able to sit down with two artists, Jacklyn Brickman and Benedict Scheuer, to discuss their influences, goals, and what this upcoming exhibition means to them.
Samantha: Tell me a little bit about yourself as an artist.
Jacklyn: I moved to Columbus with my family to continue my career as an artist in 2017. I have always been interested in art and knew from a very young age that I wanted to pursue art professionally. I love working across disciplines. This project specifically is a blend of science fact and speculative fiction. I’m very much inspired by my family.
Benedict: Similarly, I have always been passionate about art; however, I didn’t realize this is what I wanted to do with my life until just before applying to graduate school. I pursued Environmental Studies in undergrad, but deciding to come to Ohio State for my MFA was very transformative for me. I spend my summers in the Appalachian Mountains in Tennessee with my partner, and you can find the influences of the mountains, my partner and the garden we grow all throughout my work. The time spent in Tennessee gardening with my love is the groundwork for everything that I’m currently creating.
Samantha: What are some goals you have for yourself after completing your MFA?
Jacklyn: I hope to have a studio in Columbus after I graduate to continue making work. I’m especially interested in making art that opens up dialogue about our social and environmental climate.
Benedict: I plan on moving back to Tennessee with my partner to live there full-time. My time in and around the garden, specifically, arouses my making and shapes my process in ways that I’m still trying to understand. Most of my impulses comes from my time there — living life with my partner, loving and tending to our garden and our relationship.
Samantha: Can you describe the piece that you will be presenting for the exhibition?
Jacklyn: My work in Ballast is a speculative laboratory in the Department of Planetary Futures that is actively researching the possibility of propagating onions to form a planet B. This includes several types of experiments and stages of onion propagation housed in 4 different growth chambers. I will be working in the laboratory during the week and will offer lab tours to visitors.
Benedict: My work for the exhibition is composed of three main parts: a large tomb-like sculpture made by a process of pouring plaster into the garden on which two 13’ sunflowers rest, an experimental film projected inside of a large fringe and denim covered greenhouse, and a large watercolor painting depicting the landscape of the garden through a fantastical and mysterious rendering. A central theme of the work is death, which I am seeking to understand as both a physical and spiritual cycle. Love finds a way into the work as well.
Samantha: What’s the best thing about the Columbus art scene right now?
Jacklyn: I really appreciate the supportive nature of the fellow artists I’ve met in Columbus. People seem to be really thoughtful about what each other is working on.
Benedict: Second Sight Project is a really incredible art organization run by Mona Gazala. It is an artist-run space that is truly for the community and Mona does incredible work.
Visit Jacklyn, Benedict and the other MFA students for free during Ballast at OSU Urban Arts Space, located at 50 W. Town St. The exhibition runs from Tuesday, Feb. 18 to Saturday, March 14. The gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., except on Thursdays, in which the hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.