Ants and Ceramicists

Elias Sime. Ants and Ceramicists 11, 2009–14. Thread on canvas, signed with bottle cap, 73 3/8 x 51 5/8 in. (186.4 x 131.1 cm). Collection of Erica Tennenbaum and Alex Friedman, New York. © Elias Sime. Photograph by Adam Reich Photography.

Tightrope

Elias Sime. Tightrope 3, 2009–14. Reclaimed electronic components and fiberglass on panel, 81 1/2 x 16 ft. 3 in. (207 x 495.3 cm). Private collection, New York. © Elias Sime. Photograph by Adam Reich Photography.

Tightrope 8

Elias Sime. Tightrope 8, 2009–14. Reclaimed electronic components on panel, 44 1/16 x 70 13/16 in. (112 x 180 cm). Private collection, New York. © Elias Sime. Photograph by Adam Reich Photography.

Tightrope: Surface and Shadow 2

Elias Sime. Tightrope: Surface and Shadow 2, 2016. Reclaimed electronic components and buttons on panel, 9 ft. 5/8 in. x 17 ft. 5/8 in. (275.9 x 519.8 cm). Pizzuti Collection, Columbus, OH. © Elias Sime. Photograph by Brian Pinkley.

Tightrope: The Dominant

Elias Sime. Tightrope: The Dominant, 2017. Reclaimed insulated wire on panel, 81 3/8 in. x 10 ft. 6 in. (206.7 x 320 cm). Collection of Erica Tennenbaum and Alex Friedman, New York. © Elias Sime. Photograph by Phoebe d'Heurle.

Tightrope: Whirlwind

Elias Sime. Tightrope: Whirlwind, 2017. Reclaimed insulated wire on panel, 9 ft. 1 3/4 in. x 11 ft. 10 1/2 in. (278.8 x 362 cm). Courtesy of the artist and James Cohan, New York. © Elias Sime. Image courtesy of the artist. Photograph by Christopher Burke Studios.

Tightrope: (9) While Observing . . .

Elias Sime. Tightrope: (9) While Observing . . . , 2018. Reclaimed electronic components and insulated wire on panel, 94 3/8 x 63 3/8 in. (239.7 x 161 cm). Collection of Robert and Karen Duncan, Lincoln, NE. © Elias Sime. Photograph by Phoebe d'Heurle.

Elias Sime: Tightrope

February 23, 2020 - May 24, 2020

Elias Sime: Tightrope, the first major traveling survey dedicated to the Ethiopian artist’s work, features numerous large-scale tableaus. Sime draws from a range of influences, including linguistics, botany, artistic movements and topographic photography. This noteworthy exhibition includes two works created specifically for the show alongside a large selection from the Tightrope series, in addition to several earlier stitched canvases.

From afar, these works give the appearance of abstract paintings. However, upon closer inspection, one sees these color-block compositions are assembled from unexpected materials like motherboards, buttons and electrical wire. First conceiving of a composition, Sime then sources the items to realize his concept, often purchasing them new or utilizing materials he has collected. In some cases, it takes him years to finish a work because he must locate a sufficient quantity of a specific material to complete a composition.

Sime weaves his materials into breathtaking artworks that express a sense of personal connection. “There is a sense of unity and cooperation that I reflect through my art,” he says. “At the root of all of it is love and passion.”

Elias Sime: Tightrope is organized by the Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum of Art at Hamilton College, Clinton, New York.

Its presentation in Akron is made possible through the generous support of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation; Ohio Arts Council; The Tom and Marilyn Merryweather Fund; the Kenneth L. Calhoun Charitable Trust, KeyBank, Trustee; and Katie and Mark Smucker.

John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Logo    Ohio Arts Council Logo    The Tom and Marilyn Merryweather Fund