Exhibition of abstract art offers opportunity for reflection, meditation

April Sunami had the time of year and the exhibition site in mind when she developed the concept for “Contemplating Grace,” the winter exhibition Sunami curated for the Martin de Porres Center. Sunami also sought out makers of abstract art.

“I really wanted to highlight artists doing abstract work [because] I just feel we don't see enough of it. And some of my favorite artists in Columbus are abstract artists,” Sunami said.

Sunami said she was inspired by some recent studio visits, citing artists Jane O'Dea, Michael Bush and Queen Brooks among those whose recent work she hoped to highlight. (Other artists featured include Christine Guillot Ryan, Janet George, Jan O'Dea, Lisa Horkin, Todd Camp, Kenya Davis and Ashley Vance.)

“There are so many shows, it seems, that are personal or political, and really heavy. And of course we need to have art that does that, but I wanted something that would allow people to step away from that, to start the year out with beauty and grace and peace,” Sunami said.

The show's subtitle is “Meditations on Abstract Art.” Sunami said she asked for work that was contemplative, in part because that's her personal feeling about the Martin de Porres Center, a religious education and outreach center sponsored by the Dominican Sisters of Peace.

“For group shows, you just have to pick artists based on the strength of their work. Then you ask them to present something they feel fits the theme. I always like to allow artists to be very loose in their interpretation, and it's maybe even more so with abstract work,” Sunami said.

Sunami allowed that a group abstract show can present some challenges to the viewer.

“Any work asks the viewer to bring something to it, but with abstract work, it asks something a little different,” she said. “And when abstract work by different artists is put together it can be a little confusing, because of how differently artists do abstract work. So we're asking the viewer to do a little bit of work.”

But mostly, Sunami said, she hopes viewers are moved by the work.

“It's just the kind of place that when I think about it I think of being meditative, and being a space that has that kind of atmosphere that allows you to look at art and just think or just feel something,” Sunami said. “People can obviously take what they want from it, but I just felt like that would be a way to kick off the new year with something very inspirational.”

“Contemplating Grace: Meditations on Abstract Art” will be on view through Feb. 28.