Downtown gallery explores new art form

Phile has only been painting for about a year, but hes showcased his work in the gallery many times. His paintings are colorful and full of meaning, says Blake Kaczynski, 28, of Kent. Submitted photo.

Phile has only been painting for about a year, but he’s showcased his work in the gallery many times. “His paintings are colorful and full of meaning,” says Blake Kaczynski, 28, of Kent. Submitted photo.

Rachel Hagenbaugh

Standing Rock Cultural Arts incorporated a new medium by including sculptures in its latest exhibit, “Nature Made.”

Laine Keener, the artist behind the exhibit, graduated from Kent State in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts with a concentration in sculpting.

“I was initially a painting major,” Keener said. “I took sculpting one and realized I was meant to work dimensionally.”

The body of work on display at the gallery is called “Ethereal Tension.” Keener created it for her senior show at Kent State. Her sculptures are similar to dream catchers.

Keener said she used to be haunted by her dreams. About a year ago she began to try to get more in touch with herself spiritually by reading and meditating. When she sat down to begin her senior project, she had no idea what she wanted to create.

“My sculptures are what organically came out of me through exploration,” Keener said. “It kind of created itself.”

Keener’s sculptures are mostly white. She said she wanted to keep them a neutral color to promote a peaceful, calm feeling.

There are hints of green and yellow throughout some of the sculptures, which alludes to nature, Keener said.

Jeff Ingram, executive director at Standing Rock, said the concept of Keener’s work appealed to him.

“I like weaving and sculptures, and she combined both,” he said.

It took about four months for Keener to create the sculptures. The gallery includes 38 webs, three big, five medium, and 30 small ones made out of wire dipped in wax.

Keener also had three similar sculptures that were too big to fit in the studio. She said she was initially worried about putting her work in the gallery’s small space.

“It worked out perfectly because I got to install my work in a different way than it was seen before,” she said.

The gallery at the senior show was bigger, so Keener’s sculptures were spaced apart side by side. At Standing Rock, the shadows of the sculptures overlap and you can stand in the middle of them.

“Nature Made” art exhibit

Who: Laine Keener and Gary Phile

Where: Standing Rock Cultural Arts

257 North Water Street, Kent

When: 1-5 p.m, Thursday-Saturday, or by appointment

Exhibit ends Feb. 25

“Standing under the sculpture feels surreal,” said Blake Kaczynski, 28, of Kent. “It feels like the (movie) Labyrinth.”

Ingram said he sees something different every time he looks at the sculpture. This time, he said the shadows looked like flowers.

Keener’s work wasn’t originally going to be part of the exhibit. It was supposed to be a solo show, featuring paintings by Gary Phile, 40, of Rootstown.

Phile said he’d known about the exhibit at the gallery for a couple months. He began getting a showcase of his work together, but his work was selling quicker than he anticipated. Once Phile realized he wouldn’t have enough work to fill the space, he called Ingram and suggested that he find a another artist to share the gallery.

Ingram said Keener and Phile’s art works well together because they had something in common.

“They both have nature as their basis,” Ingram said. “One is a painting medium, the other one’s a sculpture medium.”

While Keener’s sculptures features more neutral colors, Phile’s art is more colorful.

“He has skies you just want to stand under and environments you want to throw yourself in, even though it’s just a painting,” Keener said.

Contact Rachel Hagenbaugh at [email protected].