Agnes Ray and Melissa Vogley-Woods use the form of the “exhibition” as a vehicle for collaborative practice. Beyond curation, Middle Child consciously positions contemporary art outside the traditional gallery/museum and outside the art market. Having left this arena, the artwork has become inaccessible to the eyes of the art world. We are removing art from the system that supports it, so that it can support others. This practice pushes to recognize other aspects as medium beyond the discrete confines of the object. Because “where” and “when” can be as important as “what”.
We are asking the art work to work. We are seeking conversations. We are forging connections.
“LOBBY” EXHIBITION SERIES LOCATED INSIDE A COLUMBUS PLANNED PARENTHOOD HEALTH CENTER, 2018-19
"Lobby," is a year-long exhibition series held at the Planned Parenthood East surgical center in Columbus, OH. Three, approximately 3-4 months long, two-person exhibitions have been scheduled to run from December 2018-December 2019. This project was organized by artists, Melissa Vogley Woods and Agnes Ray with the support and partnership of Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio.
Ray and Vogley-Woods are using the vehicle of the art exhibition as a form of collaborative practice. Beyond a curatorial project, “Lobby” is a piece challenging the rarefied position of contemporary art in society. Vogley-Woods and Ray are offering another level of care to the women and girls who utilize Planned Parenthood. In this medical, clinical setting, artwork is meant to support the healing and recovery of the women and girls it serves.
Unless one is a cultural worker in the art field, contemporary art is not encountered in one’s daily life. In our society contemporary art exists in specialized institutions such as the gallery or the museum space that have been purposely built and designed to showcase, support, and validate it. This art is then only encountered on the art’s terms. The viewer has made the choice to enter the museum/gallery in order to experience art. The artworks included in Lobby will have no such coddling. These artworks are expected to serve the unique needs of viewers undergoing a highly charged and stressful life event. Just entering the building one must pass protesters on the sidewalk and be buzzed through a series of locked doors and secure spaces designed to protect the staff and clients from potential violence. Beyond the physical constraints of the space itself, artwork must be sensitive to the emotional state of the clients who use the space. Artwork must be screened for triggering subject matter and/or materials. Artists were carefully paired to ensure that each exhibition was thematically strong on its own merits as well as contributing to the overarching principles of the project as a whole.
Newly elected Ohio governor, Mike DeWine has publicly stated that he will “absolutely” sign a controversial “heartbeat bill”. The bill would make abortions illegal once a fetal heartbeat can be detected. This is an example of a patriarchal ideology devaluing the personhood of women by subsuming their agency to their biology. Our society shames women and girls for having an unwanted pregnancy and despises them if they make the personal and private decision to end that pregnancy. Today, fine art has become a luxury item for the elite, a financial asset to be protected. In Lobby we put art to work, asking it to hold our gaze and honor our choice.
“Torrance” performance collaborative Project, participant 2015
Created and organized by Rashana Perks Smith
funded by the Greater Columbus Arts Council
Immersive dance theatre event, choreographers/performers: Megan Davis, John Giffin, Jeremy Griffin-Jackson, Eve Hermann, Alexia Minton, Michael J. Morris, Coal Reitenbach, Sarah Shulman, Rashana Perks Smith, Gina Jacobs Thomas, Megan Yankee visual artist: Melissa Vogley Woods interactive designer: Matt Lewis lighting designer: Carrie Cox composer and sound designer: John Osburn
MINT Collective, Collaborative Exhibition at Springbreak Brooklyn immersive Brooklyn, NY. 2018
MINT is a collaborative, multidisciplinary collective founded and operated by artists located in Columbus, Ohio. Abidingly fresh, adaptable, and dynamic, our mission at MINT is to support underrepresented and developing artists, to cultivate relationships within the community, to embrace alternative projects, and to remain persistently disobedient to traditional thinking.
