In the next in our 12 for 12 series highlighting local artists for the Columbus Bicentennial, we feature James Roy Hopkins and Edna Boies.
Ohio born James Roy Hopkins (1877-1969) met his future wife Edna Boies (1872-1937) while they both were students at the Art Academy of Cincinnati. James was primarily a painter and Edna quickly became an accomplished printmaker, fascinated with 19th century Japanese woodblock prints. The couple married in 1904 following a two year stint James had made in Paris to study at the Académie Colarossi. During their honeymoon, they had a protracted visit to Japan where Edna further perfected her woodblock printmaking techniques. James and Edna settled in Paris as did many American artists of the day only to return home to Cincinnati, Ohio when World War I broke out. James taught at the Art Academy of Cincinnati and Edna successfully continued her career making floral woodblock prints.
The summer of 1915 was pivotal for both artists. Edna visited artist friends who were living and working in Provincetown, Massachusetts where she began using the so-called “white line” method of making woodblock prints that was special to a small group of artists there. These prints were less laborious to produce than previous methods and their look tended to reflect the Modernist aesthetic that was becoming widespread in American art. The Columbus Museum of Art’s recently acquired Garden Flowers is a prime example of her floral work likely made in Provincetown but in the traditional multi-block method. James, on the other hand, visited Cumberland Falls, Kentucky, a rural resort fashionable among Cincinnati society, and was captivated by the hand-working Appalachian people who worked at the local Brunson Inn. One character in particular, Andy Vanover—and later other members of his clan—was a frequent sitter for James’s paintings. In subsequent summers, Edna would join James in Cumberland Falls and she too produced some marvelous woodblock prints, images of rural Appalachia that have become as highly prized and her husband’s oil paintings of similar subjects.
Edna and James both led productive and successful careers. Edna traveled extensively between Provincetown, Paris, New York, and Columbus, where James had been appointed artist in residence at the Ohio State University. He soon was given the position of chairman of OSU’s art department. Although they worked in different media and styles—Edna in a Modernist style, James in an Impressionist—they valued each other’s work and maintained a loving and mutually supporting relationship throughout their lives.
(Edna Boies Hopkins, Garden Flowers, c. 1915, Color woodcut,
Museum Purchase Howald Fund)
In the next in our 12 for 12 Columbus Bicentennial series honoring Columbus artists from our permanent collection, we highlight photographer Kojo Kamau.
Throughout his life, Kojo Kamau has made major contributions to the vitality of the arts in Columbus. His photographs chronicle Columbus not only as his home, but also as a cultural, artistic, and political crossroads. For five decades, his work has detailed a changing landscape, acknowledging the troubled political and social history of African Americans, but always through a positive lens. Community, travels, portraits of artists and musicians, both local and international, and social issues are constant themes. Kojo was greatly inspired by Elijah Pierce, whom he photographed numerous times (as you can see in the above picture). In addition to his photographic work, Kojo has been an essential, avid activist and supporter of the arts. In 1979 he and his late wife, Mary Ann Williams, founded Art for Community Expression (ACE), a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the work of African-American artists.
Born Robert Jones in 1939, in 1970 he changed his name to Kojo Kamau, which means “unconquerable quiet one” in Yoruba, one of the many languages spoken in West Africa. He attended the Rochester Institute of Technology, The Ohio State University, and the Columbus College of Art and Design to study photography. From 1964 until 1994 Kojo was the chief photographer for The Ohio State University College of Medicine. Currently he teaches photography at Columbus State Community College.
(Above: Pierce Painting a Carving in His Shop by Kojo Kamau from the Columbus Museum of Art permanent collection).
Art Speaks. Join the Conversation.
In the next of our 12 for 12 series in celebration of the Columbus Bicentennial, we feature native Columbus glass artist Christopher Ries.
While bow fishing as a child in Little Darby Creek, glass artist Christopher Ries was fascinated by the optical illusions created by light underwater. Ever since, Ries has been seeking to share his discoveries into the mystery of light as revealed through the medium of glass. Guided by this “inner necessity,” a phrase borrowed from Wassily Kandinsky, Ries sought material of increasing optical purity for his sculptures. Having found a lead crystal that transmits 99.8 percent of the light that strikes it, Ries has worked to create larger and more ambitious pieces.
Clearly Ries takes pride in his ability to create monumental pieces from cast crystal blocks. But there is a more profound reason for his fascination with scale. With a grander, more ambitious scale, the viewer can more readlily “enter” the piece and can set up an “I-Thou” relationship with it, eliciting the desired aesthetic and spiritual experience. Through the reflective power of glass, Ries combines his love of nature with his technology skills to create breathtakingly beautiful, deceptively simple, yet complex forms that pull the viewer into an intimate world of images that dance and soar within the sculpture.
Ries grew up on a farm in Central Ohio. He attended OSU and earned a BFA in ceramics and blown glass works, before he went on to earn his MFA at the University of Wisconsin where he assisted Harvey Littleton, the founder of the American Studio glass movement. Ries’ works have been displayed around the world. His major glass piece, Opus, greets travelers at Port Columbus International Airport as they are flying out or coming home. Currently Ries serves as the artist in residency for Schott Glass Technologies in Pennsylvania.
Ries’ work will be part of our upcoming exhibition Celebrating Glass: The 50th Anniversary of the American Studio Glass Movement, which opens at Columbus Museum of Art on May 11, 2012.
Above image: Lotus by Christopher Ries, 1987.