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Artwork from CYA L8R on display at Urban Arts Space. Credit: Kathleen Senge | Lantern Reporter

Artists exhibit 90s-inspired work

After finding a natural connection between their artwork, two Columbus artists took inspiration from their childhoods to put together an exhibition full of color and playfulness in hopes of giving their audience a euphoric experience.

CYA L8R, open through Saturday at Urban Arts Space, is a collection of work by artists Dana Lynn Harper and Claire Smith. Harper is a 2009 Ohio State graduate in art and technology. The exhibit consists of contemporary sculpture and assemblage, an artistic form that consists of three-dimensional elements projecting from a defined base. The works on display are made with neon and pastel colors and slick surfaces.

Artwork from CYA L8R on display at Urban Arts Space. Credit: Kathleen Senge | Lantern Reporter

Artwork from CYA L8R on display at Urban Arts Space. Credit: Kathleen Senge | Lantern Reporter

“The works push the viewer into memories of childhood — plush figures, playful patterns and joyful color — and reminds them of pure play, the power of imagination and unrelenting hope,” Harper said in an email.  

The artists met a few years ago at an event at Tacocat Cooperative, a studio and gallery in Columbus.

Merijn van der Heijden, Deputy Director of Exhibitions and Curatorial Practice at Urban Arts Space, said Smith and Harper decided to do an exhibition together because they seemed to have many similarities in their work.

“Their love of color, innovative materials and pattern is what brought the artists together and inspired them to make work for this duo exhibition,” van der Heijden said in an email.

Both artists created new pieces of artwork independently but inspired by their similar experiences growing up in the ‘90s.

Harper and Smith didn’t have much contact in the weeks approaching the exhibition because Harper was in residency at the Teton Art Lab in Jackson, Wyoming. Both artists commented that they were surprised at how well their work blended despite their lack of communication.

“Dana and I hadn’t seen or talked to each other for the last six weeks before the exhibition and we were surprised to find how well all of the work went together,” Smith said in an email.

Harper said what was most surprising to her was that both artists chose to use metallic and reflective materials without discussing plans to do so.

“I knew that no matter what either of us were producing there would be a natural connection,” Harper said.

The exhibit will be on display at Urban Arts Space, located at 50 W. Town St. Urban Arts Space is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. with extended hours until 8 p.m. on Thursdays. A reception will be held Saturday from 5 to 7 p.m. Admission is free.

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