Fine Arts Exhibit features over 200 artists at Ohio State Fair


After two years of absenceOhio’s largest art exhibit returns with the Ohio State Fair Fine Arts Exhibit.

Each year – with the exception of the two years the fair was canceled due to the pandemic – more than 40,000 people stroll through the Cox Fine Arts Center to view paintings, sculptures, photographs, multimedia works and many others created by professional and amateur artists. This year’s exhibit features more than 320 works by 205 artists from 27 Ohio counties.

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While the theme of the 2022 exhibition offers a perspective on technology in the arts and many works are technology-based and interactive, there are many other works in more traditional media and styles. As visitors stroll through the spacious lobby – with professional works occupying the north end and amateur works to the south – here are eight pieces not to be missed:

“Time Machine: Version 2” by Gabe Kenney

This Best of Show winner in the professional division is a large, curious and humorous installation that mixes hundreds of mostly obsolete technological equipment: phones, cameras, old laptops, calculators, gas gauges, telescopes, a sharpener- pencil, fans and much more. more – all surrounded by yellow tape and orange traffic cones. This piece, writes Kenney, is “very nimble and was developed to travel and be positioned in site-specific key frequency locations to seek out wave angels and unlock portal vortices in the multiverse.”

“Friend of Dorothy / I Picked Cattails and Dandelions for You” by Edward Steffanni

In two side-by-side videos (screen-printed glaze transfers and acrylic on sandstone), the artist dresses as the heroine of the “Wizard of Oz”, throws off the blue dress and hangs her on a fence where she flapping in the wind. Bewitching and silly.

“Consumer Culture” by Amy Deal

This massive five-panel piece is 17ft tall and 7½ft wide – a wall of colorful flowers made from single-use plastic waste the artist collected during the COVID-19 lockdown. The work is beautiful yet haunting, a reminder of the ubiquity of human-made detritus.

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“Hey Mom, (and Hey Dad), Send Me a Selfie for My New Phone” by Jennifer Sowders

Both watercolors are huge close-ups of the artist’s parents, people clearly new to the practice of selfies. Their wide-eyed expressions and close, personal facial features are funny and amusing.

“It Looks Like Love” by Cadine Navarro

Using a special device, Navarro recorded the vibration sounds of nine native Ohio prairie seeds – (yes, they do make sounds) – and made them visible through a painting method of floating ink on water. Its swirling images hang in a row and visitors can listen to the sounds of the seeds. Full Exhibition “It looks like love” continues until August 16 at the Frank Art Museum at the University of Otterbein.

“Transitional States-6966” by Ardine Nelson

This stylish photograph – one of four taken by Nelson at the fair – is a close-up of a tan colored weed against a black background. The big picture is a testament to the beauty and unique quality of so many of nature’s living beings.

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“Between Love and Hair: Part II” by Ryenna Royan

Using the unlikely materials of magazine paper and glue, Royan created a portrait of an African American woman braiding a child’s hair. The dignity of its subjects and the black, brown and cream color tones make it a beautiful snapshot of domestic life. The work won the Best of Show, amateur category.

“The Dive” by Tim Borgert

In a wall sculpture that looks like ceramic but is actually papier-mâché, the artist has created a scene full of humor and movement. A man walks six dogs that spy on a cat in a tree and rush towards it, propelling the whole group into a forward motion that is nicely captured in a still work of art.

Also at the fair at the Cox Fine Arts Center, Scott Hagan, the artist who painted the Bicentennial Barns Across Ohiowill paint murals, including a portrait of President Ulysses S. Grant, who was born 200 years ago.

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In one look

The Ohio State Fair continues through August 7 at the Ohio Expo Center, Interestate 71 and East 17th Avenue. For ticket prices and more information, go to


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