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The Contemporary Dayton presents Matter & Pattern Featuring Three Female Artists, & the Second in the Still SHE Creates Series, a Two-Year Series Designed to Commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Passage of the 19th Amendment

DAYTON (February 17, 2020) – The Contemporary Dayton is proud to present Matter and Pattern, February 27th-March 28, 2020, next of a series of exhibits that highlight women artists pushing boundaries in contemporary art. The three featured artists are Sonya Berg Menges of Austin, Texas; Michele BonDurant of Dayton; and Britny Wainwright of Columbus.

Matter and Pattern presents the broad range of materials explored by the artists and the prominent use of repetition and motif. Each in their own way, the three artists create colorful and rhythmic assemblages using such materials as found photographs, paint, ceramic, and vinyl to explore the possibilities of pattern and surface.

Dayton artist Michele BonDurant works from observation; drawing the content of her images from her immediate surroundings and working en plein air. In her ‘layered paintings,’ she assembles strips and shapes of painted paper into scenes on the verge of desolation. In one example, Orange Fishing Huts Night, three small orange structures constructed from paper project from the painting’s surface, pushing outward from a wide horizon darkened by indigo.

A number of pieces are small in scale, worked in an immediate and intimate manner by the artists. These delicate assemblages sometimes grow into larger forms, like Sonya Berg-Menges’ photographic collage Baby Blanket: Cabin. In this series, dozens of photographs are sliced and laid into quilted designs. They encompass the comfort and patterns of everyday life, yet warmth is betrayed by the glossy surface of the photos.

Britny Wainwright pushes form between two and three-dimensional, while using motifs such as bold flower shapes to assert visual and symbolically feminine power. In the piece With Love, ceramic floral shapes sewn to canvas cascade from the wall onto the floor. Other works include freestanding sculpture that directly reference domestic furniture or decoration. In all her work, surface and pattern are strong driving forces.

Visitors to the exhibition will see multi-angled approaches to drawing, painting and sculpture, and in a variety of scale. Work that both stretches through and circles inwardly explorations of environment, pattern, and surface.

About the Artists

Michele BonDurant is a painter based in Dayton, Ohio. She received a BFA from Wright State University and has studied with Lois Dodd, Elizabeth O’Reilly, and Jean Koeller. She held residencies at Zygote Press in Cleveland, Vermont Studio Center, Vermont, and was invited to the Heliker La Hoten Foundation, Cranberry Island, Maine. BonDurant’s works have been exhibited nationally including the Prince Street Gallery and First Street Gallery in NYC, The Maryland Federation of Art Circle Gallery, The Riffe Gallery, Columbus, Ohio, the Robert and Elaine Stein Galleries, Wright State University, and Dutoit Gallery, Dayton, Ohio.

Sonya Berg Menges received an MFA from the University of Texas at Austin, Texas, and BA in Studio from Messiah College in Grantham, Pennsylvania. She regularly exhibits in group and solo shows around the country, including Women & Their Work Gallery and Big Medium’s West Austin Studio Tour (WEST), in Austin, Texas.

Britny earned an MFA in ceramics from Ohio State University, and a BFA from Alfred University in New York. She was born and raised in upstate New York, and now teaches and maintains a studio practice in Columbus, Ohio. Her work was recently exhibited at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Arkansas, and is currently traveling the country with the exhibition, “The Beyond: Georgia O’Keeffe and Contemporary Art.” Britny has shown work at the New Britain Museum of American Art in New Britain, CT, The North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh, NC, and The “X Space” Gallery in Columbus, OH among others. She held residencies at Main Street Arts in Clifton Springs, NY, and The Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, VA.

Artists’ websites:

Sonya Berg Menges:
Michele BonDurant:
Britny Wainwright:

About the Curator

Tess Cortés is a visual artist, curator, and educator living in Dayton, Ohio. Her work has been screened nationally and abroad including at the Riffe Gallery in Ohio, Bedford Gallery in California, and Festival Fotogenia in México. She received an MFA from the University of Cincinnati and a BFA from Wright State University. Tess is currently an instructor of motion design at The Modern College of Design in Dayton, Ohio.

The exhibition’s opening reception is Thursday, February 27, 6:00-8:00 p.m. A Gallery Talk with the curator and artists is Friday, March 6, 6:00-6:30, with a reception following until 8:00 p.m. Both events are free and open to the public. Gallery hours are Tuesday-Thursday, 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Closed Sunday and Monday.

About the Series

The Still SHE Creates Series is organized by The Co’s Executive Director and Chief Curator Eva Buttacavoli and is designed to spotlight the work of female artists living and working with contemporary art themes outside the country’s art centers; specifically the Midwest, amidst economic decline and displacement—but also with the advantages of an affordable quality of life, with little distraction, in which to create.

The Series will include 5 exhibitions and ancillary programs in 2020 and 2021 that will culminate in a published anthology of the 5 shows and include guest essays and full-color images of the works and will launch The Co’s commitment to hosting an original exhibition by a female artist each year.

Presenting Sponsor: The SHE Society
Exhibition Sponsor: Brian Albrecht & Amelia Hounshell
Education & Public Program Sponsor: 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.