Caroline Roush

Staff Writer

Indulging in cheese, artichoke spinach dip, and lemons bars turned into a journey through the artistic life of Luke J Ahern. He teaches both painting classes, as well as, foundation of studio art at Denison. Ahern, born and raised in central Ohio has given a name for himself, having his art be exhibited nationally, numerous times in Columbus, and now currently in the Denison Museum.

The exhibit in the Denison Museum is called Recent Works: New Problems. His talk began with his creative process being outlined on a slide, displaying “This is awesome. This is tricky. This is shit. I am shit. This might be ok. This is awesome”.

Grace Putnam, ’16, said, “I thought Luke’s talk was especially inspiring because we saw the trajectory of his work from his undergraduate days all the way to his professional days. The use of color and texture in his work made it especially interesting to view.”

Teague Magner, ’16 said, “It was an awesome experience to see our professors work after working with him throughout the semester. I was curious where his inspiration came from and being able to see it and hear about it was a satisfying experience.”

An interesting comment that Ahern made was that he makes more art while he is teaching, which is strange. His two adopted children, who have been with him and his wife for the past few years, have heavily influenced his most recent work. Ahern said “everything gets more important when you are taking care of people”.

Allie Bacon, ’16 said, “I liked that he was personal and opened his talk with context of his past, and where he’s come from and what he’s learned along the way. You definitely could see his transitions and questions he was working through in his work, and the changes in his life and reflected in each segment of his pieces. He also doesn’t classify himself as a traditional painter and I think that was really great to see and were fortunate to have him on campus this year to see the different possibilities and ways to explore the medium and still maintain the title of ‘painter’.”

His exhibit investigates culture, race, and history in his children’s lives. His fascination with oil paint, and other materials is very apparent in his work, as many piece incorporate diverse materials, such as sweatbands, tree trunks, oil paint scrapes, and goo. The Denison Museum will be showcasing his exhibit until April 3rd so everyone, who hasn’t already, should check it out!