This year the Sister City program between Columbus and Dresden, Germany, celebrates 20 years, so it’s fitting to celebrate the art resulting from this ongoing cultural exchange.
“Time and Place: An International Exhibition of Works on Paper,” showing through Oct. 20 at OSU Urban Arts Space, brings together 36 artists from Ohio and Dresden. All of the artists have taken part in the Dresden Residency Exchange funded by the Ohio Arts Council.
Each year, this printmaking exchange program sends two Ohio artists to work at Grafikwerkstatt in Dresden, and two German artists travel to Cleveland’s Zygote Press.
“I think it’s taken on a life of its own,” Nicholas Hill said of the residency program. Hill, a professor of art at Otterbein College, is both the show’s curator and a participating artist.
“The wonderful thing about having had so many exchanges over so much time is that — although the Ohio Arts Council is still very critical to its survival — there are permutations of it,” he said. “So many of these artists in Ohio know so many artists in Germany that ongoing connections, relationships and exhibitions have resulted in both locations that have nothing to do directly with the exchange.”
Hill, for example, who first visited Dresden in 1997 and has been many times since, collaborated two years ago with German artist Jean Kirsten on a portfolio exchange between Ohio and German printmakers.
For “Time and Place,” Kirsten has contributed a show-stopping abstract collage titled “Collage for L.1.” He manages to achieve a dynamic, illusory effect with a black and white palette.
Meanwhile, Hill’s print “Dresden Dusk” uses an almost antique palette that could evoke the brick streets of German Village as easily as an autumn dusk in Dresden.
In choosing the theme of time and place, Hill speaks to one of the challenges artists in the residency program often face: to live in the present and immerse yourself in your surroundings while not forgetting to get to work.
“Get past the novelty of where you are and yet not ignore where you are. That requires some balance,” he said.