Press Release : Flowers for Here

Third Space Gallery is proud to present works by BATRES GILVIN, Christian Casas, and Sarah Rodriguez, all who work in material-based responses to heritage, nostalgia, and culture-striking motifs. The trio of artists comes together for our exhibition, Flowers for Here, which will show a range of works, some participatory that question cultural traditions, subvert expectations, honors the past and present, while building a more tender, playful, and just future.  


Emerging between the celebratory and the critical, artists BATRES GILVIN and Casas challenge tradition, address stigmas, and acknowledge traumas embedded in our heritage. Rodriguez completes Flowers for Here by exploring and creating around tangible memory, building vignettes of home out of paper and pastel. Unlearning these cultural expectations is a difficult and turbulent process so taking care of ourselves and each other in the in-between is necessary. In the process of healing, how do we preserve beautiful moments otherwise lost to time and trauma? How can we reconcile the past, present, and future? Flowers for Here is also a learning and healing space, with the hope that we might return to some child-like wonder and joy for the memories we have and will create. 


BATRES GILVIN is a collaborative established in 2018 by artist duo Karla Batres and Bradly Gilvin. Batres was born in 1992 in Warsaw, IN, and Gilvin was born in 1991 in Morning View, KY. They met while attending the Art Academy of Cincinnati, OH (2015) and eventually formed Batres Gilvin while completing their master’s program at the University of Cincinnati (2020) 


Batres Gilvin, an artist collaborative in Greater Cincinnati, is comprised of Karla Batres and Bradly Gilvin, life partners who met in 2011 while studying at the Art Academy of Cincinnati. In a multiethnic partnership that joins the personal with the professional, Batres’ Mexican American heritage and Gilvin’s Southern American roots are a catalyst for complicated conversations about difference, otherness, and identity. In their Morning View, Kentucky studio located on the property of the Gilvin family farm and homestead, Batres Gilvin explores the local and global implications of immigration. Their artistic work is informed as much by larger, political conversations as it is by life on the farm and daily interactions with Bradly and Karla’s immediate and extended family. In Batres Gilvin’s artistic work art becomes life and vice versa. As a multiethnic collaborative, Batres Gilvin is a study in contradictions. Playful irreverence exists alongside unflinching solemnity. An unsparing commentary on the inequities of US immigration policy is wrapped in sparkly, kitschy imagery, providing a sugar-coated dose of truth serum, Mexican American style. In Batres Gilvin’s world, contradiction is both material and tool; it is also a reminder of the complexity of humans and the necessity of holding space for difficult conversations. 


CHRISTIAN CASAS is a first-generation Cuban American from Hialeah, Florida. Casas’ curiosity about economic accessibility and labor connected to art making is in an effort to bridge gaps and collapse class boundaries in order to question conventions about objects and accessibility of art and education. 


From Christian: In my work, I use found objects, family archives, video, pyrographed wood, sound, photography, and printmaking to explore intergenerational memory, selfhood, and erasure within identity. I engage in decolonization as a mechanism for healing trauma, flaying open a physical space where unlearning, remembrance, and relearning is possible.  

My practice uncouples familiar associations with didactic material to introduce viewers to vital historical figures within an institutional space– the art gallery–which has frequently undermined histories and aesthetic traditions of the Other. Moreover, the material I use transforms and evokes folk and craft traditions to elevate these artistic traditions that art institutions and scholars have overlooked. 

In addition, I'm challenging stigmas tied to mental health, sexuality, addiction, and desire. Relying on tropes of humor and the absurd is an accommodating space for diasporic subjects carrying the burdens of history. My work invites other audiences to procure new knowledge while unlearning the legacies of colonization. 

SARAH RODRIGUEZ was born and raised in Ohio and is currently living and working as an artist and art educator in Cincinnati, OH. Rodriguez has a BFA in studio art from Wright State University (2014) and an MFA in painting from Miami University (2017). She first became interested in art education as a Dorothy and Bill Yeck Fellow with the Dayton Art Institute, assisting high school students with building their portfolios for college admission. In 2014 she participated as an Artist-In-Residence at the Chautauqua Institute School of Art. Rodriguez began teaching as a printmaking instructor at Stivers School for Fine and Performing Arts in Dayton, Oh. In winter 2019-2020, she was the Contemporary Arts Center’s Artist-in-Residence. Sarah is currently the School Program and Tours Manager at the Contemporary Arts Center. 


From Sarah: My work is a series of tangible memories, investigating human connectedness with space, nature, and relationships. The root of my practice can be shared through things familiar. Everyday objects and encounters present themselves, honest and beautiful, spurring a need to gather each one. Whether for interest or love I archive these fleeting moments.  

Touch is something felt, a lasting mark that becomes layered in time. Working across mediums allows me to explore the way touch alters materials. Cut paper, pastel, paint, and clay preserve my mark-making, a record of my touch. The sewing machine (a tool for creating objects that adore our sacred places) takes hold and veils my clumsy fingers nestling me safely as a beginner to the craft. I chose materials that locate me in tradition and have an emphasis on tactility. An archive of objects exists as a repository of memory as I pin, cut, and form the pieces into parts of a whole. 

Home is built through altars and offerings, a place prepared and shared. Keepsakes and relics bind us to the past as we layer our present. We shift with each new phase but the structure of our home holds fast, grounding us in times of reckless joy and deep sorrow. Discovering commonalities in our shared experiences is the connectedness I seek. 



Through this exhibition and forthcoming programs, we are highlighting experiences that often go overlooked. Third Space Gallery is founded on the goal to promote a welcome and open community for artists and creatives that are otherwise marginalized. We will also focus on fostering an open and safe environment for all artists and visitors. Our mission as a gallery is to provide a safe space for BIPOC artists and creatives, promote open discussion, and have community engagement on our own terms. 


Flowers for Here is possible because Third Space Gallery received one of ArtsWave’s 2022 Black and Brown Artist project grants, with support from the City of Cincinnati Duke Energy, Macy’s, Greater Cincinnati Foundation, Fifth Third Bank, and Hard Rock Casino. 


Third Space Gallery is a non-profit gallery founded by Lorena Molina and supported by Stephanie Cuyubamba Kong, Courtney Klebau, Kara Yeomans, and Ethan Humrichouser.