On Exhibit: Hidden Beasts of Barberton | Zentangle-Inspired Art


By Claude Christensen

Earlier this month, I drove down to the Nine Muses Art Gallery in Barberton with my four-year old sister to see a new exhibit by Akron artist April Couch, “Tangled Bestiary.”

Nine Muses Gallery shares space with the Kave Coffee Bar. A handful of locals comfortably populated the cafe. I had to ask the barista to point out the exhibit, which is hidden in the corner in what is ostensibly an office meeting space. The people working the cafe were very friendly—my little sister munched on a free cookie while I perused “Tangled Bestiary.”

The Summit ArtSpace website describes the exhibition as a display of “real and imagined animals.” Seemingly simple at first, Couch’s drawings are actually quite intricate. Couch utilizes a repetition of simple patterns within the silhouette or form of an animal to create pieces that have a beautifully detailed and mesmerizing quality.

Though the Summit Artspace claims that Couch utilizes “Zentangle…currently a phenomenally popular art form,”  Couch in fact uses a style that can only be called her own. The Zentangle® Method is not an art form, but a branded method of art-meditation. While Couch’s animal silhouettes do incorporate the Zentangle Method’s use of simple, repetitive forms, she does not follow the Method’s rule against having a “preconceived idea of [a] final result.”

On display are 14 pieces, all approximately the size of a sheet of document paper, each hand drawn in thin-point black marker. Among the patterned menagerie I found a lion, a sort of sting ray, and an owl. The drawings are for sale between $45 and $65. “Tangled Bestiary” is showing through March 18.

(Information about The Zentangle® Method from zentangle.com.)



Tangled Bestiary (FREE)

February 10 – March 18

Nine Muses Art Gallery, 584 W Tuscarawas Ave, Barberton, OH

For more information, visit summitartspace.org



While you’re at Nine Muses taking in Tangled Bestiary, make sure to check out Color Theories, art by Priscilla Roggenkamp and Michael Greenwald, also showing at the gallery now through April 22.

















  1. ClaudeChristensen01.jpg: Lyra Christensen munching on a cookie with exhibition space in background. (PHOTO: Claude Christensen/The Devil Strip)


  1. ClaudeChristensen02.jpg: “Tangled Bestiary” gallery wall. (PHOTO: Claude Christensen/The Devil Strip)


  1. ClaudeChristensen03.jpg: April Couch’s “OWL.” (PHOTO: Claude Christensen/The Devil Strip)
  2. ClaudeChristensen04.jpg: The Nine Muses Gallery Space. (PHOTO: Claude Christensen/The Devil Strip)