creative research gallery and drawing center
a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization



September 2020 - August 2021

Get on the list to receive the season-documenting hardcover anthology, the Manifest Exhibition Annual (MEA s17).

Download to save or print the entire season 17 calendar here.

Submit work to open projects here.

Find your way to the gallery, (map) here.


  November 6 - December 4, 2020

Limited Admission Opening Preview (Tickets): Friday, Nov 6, 6-9pm

Moderated Artists Panel Talk and Conversation (Closing Reception): Thursday, December 3, 6-8pm
ONLINE EVENT - FREE ADMISSION (Tickets available here soon.)

MANIFEST VR WALKTHROUGH — Social Distancing Exhibit Experience (link here to full screen view)

main gallery


Reflections on Circumstance

“America is another name for opportunity. Our whole history appears like a last effort of divine providence on behalf of the human race.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Today the world (of humanity) has been largely unified by a varnish applied by the hand of an invisible virus. In contrast, personal experiences are more polarized than ever, both internationally and within the boundaries of many countries, including the United States of America. It is worth noting that if "language is a virus", as Laurie Anderson's work of that title suggests, then so might politics, government, knowledge, good and bad behavior, religion, and culture in general all be viral in nature as well. We are all the effects of causes we barely know.

With this in mind, given the vise-like pressure now placed on all we do on a daily basis—decisions, calculated risks, eating, socializing, living life, choosing our representatives and leaders—what does it mean to be in a country that is, as John Adams reminds us, "a government of laws, not of men"? What sort of lens has been placed before our eyes, through which we now observe our circumstances, and this place called America, in a new light? How are artists documenting this today, in advance of the future editors of Art History?

With this we asked how artists record, through creative and thoughtful means, thoughts, feelings, and observations on what it means to be in America today, whether from the point of view of one living here now, of those who aspire to be here one day, or from those who observe at a distance.

The theme was wide open to interpretation, and works needed not be over-stated, nor political in nature. Works that comment or reflect on being in America today were welcome for consideration.

This exhibition will have opened to the public only a few days after a major turning point in American history. While at the time of calling to artists we had no way of predicting either the show, nor the current state of America at the time of the exhibit we were confident the resulting combination of works would be potent and thought-provoking. We believe it is.

For this exhibit 110 artists submitted 399 works from 34 states, Washington D.C., and 3 countries, including Canada, England, and the United States. Fourteen works by the following 13 artists from 10 states and the countries of Canada, and England were selected by a blind jury process for presentation in the gallery and the Manifest Exhibition Annual publication.

Presenting works by:

Mike Callaghan
Toronto, Canada

Raheleh Filsoofi
Nashville, Tennessee

Katherine McLean Forster
Poplar, England

Kathleen Tunnell Handel
New York, New York

Lara Ivanovic
Larchmont, New York

Daniel Koobir
Los Angeles, California

Kate Lackman
Cincinnati, Ohio

Jinwoo Hwon Lee
Chicago, Illinois

Kevin McGannon
Neenah, Wisconsin

Randolph Melick
Traverse City, Michigan

Hillel O'Leary
Providence, Rhode Island

Caleb Stoltzfus
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Andrew Youngblom
Grand Forks, North Dakota








Raheleh Filsoofi


Kate Lackman


Hillel O'Leary


Randolph Melick





drawing room


The Past Instructions For Its Use
Textile Mixed Media Works by Yohanna M. Roa

Yohanna M. Roa is a Colombian-American trans-disciplinary artist and art historian based in New York City. She attends the Women and Gender Perspectives program at the CUNY Graduate Center. Roa holds a master's degree in Visual Arts from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, and a bachelor's degree in Visual Arts from the Departmental Institute of Fine Arts of Colombia. In 2019 she was an artist in residence at the NARS Foundation NYC. In 2018 she developed the project, The Journey to Mamacaltepec Momoxco, during an artistic residency at Calpulli Tecalco ONG in Mexico City. Roa received the Young Creators Award from the Ministry of Culture of Colombia.

Roa's works have been featured in a number of solo and group exhibitions at various venues such as La Bodega Gallery NY, Artlatinou in Mexico City, White Box in Harlem NY, Ruiz & Healy Art Gallery, Gallery Valenzuela & Klener in Bogota Colombia, Raúl Anguiano Museum in Guadalajara Mexico, Luz y Oficios Gallery in Havana Cuba, ARTBO in Arte Camara Colombia, Mc Nay Museum in San Antonio Texas USA, and Chihuahua Station Gallery among others. 


