October 7th 2022- January 15th 2023

The artwork presented in Cantata explores movement and patterns by means of paintings, mixed media, digital prints, videography, photography, and dance. “Cantata”, a painting by artist Norman Lewis, was the inspiration for the choreographed dance seen in the video. Light enhances movement throughout the video as fleeting moments are captured to create a visual display of lines and form. Other artists were inspired by the Bwa Nwantantay Plank Mask of West Africa stirring visual interpretations of musical compositions to explore line and rhythmic patterns, combining traditional mixed media drawings with collage. A reimagining of common everyday objects into abstract sculptures gives a new life rich with color and texture. Some artists seek to highlight subtle tonal shifts with repeating shapes to produce a lyrical quality while others design bold lines and patterns with immense energy like a dancer in motion.

This group show  includes artists Kevin Harris, Susan Byrnes, Cedric Michael Cox, Tess Cortes, and Rodney Veal and featuring a contemporary dance performance by Brianna Rhodes.


Kevin Harris

Like Norman Lewis’s Cantata, also included in the of the Dayton Art Institute’s collection, Improvs and Fugues are visual interpretations of musical compositions. Like improvisational music, Improvs begin as spontaneously generated line drawings then developed by echoing, counterpointing and otherwise exploring the line’s journey. Fugues digitally combine stylus drawings with traditional mixed media drawings and collages to form multilayered, interwoven compositions.

The Nwantantay Plank Mask and Cantata were the inspirational pieces behind works created for the Dayton Metro Library’s West Branch as part of the ReImagining Works project in partnership with the Dayton Art Institute.



Susan Byrnes

Throughout my career as an artist I have worked intermittently with dancers. The works in this exhibition reflect some of my most exciting collaborations with them to visualize form in space. Initially I used the simple technique of “light painting” to make still photographs that captured sections of choreographed movement of the dancer Megumi Eda. My training is in photography and sculpture, and I was particularly interested in discovering the shapes made by the choreographed movement as a kind of ephemeral sculpture, one that is not visible when we see a dancer in real time. I was able to explore this idea further in the video “Motion Capture”, a collaboration with video artist Tess Cortes, while working with children at Cleveland Elementary School in Dayton.


Cedric Michael Cox

I want the child I once was to be represented in my paintings on a visceral level, and at the same time express the refinement of a maturing culmination. My work is a spiritual testimony to the visual experiences that arouse my senses. As I examine and interpret the world around me, I seek to share an exquisite interplay of subtle and bold.



Tess Cortés

The video “Cantata” makes its premiere at this exhibition. In 2021, artists Susan Byrnes worked with Choreographer Rodney Veal and dancer Brianna Rhodes to create a photographic series of “light paintings” for the new West branch of the Dayton Metro Library. The project was based on the musical form of a cantata, specifically the piece “Cantata” by Oberlin-trained composer John Carter, and the painting “Cantata” made by Abstract Expressionist painter Norman Lewis, which is part of the collection of the Dayton Art Institute. Rodney Veal create movement to Carter’s music for Brianna Rhodes to perform. Video artist Tess Cortes joined the team to create a video to extend the project beyond still photography, incorporation earlier ideas from “Motion Capture” and pushing them in new directions. In the video “Cantata”, the spare violin soundtrack of traditional religious spirituals, played by Cincinnati-based musician Satish Chetty, recalls those used in Carter’s composition.


Rodney Veal

This particular series of works is all about slowing down and seeing the familiar in the abstract. Taking common everyday materials that I have rearranged to speak in new ways, a language of desire, a swirl of color, and patterns redefined.





In collaboration with the Dayton Metro Library, the gallery presents an event with the artists from our Cantata exhibition including Rodney Veal, Susan Byrnes, Kevin Harris, Tess Cortes and Cedric Michael Cox. The evening will include an art talk, video presentation, and dance performance featuring Brianna Rhodes and choreographed by Rodney Veal. The event will take place in the Dayton Metro Library's West Branch, 300 Abbey Ave, Dayton, OH 45417.