Gallery Hop preview: May’s showcase has a lot to see

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From the May 1, 2014 edition

Maybe it’s the warm weather. Maybe it’s just a coincidence. For whatever reason, this weekend’s Gallery Hop is full of arts definitely worth seeing. The best approach would be to stroll High Street and stop in as many places as possible, because almost everywhere has something cool. But if you’re looking for a little guidance, here are some exhibitions to not miss.

“Ben Quinn: 3D Life”

This is the last chance to see a solo exhibition from an exciting young artist in Ben Quinn, who’ll be moving to San Francisco for graduate school next fall. It’s unfortunate Quinn is leaving, but luckily he’s created a spectacular showcase to go out on.

“3D Life” offers contemplation of some heavy topics like metaphysics, mysticism, existentialism and even alien life, with art that’s catchy, animated and colorful. The balance works.

“A lot of this is really graphic, colorful and playful. That’s reminiscent of this overwhelming energy of wanting to know; being in limbo because a lot of this metaphysical stuff is really hard to quantify. It’s totally intangible so how I express it … is snapshots of intense emotions,” said Quinn during an interview while previewing his exhibit.

Quinn has previously focused mostly on painting, but felt the need to expand his artistic repertoire, and this was the perfect chance; a solo show where he’ll have pieces in three different rooms, including installations, sculptures, video and painted works.

“I’m starting to think beyond the stretched canvas and build more of an environment, or alter a space, or explore new media I haven’t tried before,” Quinn said.

“3D Life” features more than 25 mixed media works, in many sizes and shapes. All of it is instantly appealing and a bit mesmerizing.

“Perspectives”

An art exhibit at Stonewall Columbus presented by teen artists showcasing thoughtfulness and youthful wisdom is immediately intriguing.

“This is Stonewall, an organization that caters to people who’re fighting for equality right now. So we just wanted to represent their voice in a very open and sensitive way that everyone is included and no one feels like they’re on the outs. That’s what we want for the world, the equality,” said Mallory Soska, who’s co-curating with fellow high school students Briana Everheart, Jordyn Fina and Amber Galina.

“Perspectives” gives a powerful a voice to those who often find it hard to speak up at that age. Themes presented involve body acceptance, learning disorders, anxiety and depression and sexual identity.

“I’m queer and I’ve recently come out in the past two years about that. So I’ve been trying to get more [involved] in the community,” Fina said. “This is the first time I’ve really done it and … it’s exposed me to the type of people that I wanted to and thought I would meet. And it’s given me a new perspective on myself.”

“Wax Nostalgic”

Sure, almost anyone can use Crayons to create art, but not the way California-based artist Hoang Tran does. Tran was attending dental school when he realized his creative passions weren’t being met.

So what did Tran do? He became a renowned artist — using the skills and tools he learned in dental school — creating intricate sculptures out of Crayons. Inspired by geek and pop culture (from TV, movies, cartoons and comic books) as subjects, Tran has created everything from “Star Wars” to “Breaking Bad” in wax miniature sculptures that are truly impressive.

“Wax Nostalgic” at Rivet Gallery will have a cartoon focus, so expect works including “Adventure Time,” “Futurama,” “The Simpsons” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.”