Of her work the artist states:

"I am a visual artist and feminist art historian. My practices around art focus on the uses of memory, the archive and the historical materiality of objects. My interest is to make indications that reveal obstructions, gaps and lacks in the different forms of production and transmission of information and knowledge; in particular the transformations and re-significations of the images, which arise from the relationship between, contents, histories, stories, contexts and geographical places. For me, the past is something we build from the present.

This exhibition was selected from among 162 proposals submitted in consideration for Manifest’s 17th season.












parallel space


Art About Maturity & Adulthood

The passage of time is measured, in part, by our state of mind. When we're young it moves so slowly. As we age, time's passing quickens. While it is unclear whether this perceptual phenomenon is linear in progression, or logarithmic, one thing is clear, adulthood comes with (or is perhaps catalyzed by) the recognition of the limits involved.

Historically, cultures would enact fairly strict rites of passage which served as a powerful albeit symbolic threshold which divided a person's time in childhood from their time in adulthood. One day you're a child, the next you're an adult, and you could point to a specific point in time and event when this change happened. Like birth and death, this was quite magical in its implications and impact on the individual. It oriented them, and fitted them into their society. In this way, society, in its widely varying pockets, clans, and cultures, played a direct and intentional role in self-definition—a definition built on a traditional (multi-generational) history and understanding of its people's place in the world and universe.

Today we ooze from childhood into adulthood. The threshold is not so clear. On one hand children are exposed to things far too mature for them to understand at such a young age. On the other hand people remain dependent upon their parents into their 20's and 30's, uncertain of who they are or what they are meant to do in life. It seems the modern world in all its sophistication may have redefined childhood, and therefore adulthood, and now we have to decide what that means for ourselves.

How are the concepts of adulthood and maturity addressed in visual art of today? How do artists reflect on these ideas as it pertains to today's world or to historical or imaginary cultures? We believe artists have something to say about what it means to be an adult, to be mature, so we invited artists around the world to answer these questions and more by sharing their works of art relevant to these concepts.

For this exhibit 24 artists submitted 82 works from 10 states. Seven works by the following 6 artists from 6 states were selected by a blind jury process for presentation in the gallery and the Manifest Exhibition Annual publication.

Presenting works by:

Tom Bartel*
Athens, Ohio

Margaret Davis
Ann Arbor, Michigan

Matthew McHugh
West Lafayette, Indiana

Ruth Ross
Portland, Oregon

Aaron Wilder
Chicago, Illinois

Cheryl Patton Wu
Cape May, New Jersey


* Due to pandemic-related impacts affecting artists and availability of works, installations may vary. Some works will not be on view in the gallery. All jury-selected works will be featured online in social media features, shared in the VR Tour linked from this page, and published in the Manifest Exhibition Annual.




    Cheryl Patton Wu


Aaron Wilder


Tom Bartel*


central gallery


Works Depicting or Using Artificial Light


“The skylines lit up at dead of night, the air-conditioning systems cooling empty hotels in the desert and artificial light in the middle of the day all have something both demented and admirable about them. The mindless luxury of a rich civilization, and yet of a civilization perhaps as scared to see the lights go out as was the hunter in his primitive night.” ― Jean Baudrillard

With the invention of artificial light, everyday life, even humanity itself, was changed forever. So were a lot of things, including the art we make. Quality of life was impacted in both positive and negative ways. Beginning roughly 100 years ago people in populated areas had embraced the new marvel that was electricity and electric light. Benjamin Franklin's and others' discovery of electricity, and Thomas Edison's, JP Morgan's, and Nicola Tesla's practical implementation of it eventually led to a cascade effect that brings us to today.

While electricity powers much of society, it is specifically artificial light that has become the primary vehicle of nearly all our communications. It has extended our work days, and formed the avatars of our virtual existences. We have become light-based beings...

How do artists of today incorporate the use of artificial light in their process? How does artificial light serve as a subject in visual art? Does the synthetic nature of such illumination impact the content of artists' work? We invited artists around the world to answer these questions and more, all centered on the subject of Artificial Light.

