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UC Blue Ash Professor’s Work Featured in 73rd Ohio Annual Exhibition


University of Cincinnati Blue Ash College Professor John Wolfer is putting his talent on display in two prestigious shows this summer, including the premier exhibition for artists in Ohio.

Wolfer’s sculpture, Canal Days, is part of the 73rd Ohio Annual Exhibition, which is on display through September 8 at the Zanesville Museum of Art in Zanesville, Ohio. He also had a painting titled The Miller’s Daughter in an international exhibition that recently wrapped up in Rockville, Maryland.

Canal Days - Closed

The closed version of the Canal Days sculpture shows the route of the Miami and Erie Canal when it was used to transport goods.

Wolfer is a professor of art and chair of the Art & Visual Communication Department at UC Blue Ash College. This doesn’t give him much time to create new work or apply for shows, but he tries to display his work at least two or three times each year. This is the first time one of his submissions was selected for the Ohio Annual Exhibition.

“I’m pretty excited about it. It’s a show that usually represents a cross-section of the more accomplished artists across Ohio,” says Wolfer.

His art is interesting and unique. Wolfer is the son of a butcher, so meat and bones often play a role in his work. The Canal Days sculpture is a perfect example; it features bones from a cow that he received from his father-in-law (it’s not a particularly unusual gift, given Wolfer’s artistic theme).

“When going through the bones, a pattern quickly arose. Most them were meta-carpal (‘hand’) and meta-tarsal (‘foot’) bones and were probably discarded because there’s not much meat on that part of the cow,” says Wolfer. “I was interested in both the fact that they were thrown into the Miami and Erie Canal long ago and that they seemed to represent the fate of the canal itself.”

The sculpture also includes two parallel associations to the canal. On the right is a mule, situated with a painted motif from a canal boat. The other side depicts the Cincinnati-Lake Erie Railroad’s logo, whose ‘Red Devil’ train took over the route of the original canal.

Wolfer’s piece is part of the multi-dimensional artwork series titled Cabinets of Curiosity. These cabinets held collections and specimens that tell stories or spark an interest in the Natural Sciences. Eventually the size and scope of the collections required that they go on display in a museum.

Read more about the 73rd Ohio Annual Exhibition.

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