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New Dayton Visual Arts Center Exhibition Features Three Women Artists’ Exploration of Their Identity

DAYTON (January 6, 2017) – Dayton Visual Arts Center (DVAC) is pleased to present The Secrets We Keep: New Works by Zoe Hawk, Ashley Jonas & Stephanie McGuinness, opening January 13th and running through February 24th, 2017.

This exhibition consists of paintings, prints and installations and each of the three artists represented in the show use their art to explore their identity in the realm of private and public spaces.

Ashley Jonas

Ashley Jonas’ work is about the search for moments of wonder and beauty. By paying attention to the overlooked, monumental discoveries of tenderness, peculiarity and harmony between objects, flowers and the spaces we construct for ourselves are documented, composed and abstracted. These actions result in playful paintings and improbable sculptures.

Jonas was born in Key West, Florida and lives and works in Dayton. She received her master’ degree of fine art in ceramics from the University of Colorado, Boulder and a bachelor’s degree of fine art in ceramics from University of Florida, Gainesville. Ashley and her husband run The Blue House Art Gallery and Studios in Dayton.

Zoe Hawk

Zoe Hawk’s work explores issues of girlhood and coming-of-age experiences, often referencing children’s storybook illustration. The constructed narratives of her paintings are meant to be sweet and somewhat familiar to the viewer, yet upon closer inspection they take a slightly mysterious or unsettling turn.

Hawk was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1982 and currently lives in Doha, Qatar. She received a master’s degree of fine art in painting from the University of Iowa, and a bachelor’s degree of fine art in studio art from Missouri State University. Zoe has attended several artist residencies including Frans Masereel Centrum (Belgium), Kunstnarhuset Messen (Norway), Women’s Studio Workshop (Rosendale, New York), and is currently a resident at the Fire Station Artist in Residence program (Doha, Qatar).

Stephanie McGuinness

Stephanie McGuinness’ paintings examine the pressures on contemporary suburban America through the environment of a single multi-generational house. This collection’s narrative is based on discarded notes and lists found in public spaces and explores how external pressures and life events intrude into personal environments. In her paintings, viewers are granted access to private spaces, but hover slightly outside of the frame, unconnected to its inhabitants. The surface of the paint is rough and sometimes transparent to signify the painting process itself, as well as to reflect on how dwellings leave traces of their past as they continue to evolve.

McGuinness is a Dayton native who currently resides in Englewood. She received a bachelor’s degree of fine art from Wright State University in 2008 and studied at Miami University, receiving master’s degree in fine art in 2013. Above: Stephanie McGuinness, The Storyteller, 2016, oil on canvas, 42 x 48 in.

The artists for this show were selected through the 2014 Biennial Call for Exhibitions, juried by Jason Franz, Founding Executive Director & Chief Curator, Manifest Creative Research Gallery and Drawing Center, Cincinnati; John Kortlander, Professor, Drawing & Painting, Columbus College of Art and Design and 2012 DVAC Biennial Call Artist; and Liz Maugens, Co-Founder & Director, Zygote Press, Cleveland.

The Exhibition Partners for this show are Amelia Hounshell and Brian Albrecht. The Education & Public Program Sponsor is Dr. Robert L. Brandt, Jr.


Mission: To provide art for the community and a community for artists.

Overview: The Contemporary Dayton (The Co) is the region’s contemporary art center. Established in 1991 as Dayton Visual Arts Center (DVAC), a 501c3, The Co produces and presents original exhibitions and programs, art events, community partnerships, and artist opportunities. Exhibitions and education programs feature artists living and working today, both nationally and in Ohio, with an emphasis on those whose work focuses on issues of social justice. In addition to its three galleries—open to all and always free—its retail store, the CoSHOP, provides income for Ohio artists and extends The Co’s accessibility to art, from visitor engagement to educational outreach through store products, programs, and experiences.

The Co is proud to support the creation of connections among the arts, community building, civic engagement, community planning, and use of public space, and makes an annual economic impact of 3.4 million to the region. Recently raising 1 million during the Pandemic to expand and move into its new home in downtown’s historic Dayton Arcade, The Co is led by Executive Director Eva Buttacavoli, a 30-year art museum administrator, curator, and educator, whose previous roles were at The Contemporary Austin, TX and The Perez Art Museum Miami, FL; and Curator Michael Goodson, who previously served as Curator at the Wexner Center for the Arts, Beeler Gallery, Columbus College of Art and Design, OH; and as Director at James Cohan Gallery, NY.

The Contemporary Dayton receives operating support from Culture Works, Montgomery County Arts & Cultural District, Ohio Arts Council, the Virginia W. Kettering Foundation, and Members.