For this exhibit 61 artists from 26 states and 3 countries, Canada, Israel, and the United States submitted 257 works. Nine works by the following 8 artists from 6 states were selected by a blind jury process for presentation in the gallery and the Manifest Exhibition Annual publication.

Presenting works by:

Jenny Carey
Tampa, Florida

Jacob Crook
Starkville, Mississippi

Eric Forman
Brooklyn, New York

Hans Habeger
Libertyville, Illinois

Duncan Hill
Brooklyn, New York

Joshua Penrose
Worthington, Ohio

James Ritchie
Plymouth, Michigan

Ericka Sobrack
Orlando, Florida




Eric Forman


Ericka Sobrack


Hans Habeger





north gallery


Art About Modification

modify verb

modified; modifying

1 : to make less extreme : MODERATE

2 : to limit or restrict the meaning of especially in a grammatical construction

3 : to make minor changes

4 : to make basic or fundamental changes in, often to give a new orientation to or to serve a new end


Art making in general is a process about modification. But in developing this exhibition we were interested in how artworks can be about or depict the process of tuning, refining, or altering subjects, their contexts, or materials in order to achieve a different purpose or point. This concept was wide open to interpretation and application of the theme 'modified'.

For this exhibit 62 artists from 22 states and 3 countries, including Brazil, Canada, and the United States submitted 233 works. Twenty-one works by the following 13 artists from 8 states were selected by a blind jury process for presentation in the gallery and the Manifest Exhibition Annual publication.

Presenting works by:

Leslie Bellavance
Ada, Michigan

Greta Boesel
San Francisco, California

Carol Boram-Hays
Columbus, Ohio

Sarah Deppe
Madison, Wisconsin

Drew Etienne
Iowa City, Iowa

Skylar Fleming
Seattle, Washington

Dennis Gordon
Ann Arbor, Michigan

Dmitry Grudsky
Newark, California

CT King
Cincinnati, Ohio

Perin Mahler
Laguna Beach, California

Amy Mahnick
Rochester Hills, Michigan

Steve Novick
Somerville, Massachusetts

Mark Partridge
Deerfield Beach, Florida






Dennis Gordon


Dmitry Grudsky


Carol Boram-Hays





  December 11, 2020 - January 8, 2021

Limited Admission Opening Preview: Friday, Dec. 11, 6-9pm

  January 22 - February 19, 2021

Limited Admission Opening Preview: Friday, Jan. 22, 6-9pm

  March 5 - April 2, 2021

Limited Admission Opening Preview: Friday, March 5, 6-9pm

  April 16 - May 14, 2021

Limited Admission Opening Preview: Friday, April 16, 6-9pm

  May 28 - June 25, 2021

Limited Admission Opening Preview: Friday, May 28, 6-9pm

  July 9 - August 6, 2021

Limited Admission Opening Preview: Friday, July 9, 6-9pm

  August 13 - Sept. 10, 2021    (SEASON 17 FINALÉ)

Limited Admission Opening Preview: Friday, August 13, 6-9pm



See all open calls here.


  September 25 - October 23, 2020  

Limited Admission Opening Preview: Friday, Sept. 25, 6-9pm

Moderated Artists Panel Talk and Conversation (Closing Reception): Thursday, October 22, 6-7:30pm

MANIFEST VR WALKTHROUGH — Social Distancing Exhibit Experience (link here to full screen view)

main gallery


Photo-based Works About Tangibility

Supported by FotoFocus

Photography and lens-based art is often, even unconsciously, taken for granted as being disembodied from physical reality. However, without catalytic objects such works would not be possible. For this exhibition Manifest sets out to remind artists and the public of this fact by showcasing works that reveal the ‘objectness’ of photography either through display of the works themselves, the mechanisms crafted to create lens-based experiences, dialogs between photographic works and their physical subjects, or narrative works explaining the complicated entanglement of light and form.

By playing off the notion stated in FotoFocus’s originally planned Biennial theme that, “Light is a fundamental aspect of photography,” Manifest completes the statement by adding, “...and physical form gives photography its substance and relevance to the human experience."

For this exhibit 58 artists from 21 states and the countries of Armenia, Australia, England, Germany, Italy, and New Zealand submitted 247 works. Seventeen works by the following 12 artists from 8 states, and the countries of Armenia, England, and Italy were selected by a blind jury process for presentation in the gallery and the Manifest Exhibition Annual publication.

