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Creating Graphic Narratives

Fred F. Silk Community Room Gallery August 1-30, 2020

 
To complement the 2020 NEA Big Read, the Massillon Museum will present Creating Graphic Narratives in its Fred F. Silk Community Room Gallery from August 1 through August 30, 2020.  The exhibition includes artists Lindsey Bryan, Alex Strader, and Doug Laubacher.  
 
"This is a wonderful opportunity to experience original artwork, for a genre typically seen only in print form or digitally. Viewers will be able to appreciate the artworks on several levels: through text, character development, and in the dynamic visual language of line, shape, color, and form itself, says Emily Vigil, who organized the exhibition.
 
Witch Moon Grow, by Lindsey J Bryan
 
Lindsey J. Bryan
 
Lindsey J. Bryan makes whimsical illustrations, mini comics, and books using mixed media. She crafts magical worlds and builds narratives using intricate cut-outs and collages, dancing on the line between tactile sculptural elements and childlike wonderment of unfettered imagination. A graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Art with a BFA in illustration and a concentration in creative writing, she works as a designer and illustrator for American Greetings. She frequently tables at Midwestern indie comic conventions selling handmade books, zines, art prints, and more.

 

Bryan perceives each panel of a comic as a work of art and literature unlike any other medium. “In my work I want to push the viewer’s idea of what comics can be, creating sequences with unexpected materials that inform their motifs, and making characters and scenarios more sentimental with that tactile artistry,” Bryan says. “I play with collaging and drawn materials with depth and shadow, using the space between a panel as an elevated frame to capture each moment of a story.” The body of work in this exhibition contains comics, covers, and posters created for magazines, books, and conventions, as well as some personal pieces exploring the artist’s fanciful musings.
 
 Cliff, by Alex Strader
 
Alex Strader 
 
Massillon native Alex Strader is an artist, illustrator, and educator whose work alternates between playful color and texture relationships and a graphic quality similar to comic books. Inspired by artists like Jim Nutt and Nicole Eisenman, as well as cartoonists such as Killoffer, Strader creates portraits and stories that do not strive to reveal what is real, but what is to be expected. He has exhibited in several Stark County Artists Exhibitions at the Museum; he is an art educator at Ohio Connections Academy.
 
Throughout his life, Alex Strader has been fascinated with merging visuals normally seen in pop culture and entertainment with ideas and philosophies that might not necessarily line up with the conventions of the former. “This back and forth is approached in different layers and can shift at any moment,” he says. “Bold flat colors and hard edges that are normally seen in a comic book or magazine can be juxtaposed with unique forms and inventive mark-making, while internal and external worlds take turns like binary on a computer. It is a dance of destructive familiarity and playful uncertainty.”
 
Unbound Cover, by Douglas Laubacher
 
Douglas Laubacher
 
Douglas Laubacher is a Northeast Ohio cartoonist and art educator. A National Cartoonist Society member, his comic strip, “Unbound,” can be read in weekly Bargain Hunter newspapers and the Wooster Weekly News. He traverses the land, teaching the craft of cartooning in art centers and libraries throughout the region. He teaches regularly at the Canton Museum of Art, The Tuscarawas County Art Center, and the Beck Center for the Arts. 
 
“I've wanted to be a cartoonist for as long as I can remember. I was fortunate to grow up during a time when comics were starting to be readily available in bound book collections, in some cases for the first time. Having been made to go to the library by my parents growing up, I was able to surround myself with comic strips like ‘Peanuts,’ ‘Calvin and Hobbes,’ ‘The Far Side,’ and ‘Bloom County,’ Laubacher says. “Unbound,” is a natural culmination of that experience. Since then, the popularity of the graphic novel has exploded and comics are a staple, not an afterthought, in even the most rural, remote local library. In hindsight, it's odd to think this comic could have been about anything but a library, according to Laubacher.
 
“While the marriage of graphic novels and libraries has broken the barrier for access to comics, few people think of the work that goes into creating such a thing. I'm happy to be able to display this work to help partially demystify that process for people. Having drawn this strip for over two years and published a book, the most rewarding thing has been seeing the original work displayed for people to enjoy. And after looking forward to visiting my local library every week as a kid, it's fitting that as an adult I'm able to draw a weekly comic strip that celebrates that space I enjoyed so much growing up,” Laubacher said.
 
This year’s Big Read focuses on the graphic novel, Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by New Yorker magazine cartoonist Roz Chast. If any books remain when guests visit the exhibition, they can pick up a free copy.
  
NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.  The Massillon Museum receives operating support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Ohio Arts Council, and ArtsinStark, as well as marketing support from Visit Canton.

 

The Museum has prepared the building and staff for maximum safety. Masks are required in accordance with state health mandates and visitors are urged to distance themselves from others.  Precautions and guidelines are posted on the Museum’s website for guests to review before they visit.
 
MassMu is open during regular hours Tuesday through Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday 21:00 to 5:00 p.m. It is located at 121 Lincoln Way East in downtown Massillon. Free parking is available on adjacent streets and in nearby city lots. For more information about the exhibition and the NEA Big Read, call the Massillon Museum at 330-833-4061 or visit massillonmuseum.org. A visit to the Massillon Museum is always free.
 
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