WILL PLAY FOR SPACE 2017: MEATBALL originated from a proposed basketball tournament in which local artist-run spaces would participate: our gallery, a former meat processing facility, transformed into a nearly full size court, Columbus’ art community as players and spectators in a communal performance. MINT Collective has since vacated our former facilities, alleviating undue financial burden and mitigating friction between our physical operation and city administration. Without a home court, WILL PLAY FOR SPACE is recontextualized into a broader conversation about displacement and nomadic participation, sustainability, and alternatives to alternatives,
PROJECT: TRACERS TAKES OVER, 2014
Collectively held at Hopkins Hall gallery, Ace of Cups, OSU Interactive exhibition, panels, workshops, rock concert. August 25- Oct 3 2014
Organized by Jen Reeder Founder of Tracers and Melissa Vogley Woods.
Tracers Book Club (TRACERS) is a diverse, inclusive and publicly engaged collective dedicated to promoting feminism and all forms of human equality. Tracers is a radical initiative committed to social justice and gender lawlessness. Tracers proposes and promotes self-determination as a civil right. Tracers is for EVERYONE. Tracers is the revolution. Tracers Exhibition, lecture series, workshops occurred at Hopkins Hall Gallery from August 25-October 4th with a collection of revolutionary artifacts, a feminist reading room and an interactive timeline of the history of women’s experiences among other radical ephemera. Associated events include a series of panel conversations about feminism and intersectionality and a youth poetry day camp at the Hopkins Hall Gallery on the campus of OSU and a grrrl rock show at Ace of Cups.Participants in the Tracers events included:Participants: C0-Organizer Jen Reeder, Micol Hebron's Gallery Tally: Equality in the Art world Poster Project, Mytheli Sreenivas, Tracy Zollinger Turner, Macrorie Dean, Maria K DiFranco, Lisa McClymont, Laura Larson, Cathy Waggoner, Dr. Treva Lindsey, Dionne Edwards , Krista Benson, Gretel Young, Erin Fletcher, Susan Saltzburg; the bands “Katherine” , “The Girls” "DIdi", DJ Chris Conti, Jenna Rochelle, Capitol Crushers; Poets, Hanna Stephenson, Colleen Morrissey, Kim Leddy and Students from Mosaic, with assistance provided by Hopkins Hall Gallery and curator Merijn Van der Heijden.
ROOMS TO LET 3 Temporary Art Space 2013
Organized and created by Melissa Vogley Woods
Rooms to Let Temporary Art Space was founded in 2010 by Artist Melissa Vogley Woods. The impetus for this now ongoing platform was to create a situation that facilitated the use of houses for herself and for other artists. After several months looking and reaching out the developers she made a contact that was willing to give her a house. This began the first Rooms to Let project, that came together as a collective of 5 artists who in turn brought in many more for the first exhibition.
Rooms to Let Columbus facilitated for artists a new experience that was then shared with an audience. The Project continues as a place for artists in various locations. Open source: Rooms to Let is an open source platform for participants in other cities and towns to put on their own projects. We are available to discuss your project plans and help you.Curators, artists, and scholars of any medium are encouraged to consider this program fine art, performance, writing, graphic design, music, video, textiles, science, etc. There is virtually no limitation to the nature of proposals. Contact me to get involved - melissavogleywoods at gmail dot com
Participating Cities and Groups will have their projects hosted on our site and we will help get the word out about what you are doing.