Presenting works by:

Francesco Amorosino
Rome, Italy

Trey Broomfield
El Paso, Texas

Bridget Conn
Savannah, Georgia

Nicki Crock
Galloway, Ohio

Richard Dickson
London, England

Claudia Hollister
Portland, Oregon

Prince Lang
Cincinnati, Ohio

Lynette Miller
Black Mountain, North Carolina

Lake Newton
Memphis, Tennessee

Carolyn Norton
Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Morgan Ford Willingham
Emporia, Kansas

Yaroslav Zabavskiy
Dilijan, Armenia









     Francesco Amorosino


     Lynette Miller


     Richard Dickson





drawing room


HV-C notations (...)
Shadowgraphs by Mary Jo Toles


Professor Emerita from the Cleveland Institute of Art in Photography and Digital Imaging, Mary Jo Toles has contributed as an arts educator for three decades. Recognized for her development of experimental processes including high-voltage photographic imagery and eco-friendly green photographic processes, Toles is an inventive contributor to the academic and professional scope of this historical and contemporary field that crosses both arts and science.

Toles has been published in the US, Japan and Germany. She is a recipient of Ohio, Florida, and Illinois Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowships and National Endowment for the Humanities project grant. She represented the state of Ohio as an Artist in Residence at Cimelice, in the Czech Republic.

Toles' work is represented in collections nationally, including the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Museum of Contemporary Photography (Chicago), Art Collection of the First National Bank of Chicago, M.I.T. List Foundation, and JPMorgan Chase Art Collection. Exhibitions include the Corcoran Gallery, Washington D.C, Boston Photographic Resource Center, SPACES Gallery, MOCA-Cleveland, and the Kohler, Akron, Cleveland, Columbus, and Grand Rapids Art Museums.


Of her work the artist states:

"This exhibit includes images from an ongoing series that has evolved over years of exploration working with high-voltage photography. The more recent work represents eco-friendly chemistry for black and white photography. These photographs are evidence of an interaction between gelatin silver paper processed with organic plant-based phenol developers. The Caffenol process uses everyday ingredients: coffee, Vitamin C and washing soda. The results are paper negative shadowgraphs rendered in subtle tonal ranges of the gelatin silver emulsion.

Works on view are photographic prints created in the darkroom, where nuanced experimentation makes it impossible to fully predict outcomes yet summons the beauty and complexity of form produced in the residual images. Selected objects placed on the light-sensitive surface, are exposed to high-voltage discharge from a horizontal resonating Tesla coil with added ambient light. Images are often paired or arranged as elements in more complex non-hierarchical grid configurations.

This exhibition was selected from among 162 proposals submitted in consideration for Manifest’s 17th season.














parallel space


Multiple Images of a Complex Nature
Photographs by Chaddy Dean Smith

Chaddy Dean Smith is a fine art photographer best known for his ongoing photographic study of the American landscape. Based in the Dallas Fort Worth area, he is a professor of photography at Texas A&M University, Commerce. He served on the University of Oklahoma's School of Art faculty for thirteen years before coming to TAMUC and has more than thirty years of experience in both the applied and fine art fields of photography.

Smith has conducted many workshops, including a pinhole workshop at the Universitat Politècnica de València, Spain. He has presented his award-winning photographs nationally and internationally in solo and group exhibitions. Among venues that have featured his work are the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art, Shawnee, OK; Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, Norman, OK; Longview Museum of Fine Arts, Longview, TX; The Center for Fine Art Photography, Fort Collins, CO; Pingyao International Photography Festival, Pingyao, China; Manifest Creative Research Gallery and Drawing Center, Cincinnati, OH; and Gagosian Gallery, Beverly Hills, CA. The Southeast Museum of Photography, Daytona Beach, FL, chose Smith’s triptychs for its Reverberations: Diptychs and Triptychs exhibition and for inclusion in its permanent collection. Smiths Multiple Images of a Complex Nature series was selected as a Jurors Pick of the 2019 LensCulture Black & White Photography Awards.

Of his work the artist states:

"There was a time when I was very frustrated with my approach to landscape photography. I thought that I had to present an idea within one frame, and that landscapes could only be viewed as a single fragment and seen from a single point.

