The Ohio Artist Registry (OAR) is an exciting opportunity for artists to share their work, connect with the creative community, and establish an online presence—all on a free, virtual platform! The OAR encourages artists working in all art forms, throughout Ohio and beyond,  to create a profile, which allows them to better promote themselves and their work. Being listed in the OAR provides artists with new opportunities to share their work with clients, galleries, patrons, and audiences. A listing in the OAR does not confer an endorsement, approval, or verification by the Ohio Arts Council.
For more information, contact Kathy Signorino, artist programs director, at or 614-728-6140.

2024 Ohio Artist Registry Juried Exhibition

James McKenna

Home 118 Maple Ave County: Warren
Loveland OH 45140 United States
Home Phone: 5133159265 Website: jamesmckennastudio


As an undergraduate James McKenna studied metalsmithing under Bruce Metcalf. He developed a raw style and made objects suggestive of artifacts from an earlier age. When later he returned to art, he gravitated toward this unpolished aesthetic. Honing his craft, he turned to aggressive industrial processes to accentuate feelings of strength and endurance. Contrast became important, and he began to polish and gild elements of his work to evoke the sacred shining out from the raggedness of life.

Entering the MFA program at University of Cincinnati’s School of Design, Art, Architecture & Planning, James was challenged look deeper into values and purposes. There he discovered that his castoffs and crude drawing processes represented not endurance but the opposite: urgency, decline, and impermanence.

Sensuousness and, to some extent, sensuality also inform his practice. The immediacy of his practices gives his work an intense, intimate presence. James continues to experiment, searching for new materials and techniques to accentuate these feelings of presence, ineffability, mortality.

His work is in private collections in New York, San Francisco, Phoenix, and Cincinnati.

Artist Statement

At the center of my practice is the gradual realization of one’s own mortality and the effects of that realization on the inner self. The body, once a willing companion, the foundation of experience and agency in the world, begins to fail. Acceptance of decline is acceptance of mortality. Neither comes easy.

In exploring this theme, the exploration itself guides me. My materials are heavy and awkward; my strength ebbs and I’m forced to ask for help. But humbling gradually gives way to humility. As I accept the help I need, I begin to look for ways to incorporate the gifts and vision of others into my work.

Scrap steel and boards, chain, and ragged canvas—bones, viscera, skin—dominate my sculpture and installations. Simple but resonant, these materials can both harmonize and conflict to express myriad feelings and realities. I cut, sew, dye, weld the same steel, the same canvas, the same wood over and over. I accept their damage, scars, and stains, as I come to accept my own. My colors are the effects of time or the work of my own hands: rust, char, dyes made from nuts and sticks I gather.

For some influential artists, the body is central to their practice, and they are touchstones of unyielding commitment: Chris Burden, Tracy Emin, Joan Semmell. Artists of experiences, installations and performance also are important: Mike Nelson, Sarah Sze, Olafur Eliassen, Alicija Kwade, Richard Long. And I draw lessons from a disparate collection of artists whose themes or methods inform my own: Erin Weirsma, Bill Viola, Daniel Crews Chubb, Ursula von Rydingsvard.