skip to Main Content


DAYTON (May 1, 2018) – The Dayton Visual Arts Center (DVAC) presents Ray Hassard and Marlene Steele: Urban Landscapes, opening May 4 th and closing June 16th 2018. Urban Landscapes is a collection of expansive pastels and oils inspired by the stark shape of machines and buildings in the constantly changing cityscapes of the Midwest. The two artists themselves proposed the exhibition to DVAC “as an example of revitalization of American infrastructure.” Ray Hassard’s work, like Steele’s, reflects a city in action, a sense of motion and change, city views beyond a doubt. Hassard reversed the usual artist journey: born New York City, worked there, some thirty years ago moved to the Midwest and has long been a Cincinnati resident.


Ray Hassard was born in Freeport, NY in 1949. He grew up in the New York City area and studied at Pratt Institute. After moving to Buffalo, NY in 1977, urban landscapes became his primary artistic theme. Ray won several commissions, most notably one to create and install a large wall piece for the subway the city was building. In 1987, after moving to Cincinnati, he became co-owner, publisher, and art director of American Record Guide, a bi-monthly magazine reviewing classical music CDs. Hassard is represented by Cincinnati Art Galleries in Cincinnati, OH, Oxford Gallery in Rochester, NY, and Patricia Hutton Galleries in Doylestown, PA.

Marlene Steele is a Cincinnati based, Kentucky born fine artist and calligrapher who creates beautifully rendered portraits and landscapes in pastel, watercolor and oil. She teaches her studio skills in oil painting, watercolor and pastels in workshops and serial classes. Working with student interest of all ages and experience levels, Steele enjoys helping students develop their potential and specific interests.

Steele is a member of the Portrait Society of America and is currently serving as this Society’s Arts Ambassador to Ohio, a multi-year commitment to the core mission of the national organization. She also enjoys Signature membership at the Cincinnati Art Club. Her studio is a former cigar box factory in Cincinnati’s West End.


Artists of all levels are invited to join artists Ray Hassard and Marlene Steele on a downtown Dayton en plein air Paint Out. Plein air Paint Outs have been a DVAC tradition since 2005. Paint Outs have received rave reviews from members and nonmembers alike who enjoy the many benefits that participation has to offer, including the opportunity to network and socialize with other artists in a plein air setting and enjoying the beautiful vistas that members have selected to paint. The Paint Out will take place June 2nd from 10 am – 3 pm and a Critique & Reception will follow from 3-6 pm.

An Opening Reception for Ray Hassard and Marlene Steele: Urban Landscapes will take place May 4 th from 6-9 pm and a Gallery Talk will take place May 24th from 6-9 pm, both at DVAC located at 118 N. Jefferson St.


Hasard and Steele 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.

Exhibition Partners for this show are Amelia Hounshell and Brian Albrecht. Education & Public Program Sponsors are Dr. Robert L. Brandt, Jr., and Susan Strong and Bob Pohl.


From the first century A.D. dates a fresco at the Baths of Trajan in Rome depicting a bird’s eye view of an ancient city. In the Middle Ages, cityscapes appeared as a background for portraits and biblical themes. From the 16th up to the 18th century numerous copperplate prints and etchings were made showing cities in bird’s eye view. The function of these prints was to provide a map-like overview.

Halfway the 17th century the cityscape became an independent genre in the Netherlands. In his famous ‘View of Delft’ in 1660-1661 Jan Vermeer painted a quite accurate portrait of the city Delft. Cities like Amsterdam, Haarlem and The Hague also became popular subjects for paintings. Painters from other European countries (i.e. Great Britain, France, and Germany) followed the Dutch example. The 18th century was a flourishing period for cityscape painting in Venice (Canaletto, Guardi).

At the end of the 19th century, the impressionists focused on the atmosphere and dynamics of everyday life in the city. Suburban and industrial areas, building sites and railway yards also became subjects for cityscapes.

During the 20th century attention became focused on abstract and conceptual art, and thus the production of cityscapes declined. American painter Edward Hopper, who stayed loyal to figurative painting, created intriguing images of the American scene. With a revival of figurative art at the end of the 20th century comes a revaluation of the cityscape.

Well-known living cityscape painters are Rackstraw Downes, Antonio López García, and Richard Estes. American artist Yvonne Jacquette has made a specialty of aerial cityscapes. Stephen Wiltshire, a London-born artist with autism, is known for his panoramic cityscape renderings composed from memory, usually after taking a short overhead view of the city he is about to draw.


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.