Italian Renaissance artists demonstrated that if you change your point of view, you would see the same scene differently. In painting, this led to the rise of one-point and then three-point perspective in the early 1400s, as artists sought to achieve the illusion of three-dimensional space on a two-dimensional surface. Their goal was to seek a certain reality or a certain naturalistic truth in their work, to define a trompe l'oeil. Cubist artists such as Picasso carried this idea further in the early 1900s, which fragmented his painted images to include a constantly shifting point of view. I began to work with these concepts to reconstruct landscapes using fragments of different viewpoints in order to better show my personal, internal vision of the landscape. I put three photographs together, so that at first glance they look like a panorama but after closer examination are three different viewpoints of the landscape pieced together. Using this technique I expand or condense the landscape, sometimes showing the passage of time or even a more abstract view of the subject. This method allows me to make images that deal with Landscape as fact, as culture and as pure form.

This exhibition was selected from among 162 proposals submitted in consideration for Manifest’s 17th season.











central gallery


Life and Solitude, Death Valley
Photographs by Matthew Zory

Matthew Zory, in addition to being a photographer, is the Assistant Principal Bass (Trish and Rick Bryan Chair) for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and the rhythm section bassist for the Cincinnati Pops. His most recent book, Through the Lens: The Remaking of Cincinnati’s Music Hall, is a photographic essay that documents the recent historic renovation of Samuel Hannaford’s 19th century building.

Zory’s photography has been featured in numerous publications including Analog Magazine, AEQAI arts journal, the Manifest International Photography Annual, Cincinnati Magazine and the Cincinnati Enquirer and has appeared in a number of museums and galleries including the Taft Museum of Art, Carnegie Center for the Arts, Wash Park Art and Indian Hill Gallery.

Of his work the artist states:

"I love the desert, it’s my heart’s home. The sounds and silence, the smell and feel of the dry air, the vastness, and the mystery too. Things that have short visual lives, the occasional organic form in the shifting sands, and the sense of isolation, do they parallel our connection to this earth?

I knew these scenes of textures, shapes and light would lend themselves to the beauty of the platinum palladium printing process, a process that is as old as photography (1870’s) but new to me. I came to it out of a need to be more hands on with the creation of my prints. The texture of the paper and the glow and delicacy of the metals absorbed into the paper reflect the experience of being there. These pictures were made using my Rolleicord with Kodak Tri-X 400 film (the squares) or my DSLR, and then converted to digital negatives for the contact prints.

This exhibition was selected from among 162 proposals submitted in consideration for Manifest’s 17th season.











north gallery


Art About Tangibility

As is customary with Manifest’s responses to the FotoFocus Biennial themes, we offer parallel exhibits—one calling for lens-based work (photography or otherwise), and one calling for non-lens-based work (everything else), but both of which address a similar overarching concept. Our expectation is that, as usual, the two exhibits will engage in playful dialog from one gallery space to the other, adding to the viewer’s experience of the whole collection of works on view.

LET HERE BE called for works of any media, subject, or genre (excluding photography or lens-based works) which specifically address tangibility or physicality as a primary aspect of the experience of the work. Whether it be through how media is applied, assembled, or used, subject choices, narrative aspects, or installation considerations, works were expected to cause the viewer to pause and consider their own physicality, or reflect on the nature of being in the gallery space with objects or images, here and now.

For this exhibit 60 artists from 25 states and the countries of Canada, Israel, Japan, Mexico, and Scotland submitted 217 works. Sixteen works by the following 10 artists from 7 states, Canada, and Israel were selected by a blind jury process for presentation in the gallery and the Manifest Exhibition Annual publication.

Presenting works by:

Deidre Argyle
Springfield, Missouri

Elaine Buss
Kansas City, Kansas

Dylan DeWitt
Fayetteville, Arkansas

Andrew Leventis
Charlotte, North Carolina

Michael McCaffrey
Lawrence, Kansas

Adam Rosenthal
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Chen Shapira
Tel-Aviv, Israel

Nicole Sleeth
Victoria, Canada

Joseph Tigert
Smyrna, Tennessee

Jake Weigel
Modesto, California





    Dylan DeWitt


     Michael McCaffrey


     Nicole Sleeth







Manifest's 17th season is funded in part by a grant from the Charles Moerlein Foundation, Fifth Third Bank, Trustee. This season's programming is also supported by an impact grant from ArtsWave, by a sustainability grant from the Ohio Arts Council, and through the generous contributions of individual supporters and private foundations who care deeply about the visual arts.

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cincinnati, ohio 45206

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