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The Contemporary Dayton Presents Three New Exhibitions That Explore Cultural Perspectives Through Pattern and Color

DAYTON (January 6, 2021) – The Contemporary Dayton (The Co), presents artists that explore abstract patterns and saturated colors which draw directly from their own cultural histories and perspectives. These new exhibitions feature Dayton-based and nationally recognized artist, Heather Jones, Nigerian-born, Columbus-raised, Philadelphia-based, and internationally known artist, Odili Donald Odita, and Choctaw-Cherokee/Brooklyn-based artist and filmmaker, Jeffrey Gibson. Additionally, Odita will spend two weeks in Dayton to create a site-specific mural in The Co’s galleries and give an Artist Talk during the opening night of the exhibition. The three exhibitions will open the evening of Thursday, February 3, and will be on view through April 16.


We’re thrilled to have Odili Donald Odita come to Dayton and create a site-specific mural that will turn two of The Co’s galleries into a kaleidoscope of color and patterns,” states The Co’s Executive Director, Eva Buttacavoli. “ Along with Heather Jones and her remarkable quilt-like canvases, and Jeffrey Gibson’s video that explores themes of identity; these exhibitions call upon very different personal histories and cultures that push the idea of using color as a way to connect the past, present, and future.


Heather Jones: Storytellers
The Dr. Robert L. Brandt, Jr. Gallery
Steeped in the history of quilt making and a vast group of anonymous or under-recognized female makers over a vast swath of time, Dayton-based artist Heather Jones’ work is unequivocally feminist. Having grown up in Ohio, on the outskirts of Appalachia, she explores the relationship between gender, place, time, and culture, and sees the practice of stitching individual pieces of fabric together as a metaphor for rebuilding. Inspired equally by the improvisational approach to the composition of the quilters of Gee’s Bend and by the minimalist abstract paintings of Josef Albers, Mark Rothko, and Robert Ryman, her monumentally draped geometric hangings or small, playful, tic-tac-toes of colored shapes tightly wrapped around wood frames have much more in common with paintings–and she refers to them as such. Her unique sensibility has garnered her national recognition and she was selected as an artist-in-residence for the internationally renowned artist, Kehinde Wiley’s inaugural class at Black Rock Senegal in 2019.

The exhibition will be accompanied by an Artist Talk and a Gallery Guide with an essay by Curator, Michael Goodson. This exhibition is courtesy of the artist.

Odili Donald Odita: 3 Steps From Center
The Ira H. & Susan P. Thomsen Family Gallery

Internationally renowned artist, Odili Donald Odita—who immigrated with his family from Nigeria to Columbus, Ohio in the 1970s—will spend two weeks in Dayton creating a site-specific mural for The Co’s galleries, drawing upon both his own cultural experience and the history at play in The Dayton Arcade, one of the most historic structures in Dayton. The mural will feature kaleidoscopic color and patterns that he uses to reflect the human condition and, specific to The Co mural, the histories of the Arcade and Dayton as a diverse, Midwestern community. For Odita, color in itself has the possibility of mirroring the complexity of the world as much as it has the potential for being distinct. In his paintings and murals, he thinks of his colors as agents to express thoughts, ideas, place, time, and transformational change. Much of his color selection is based on personal memories and created intuitively by hand-mixing so that no two shades are ever repeated.

The exhibition will be accompanied by an Artist Talk during the opening night and a Gallery Guide with an essay by Curator, Michael Goodson. This exhibition is courtesy of the artist and Jake Shainman Gallery, NY.

Jeffrey Gibson: To Feel Myself Beloved on the Earth
The Jack W. and Sally D. Eichelberger Foundation Video Gallery
Choctaw-Cherokee artist, Jeffrey Gibson, is best known for his abstract painting, sculpture, and prints which carry an autobiographical cultural inflection. His video, To Feel Myself Beloved on the Earth, takes its title from the final poem in Raymond Carver’s last published work, A New Path to the Waterfall, and was produced in the turbulent months of 2020 during the pandemic and national civil unrest. Incorporating quilts, handmade garments, drums, prints, and video, Gibson filmed trained and untrained dancers from a variety of cultural backgrounds in various natural and urban locations. Within a soundscape of polyrhythmic drumming and ambient noises, the dancers transition between meditative breathing and un-choreographed movement to express the oscillating relationship between inner turmoil and harmony. Turning to breathing, physical movement, and nature to explore themes of identity, Gibson seeks to transform chaos to stability and healing through movement.

The exhibition will be accompanied by an online Artist Talk that will be viewable at, and a Gallery Guide with an essay by Curator, Michael Goodson. The screening is courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., NY.



Thursday, February 3
Members Preview: 5–6 p.m.
Artist Talk with Odili Donald Odita: 6:30 p.m.
Public Reception immediately following until 8 p.m.
Free admission. Donation bar and light bites. 



Saturdays, February 19, March 12, and April 9, at 2 p.m. in The Co’s galleries.



Thursday, February 3 at 6:30 p.m. in The Co’s galleries and streaming live online

Friday, March 4 at 6:30 streaming live online only

Friday, April 1 at 6:30 p.m. in The Co’s galleries and streaming live online

Visit for more information.


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.