We preview three don't-miss exhibits at this month's Hop.
Mimi McCann & Jessica Langley: "Running Animal"
Mahan Gallery, 717 N. High St., May 1-29
Columbus artist Mimi McCann has drawn dozens of pictures of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's children, starlets on the red carpet and screen legends caught in scandalous poses.
But she doesn't posterize them or glorify their glamour or disgrace. Instead, she extracts their images from the usual damning words about their exploits or rumored behavior, making them more ordinary, drawn in pencil, colored in with eyeshadow.
"You can add a headline to any image and condemn somebody," she says. "When you put them in a different context, it's not so scandalous."
In her earlier work, McCann liked to draw pictures of family portraits and snapshots, but she made the transition to tabloid photographs, finding a connection between them.
"They almost feel like everybody's family - everyone has an opinion about the people in tabloids," she says.
"I just started drawing them and I noticed that more people could recognize these people in them. Sometimes it's a little vague, sometimes people can figure it out. I kind of enjoyed that it brought out conversations about current events instead of just about art - it involves people in the work on a different level."
While she doesn't follow celebrity news heavily, she reads the headlines in the grocery stores, gets copies of the magazines from friends and also draws from the wealthy history of tabloid images. Her pieces in the Mahan Gallery show include celebrity subjects from many eras, some more recognizable than others.
"Some of them are just ephemera, some of them you just think about for a minute and some will be around forever, will always be interesting to us," says McCann.
McCann's exhibit, "Running Animal," also features Cleveland artist Jessica Langley's graphic, nature-inspired work.
Mother Artists at Work, "Hard Labor"
Sean Christopher Gallery, 815 N. High St., May 1-29
Mother Artists at Work formed in 2005 to create a network of support for art-making moms. It's now a tight-knit group of over 20 women who meet twice a month to nurture each other as they run the gauntlet of producing, networking and exhibiting their work while navigating the daily terrain of motherhood.
"Hard Labor" is their second group show. A candid look at motherhood, the canvasses, sculptures and photographs in the show reflect on its physical, spiritual and emotional challenges.
"People don't talk about the hard parts of motherhood. They tend to paint it through rose-colored glasses, when it's truly hard work," said artist and founding member Alissa Sorensen, whose knit piece depicts the soul of a baby emerging from and overshadowing the soul of its mother. "It takes a lot of psychological and spiritual work to be a good parent."
Karl Mullen: "Unframed and Unplugged"
Lindsay Gallery, 986 N. Nigh St.
Artist's reception 6-9 p.m. Friday, April 30
Works on paper by the highly collected Karl Mullen make an appearance at Lindsay Gallery through the month of May. The Irish-born, Philadelphia-based artist is best known for creating dreamlike two-dimensional works out of wax, powder pigments and walnut oil with his hands. His pieces read like primitive Marc Chagall, drawn from personal experiences, entwined with Irish myths.
Mullen is also an accomplished songwriter. His 1970s song "Whiskey From the Field" received a Grammy nomination. After his reception on Friday, he'll perform songs from his new album, "Little Sticks," as well as past selections.