Exhibit preview: “The Art of Lustron” showcases paintings with house panels

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From the March 6, 2014 edition

Remember the Lustron house? No? It was a pre-fabricated house invented after the Great War — that’s what we called it back in those days, when wearing an onion on your belt was the fashion of the time — for returning soldiers starting families. Columbus was home to a Lustron factory, and Ohio has the most Lustron homes in the country.

Tacocat resident artist Brian Reaume, a Lustron owner, decided to build awareness for the historical homes through the awe-inspiring art exhibit, “The Art of Lustron.” All artists are donating 50 or 100 percent of profits from sold works to fund a burgeoning Lustron historical society in cooperation with Whitehall Historical Society, which, of course, is located in a Lustron.

Using the exterior 2-by-2-foot panels of Lustrons as a pseudo-canvas, 35 artists each created works — not an easy task.

“I was relying on the maturity level of artists … to take the challenge of working with this material. These houses were never meant to be painted, never. There’s a lot of prep work for these panels to take paint properly,” Reaume said.

And these aren’t just panels with paint.

“[They] stepped up to the challenge visually, aesthetically. There’s photography, illustration, some sculpture and all these different iterations and ideas,” Reaume said.

Reaume created a piece to coincide with his ongoing “Shelter Series,” an assemblage of beautifully ramshackled harbors through paintings and sculptures. Reaume’s panel is as charismatic as the work required to create it; a buckshot aesthetic in the hardest way possible, with hammer, nails and screws.

“I have a shotgun, but I didn’t want to take it in my backyard because people seem to bitch,” Reaume said with a chuckle. “I had to go through, rust it and then I full-rusted it again. It was a whole process, but it looks just like buckshot.”

Reaume’s piece is representative of the work ethic — local artist Walter Herrmann spent 23 devoted days on his collage — creativity and range in the exhibit opening Saturday. Everything from chairs to bondage pieces (yes, you can and should wear it) have been created out of Lustron panels.

An opening reception, where most artists will be present along with former Lustron factory workers and home owners, for “The Art of Lustron” is 6-9 p.m. Saturday.

Photo by Jeffry Konczal