ROOMS TO LET 3, 2014 Three houses 11 Exhibitions
PARTICIPATING PROJECTS AND COLLECTIVES:
Velvet Mirror, Elijah Funk, House: 219 N 22nd Street, Date: Saturday, May 18, House donated by:
Tumbleweeds, Nicole Crock, Lot: Scattered around houses, Project Date: Saturday, May 18, House donated by: Homeport
Timothy Smith, House: 219 N 22nd Street, Date: Saturday, May 18,House donated by: Homeport
Tell/Tale, Curator: Andrea Myers, House: 219 N 22nd Street, Exhibition Date: Saturday, May 18 House provided by: Homeport Andrea Myers, Liz Trapp, Josh Welker
The Proper Organ of Vision, Jeremy Stone, House: 219 N 22nd Street, Date: Saturday, May 18, House donated by: Homeport
Nostos Curator: Cat Lynch, House: 219 N 22nd Street, Exhibition Date: Saturday, May 18, House provided by: Homeport Past participating artists*:Kathleen Ryan, Laura Hruska, Hannah Barnes, Jacinda Russell, Original performers:Kristin Rochelle Lantz & Susie Underwood, Jen Gillette, the teens of Project Pivot, The Art Club Collective
In the Dark, Curator: Philip Spangler, House: 214/216 N 20th Street,Exhibition Date: Saturday, May 18, House provided by:Homeport Participating artists:Jessica Naples: Photography, Amanda Kline: Photography & installation, Liam O’Connor: Installation, Chris Harvey: Performance & installation, Leah Frankel: Installation, Page Phillips: Contemporary dance, Nick George: Photography & Sculpture, Amy Ritter
Home Manual, Elena Harvey Collins & Richard Rozewski, House: 194 N 22nd Street, Date: Saturday, May 18, House donated by:Homeport
Family Album, Artist: Sue Harshe, House: 219 N 22nd Street, Date: Saturday, May 18, House donated by: Homeport
CURB APPEAL, Curator: Liz Maugans, House: 194 N 22nd Street,Date: Saturday, May 18,, House provided by: Homeport Participating artists:Liz Maugans, Corrie Slawson & Marc Lefkowitz, Dana Depew & Jeff Chiplis, Michael Loderstedt, Mely Barragan
Treading: 468 W Town Street, December 13, 2012, Fall 2012Columbus College of Art & DesignJunior Seminar Installation: Student Collaborative Project., House provided by Kenny Mollica.
CURATING: ROOMS TO LET 2, 2012
468 W Town St Organized & curated by: Melissa Vogley Woods House donated by: Kenny Mollica
PARTICIPATING ARTIST: Linda Diec | Columbus, Ohio, Elena Harvey Collins | Columbus, Ohio, Paul Elsner | Dresden, German, Clare Fox | Detroit, Michigan, Monika Laskowska | Columbus, Ohio & Poland, Bydgoszcz, Micheal Litzau | Columbus, Ohio, Ryan Mandell | Boise, Idaho, Lauri Lynnxe Murphy | Columbus, Ohio & Denver, Colorado, Jennifer Purdum | Cincinnati, Ohio, Suzanne Silver | Columbus, Ohio Mariana Smith | Columbus, Ohio, Timothy Jude Smith | Boston, MassachusettsHannah Stephenson | Columbus, Ohio, Tatiana Svrckova | Columbus, Ohio & Cadca, Slovakia, Melissa Vogley Woods | Columbus, Ohio
Rooms to Let II featured nationally and internationally-recognized artists within a gutted house, located in the near west neighborhood of Franklinton. Each work was site specific and responded to the constructs of the unique environment within the house.
Rooms to Let 1 2010
CURATING: ROOMS TO LET 1, 2011
249 Martin Ave, June 3, 2011 in Franklinton.
PARTICIPATING ARTIST: Melissa Vogley Woods, Shauna Merriman Deseden, Germany, Elizabeth Gerdeman Leipzig, Germany, Mary Jo Bole, Columbus OH, Matt Flegle California, Sarah Weinstock Columbus OH, , Undine Brod New York, Candace Black-Housh Columbus, Ohio , Ash Kyrie Wisconsin, Timothy Jude Smith Columbus,OH, Sylvia Doebelt Germany.
Housewarning 2010 - 11
Ohio State University Hopkins Hall Gallery 2010, Organized by Tina Beifuss and Melissa Vogley Woods
Exhibiting Artists: Leah Ballis, Tina Beifuss, Anja Bruggemann, Stefanie Busch, Amy Casey, Paul Elsner, Matt Flegle, Eckehard Fuchs, Helma Groot, Scott Hocking, Esther Klaes, Maja Linke, Michael Litzau, Ryan Mandell, Fredrik Marsh, Ardine Nelson, Tim Portlock, Guido Reddersen
A house is a structure that keeps us safe and provides comfort from the elements. However, the concept of a house has ever-shifting connotations. We see the house as status, as burden, as security, and as a symbol of accomplishment. Changes in environment, societal structure, and circumstances can change our feelings about where and how we dwell, transforming this structure from cozy to claustrophobic, from ours to theirs, from real to idealistic.
