Mid Summer Night’s Art show marks 20 years

Mid Summer Night’s Art show marks 20 years

Image Credit: Teri Stein

When guests arrived for the Mid Summer Night’s Art Affair reception on July 16, they were treated to two shows at the Tuscarawas County Center for the Arts in New Philadelphia. An additional show held on the second floor of the center featured art by a former New Philadelphia High School art teacher, the late Herbert K. Matzinger.

The Mid Summer Night’s Art Affair has continued for 20 years.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for artists who have a connection with Tuscarawas County that have either lived here and moved away or moved into the area but have a connection, a real connection now, with Tuscarawas County to be able to show their artwork,” said Jeannine Kennedy, director of the TCCA.

More than 30 artists were invited to contribute to the show.

“It’s just an exhibition. It’s not a competition in any way. I like the show because it’s so diverse. There’s everything from very, very contemporary work to more traditional work, very realistic to complete abstraction,” Kennedy said. “This is an invitational. We have other opportunities throughout the year that artists can display their work, and we have a gallery upstairs that any community member can use if they would like to have their own show.”

Kennedy also said guests viewed a retrospective of the work of Matzinger; the show was organized by his daughter, Juli Boman of Dover.

A 7-foot-tall piece by an artist new to the show this year caught the attention of guests as they entered the TCCA.

“Well, that piece is actually a large barn stone. The piece is 7 feet tall, and it has about 300 heads carved out of potatoes,” said P.T. Mowrey of Dover, who formerly taught art at Garaway High School.

Mowrey carved the potatoes into distinctive heads. The eyes are made from a variety of materials including garnets, glass and mica with BBs behind them.

“I make the eyelashes of copper or steel and then spray it with salt and vinegar to get them to turn green. It’s all died with native plants like black walnut, elderberry, poke berry and agar cork tree bark. After all that is done, then I dehydrate it so I have beautiful sculptures of heads that dry up into hideous characters of what I carved,” Mowrey said.

He feels by using 300 potato heads, it forces people to stop and look at them. He also used a knot from a log he had previously used in an art piece when he was in college. The potato heads are hung from the piece to resemble a weeping willow.

Mowrey had two other pieces in the show, one titled “The Man in the Moon,” for which he used ground-up aluminum cans to get the color he wanted for one section of the piece.

“I took some 7 Up cans and ground them up in a blender. I mixed that with my oil to make some green in the waterfall,” Mowrey said.

His other piece was a 6 1/2 foot tall totem pole made of iron and copper and loosely based on Native American designs.

“I just retired a few years ago and decided to start showing my artwork,” Mowrey said, adding he did participate in an art show at the TCCA last fall.

Ginny Stocker of Dover had four pieces in the show.

“I have one small acrylic, but mostly, I focus on pastel. That’s my medium. It’s like a pigment in a stick form. People think it’s chalk, but it’s not actually chalk, and it just makes such beautiful, beautiful colors,” Stocker said.

Stocker has always been interested in art and majored in it in college. As an artist she has tried many other mediums.

“That’s all part of being an artist. You do one thing for a while, and then it’s time to try something else just to get the juices flowing a little bit,” Stocker said. “It’s just all about doing whatever is making me happy.”

Stocker enjoys meeting new people at the show and learning about other artists like Matzinger.

“This show has been really fascinating because (Matzinger) was an art teacher here in the area, and that makes it really special,” Stocker said. “There’s so much available to us in a small community, but you don’t know it until you go out looking.”

Boman said her father’s favorite subjects were his family.

“He was known for saying that he painted big, splashy abstracts. And he had a thing about color. He had a way with making colors come together just right,” Boman said, adding she is always grateful for the conversations her father’s artwork starts.

Matzinger grew up in Toledo, where he learned to do magic tricks, then went to the Ohio State University, where he first started painting. He worked in California before moving to Tuscarawas County to work at Trumpet in the Land and teach art at NPHS.

Matzinger’s art means so much to his family. Boman was going through her father’s effects when she discovered a painting her father had done of her in the 1960s. The painting had a price tag of $200 on it, but it had never sold, something for which Boman is grateful.

“I was in tears like all day. I just walked around hugging it because I missed him so much,” Boman said.

Matzinger also was a pilot in the Vietnam War, something that influenced his art. He brought back a heavy, metal Vietnamese Buddha head that inspired him to make papier-mache Buddha heads he gave away to friends.

Much more information and many more pieces are available to see at the Matzinger gallery show.

Michele Richey of Tuscarawas was a first-time visitor to the show.

“The photography, of course, inspires me. Some of the mixed media is different. I like how they’ve balanced things together,” Richey said. “There is such amazing talent in this community. I’m so glad that this is in the community. I will come here more often, and I encourage everyone to come here.”

Memory Wilson of New Philadelphia attends the Mid Summer Night’s Art Affair every year.

“It’s a great show with local artists, very good artists too. I usually purchase something every year,” Wilson said.

This year’s purchase was “Blues” by Nancy Rees, a black glass disk with blue glass highlights that is on a stand. “I’ve run out of wall space for some of those paintings. So I wanted something that would sit, or I could put it on a shelf or something. It’s very unique,” Wilson said.

Wilson said she likes there are always works that are distinctive from anything she’s seen before.

“I love this show,” Wilson said.

While some pieces at the show are for display only, many others are for sale, allowing visitors an opportunity to purchase art to support local artists and the TCCA.

The Mid Summer Night’s Art Affair will run through Sept. 7. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and noon to 3 p.m. on Saturdays. Admission to the show is free, but donations are appreciated.