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August 2023



Marcus Blackwell, Katy Paull, Ben Pissin and Brian Williams


Opening Reception
Friday, August 4
7 – 10 p.m.

Show Statement

Hypnagogia is a collection of artwork by Marcus Blackwell, Katy Paull, Ben Pissin and Brian Williams. Each artist’s work explores the tension we feel reconciling the physical world with our own inner lives, like the feeling of being somewhere between wakefulness and sleep. While their personal artistic styles range from dreamlike to boldly graphic, each artist in this show uses surrealistic imagery to portray a reality that is emotional instead of physical; a state of being that is experienced rather than observed.

About the Artists

Born in Cincinnati, Ohio and raised in Rochester, New York, Marcus currently resides in Columbus, Ohio. An artist all his life, it has only been within a small number of recent years when he made a life-changing decision to transition from his year career of 25 years in the financial service industry to finally pursue his art career in earnest.

With a foundation in studies in Illustration at the Columbus College of Art and Design and Multimedia Production at the Columbus State Community College, he is a self-taught, mixed-media visual artist who focuses on Illustration and Fine Art.
His interests, rooted in storytelling traditions, are mainly concerned with the creation of expressionistic abstracted and figurative images which explore and depict themes and ideas related to and concerned with Afrofuturism, dreams, mythology/folklore, symbolism, and social commentary.

Since 2016, many of his works have been featured in a variety of group and solo exhibitions in various venues in and around the Central Ohio region including Holler: 30 Days of Columbus Black Art at the Second Sight Project Gallery in March 2017, The Renegades of Renaissance X show at The Vanderelli Room in July 2018, and most recently at the Spotlight Gallery of The Mansfield Arts Center in September 2022. In April 2022, he was the featured artist on PBS affiliate WOSU arts and culture program Broad & High.

Currently represented by The Hayley Gallery of New Albany, Ohio, Marcus is a self-described comic book nerd, a skilled but disgruntled ex-musician, a fledgling would-be poet, and the proud father of his two adult sons.

Katy Paull
Born in southwest Michigan Katy Paull graduated from CCAD (’02) and now lives in Columbus, Ohio. Her work has been displayed in group shows throughout Ohio and beyond. Katy Paull creates dream-like drawings that explore the relationship between the internal emotional world of humans and the natural world. She explores this relationship using surreal imagery and themes of life, death and time. In Katy’s work, these themes, found in abundance in the natural world, offer strong symbols for our place in the world and how we might find transcendence there.

About the Artists

Ben Pissin
Ben Pissin is an Absurdist Illustrator based out of Providence, Rhode Island.
Primarily focused on ink illustrations, Ben uses a wide variety of inking techniques to slowly build hyper detailed images of surreal, nearly abstract, creatures, characters, and landscapes.

The work deals with a large variety of themes, often pulling from the artist’s personal experiences with neurodiversity. Concepts such as serendipity, randomness, paradox, subjectivity, self image, and existentialism are often explored. Although, through the use of obtuse symbolism, absurd imagery, and excessive detailing, many of these thematic ideas are purposefully obscured and/or transformed into something else entirely. The artist admits to having very little control over the final outcome of each piece, instead playing a reactionary role and building off of what’s on the page, a practice in improvisation and spontaneity. The artist strongly believes there are no mistakes in their work, just alternative paths to alternative destinations.

Brian R. Williams
Brian R. Williams lives in Columbus, Ohio, where he works as an artist, college drawing instructor, and graphic designer. His drawings are surrealistic fables reconnecting with our ancient nature; the primitive, mysterious parts of our humanity just beneath the thin veneer of civilization that we have cultivated over time.

Brian’s drawings have been exhibited in galleries all around Ohio and across the country, including Baton Rouge Gallery and La Luz de Jesus Gallery in Los Angeles, and published in books and magazines in the U.S., the U.K., Australia, Spain, Austria and Germany. He illustrated Dodos auf der Flucht (Dodos on the Run), a collection of poetry about extinct and endangered animals, written by Berlin-based poet Mikael Vogel. His first museum solo show, Ministers of the Kingdom, was exhibited at the Canton Museum of Art in 2018.


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