HouseWARNING began as a conversation between curators Tina Beifuss (Dresden, Germany) and Melissa Vogley Woods (Columbus, Ohio) in 2008. This was at the onset of the US housing market collapse, and our discussions centered on differences and similarities in our cultural understanding of what constitutes a home: ownership vs. rental; scale vs. convenience; comfort vs. location; urban vs. suburban. These talks lead to the concept for this exhibition. Artist in this exhibition came from Germany, New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Detroit and Columbus.
Urban Art Space curated by Josh Foy and Melissa Vogley Woods
Exhibiting: Mary Jo Bole, Patrick O'Rorke, Maidens of the Cosmic Body Running, Josh Foy, Melissa Vogley Woods
Workshop: Installation Art conducted by Melissa Vogley Woods
Object /Imprint showcases the work of regional artists who expand on the contexts of object in their approach, and art category. The conceptual aim of Object/Imprint is to exhibit artists who have transitioned from traditional art making mediums into non-traditional realms while maintaining a fixation on objects that typify those root traditions. These works address object obsession, proliferation, memory, and value; adapting and shifting through media, idea, place, or situation in an attempt to expand their work conceptually and go beyond the object it self.
PUBLIC LIGHTING, 2012
Organized by Ry Wharton and Melissa Vogley Woods
Exhibiting: Ryan Agnew, Michael Bell-Smith, Nick Bontrager, Stefanie Busch, Paul Elsner, Leah Frankel, Peter Luckner, Erin McKenna, Shane Mecklenburger, Scott Neal, Danielle Julian Norton, Ken Nurenburg, Sara ODonnell, Patrick O'Rorke, Mike Olenick, Chris Purdie, Umar Rashid, Suzanne Silver, Timothy Jude Smith, Austin Stewart Michael Stickrod.
One night invitational exhibition of light based work in a unique setting. The work in the show will be the only illumination in the space-- creating something that is neither gallery nor theater. Both projections and installations using (artificial) lighting as an integral component are welcome. The show will take place at tan large empty 2-story warehouse in Franklinton just east of the tracks on West State St. which features wide open architecture-- large windows, many columns, and corridors that can support works of varying scales.
CURATING: 11 AT 400, 2012
400 rich gallery,COlumbus OH. Exhibiting: Ken Nurenburg, Leah Frankel, Ann Heener, Evan Dawson, Tim Smith, Jen Aneble, Nick George, Sarah Weinstock, Peter Luckner, Stephan Takacs. This collection of artist on exhibition in association with Urban Scrawl weekend Art festival.
PUBLIC PROJECT : URBAN QUILTING BEE, 2008-9
Taking the form of a roving public quilting bee, traveling from Ohio Art League, to Junction view Studio, to Kent State University, to Short North, to Columbus Arts Festival Ohio State Fair. 350 people participated sewing and leaving their signature in the community quilt book. The project was an experiment in sharing and collaboration between strangers through a shared act and purpose. From 2010-12 the Urban Quilting Bee Project has been extended into libraries across Columbus as quilting bee workshops.
Stitched Line Sessions 2008-2019
Sewing, drawing and quilting teaching sessions conducted across Ohio. This ongoing Project creates a place for learning, sharing and conversation.
Neighborhood communities or art spaces who have participated are: Driving Park, Franklinton, Gahanna, Hilltop, Linden, Livingston, Martin Luther King, Whitehall, Whetstone, South High, Shepard,Pomerene Center for the Arts, Coshocton Public Schools, Columbus Public Schools, Riffe Center.
ZINE workshops and events 2013- ongoing
Various host locations include Stockton University, Denison Universities Queer Graphics class, Vermont Studio Center, Mass MoCA Artist Residency, Columbus Collage of Art and Design.
I am using the punk DIY anti-establishment form of the zine to teach dissemination of information and how events around expression can bring people together.