May 182024

Miho Ichise “Backlit Portrait”, 2024, oil on linen

Lina Tharsing, “Late Afternoon”, 2024, “It’s Not All Darkness”,2024, and “High Above”, 2022, oil on canvas

Miho Ichise “Warm, Gentle”, 2024, oil on linen

Lina Tharsing, “Golden Ginko”, 2024, and “Waiting for Us”, 2024, oil on canvas

Miho Ichise “Dancing Lights”, 2024, oil on linen

Lina Tharsing, “One Clear Moment”, 2024, and “Eclipse”, 2023, oil on canvas

Walking into the room of paintings in the Miho Ichise and Lina Tharsing two person exhibition at Scroll, the outside world seems to disappear, replaced with a sense of calm. Although their subject matter is similar, their approaches are different- as detailed in the press release below.

From Scroll’s website-

Photographing scenes of the life around her, Miho Ichise translates these snapshots into drawings before finishing her compositions on canvas. Rather than paint what is directly and physically in front of her, Ichise turns to photography, which she feels gives her a certain freedom to create her world, taking extracts of an image, changing the colors, and adding other elements. Painting is not just a replication of her surroundings, but a sensory and atmospheric translation – an attempt to capture the sight, sound, touch, smell, and feeling around her. Ichise draws inspiration and admiration from the play of light and shadow by Georges de La Tour, the lush and atmospheric scenes of printmaker Hasui Kawase, the refined and minimal compositions of Alex Katz, and the colorful textures of Pierre Bonnard.

The artist states, “I would like my work to be an open door to anyone where they can enter to enjoy a connection to their childhood or small excitement of daily life.” Her intimate paintings crop to subtle and distinct details – an element of a scene – allowing the viewer to imagine the bigger picture beyond the edges of the canvas. Whether depicting family members, friends, or strangers on a street, Ichise always draws from scenes of her life and experience.

Both intimate and visually transfixing, Lina Tharsing’s paintings are rooted in real places while possessing a dreamlike quality. For Tharsing, nature is a vehicle where she finds moments of transcendence in the ordinary fabric of everyday life. Light plays a major role in Tharsing’s compositions – whether filtering through trees or glimmering across water, light serves as a catalyst, and a reminder to stay curious.

Following the loss of her parents, Tharsing’s work has been shaped by grief, a transformative force that has reframed her perception of the world. Tharsing states, “Grief is a paradoxical experience – a profound journey into sadness, yet also a doorway to nearly overwhelming love and connection. Each of these paintings is a gateway, an entrance, a window, to what I refer to as ‘thin places’ – moments that reveal the veil between the seen and unseen. My paintings are an invitation to contemplate the presence of something beyond ourselves, something ineffable yet persistent, felt, and present. I am more aware than ever of our collective grief about our relationship to this planet, our ecological grief, and the grief associated with war and human suffering. I come back to the invitation of grief which asks us to transform ourselves and to open ourselves towards our connectedness.”

This exhibition closes 5/18/24.

Feb 282024

The images above are from Brianna Lynn Hernandez’s exhibition Anticipatory|Después, one of three currently on view at Spaces gallery in Cleveland. Her moving video and sculptural installations focus on themes of end-of-life-care, grief, and mourning.

From the gallery about the work-

Anticipatory|Después visualizes the anticipatory grief of caregiving and the process of dying through performative videos and photography. Each piece shares the physical and emotional state of the dying, the caregiver, and at times the two concurrently. Ranging from fast and aggressive dance-like movement to slow and meditative contemplation, the enacted scenes capture a range of emotions and thought processes of understanding and untangling the intertwined traumas of caregiving and acute grief.

As her mother’s caregiver in the final year of her life, Hernández translated her personal experience of grief into her studio practice in order to combat the isolation and shame many grievers face in our death-avoidant culture. Through several series including Anticipatory | Después, the works aim to normalize honest conversations of grief and act as an entry point into education on end-of-life planning. Hernandez states that while we will all eventually experience the pains of loss, preparing for the logistics of death and nurturing supportive communities for grievers can provide comfort and lessen the unnecessary stressors attached to loss.

A Botanical Conversation, Mehdi-Georges Lahlou’s exhibition, explores environmental, identity, and cultural issues using the natural world as a backdrop. The two large murals are of an enlarged palm tree cell as seen through a microscope.

The exhibition statement by curator Conor Moynihan-

The palm tree is a central component of Mehdi-Georges Lahlou’s practice, a motif he has explored to highlight themes of exoticism, migration, and cultural heritage. Recently, Mehdi- Georges Lahlou has used the palm tree to explore themes of colonization, climate change, and history. While members of the Arecaceae family- palm trees- can be found in many parts of the world, they are not found here in Ohio. Unless, of course, you go to the Cleveland Botanical Garden as Mehdi-Georges Lahlou did for his residency at Spaces.

For A Botanical Conversation, Mehdi-Georges Lahlou has created four new video works using the Cleveland Botanical Garden as the setting and backdrop. While many of the plants visible in these works come from elsewhere across the world, his collaborators Diwe Augustin-Glave, CHIMI x Nature, and Dr Lady J are based in Cleveland. In many ways, this body of work imagines the conversations that might happen if the flora in the Cleveland Botanical Garden could speak, sing, chant, and educate, and then transports this dialogue in the gallery space.

Microscopy, the mural that extends over two walls in the gallery, serves a double function. Based on the cell of a dead palm tree, it enlarges from an unusual perspective a motif central to the exhibition. And it also serves as a container and a frame for the four videos. This conversation emerges within the boundaries of the palm tree cell, transporting this exhibition into the botanical garden.

Characteristic of his practice, Mehdi-Georges Lahlou draws our attention to how plants and botanical gardens become ways to highlight histories of colonization, compulsory heterosexuality, and climate disaster all contained under canopies of glass. Yet, especially through the performances of Diwe Augustin-Glave, CHIMI x Nature, and Dr Lady J, they also celebrate new queer ecologies and configurations, melding African and African American musical traditions, queer theory and scholarship, ecological history, and environmental justice towards new ends.

A Botanical Conversation is a cacophony. It asks us to listen carefully to hear all the voices that make up this chorus.

Aaron D. Williams has created a video installation, ESCAPING AAWFUL LAND, that continues the work created for his previous Aawful Friends exhibition. This new creation addresses the issue of anxiety and the power of collaboration as a way to combat it.

From the gallery-

ESCAPING AAWFUL LAND is an immersive exhibition that builds upon the success of Aaron D. William’s previous Aawful Friends showcase at Zygote Press. This new showcase explores the creative journey between Williams and collaborating artists. By delving into anxiety through art, we seek to acknowledge its profound impact on our collective well-being. We must address anxiety as a shared concern and foster a future community that supports and uplifts one another. Through individual and collective artistic expression, we can overcome the gravity of the situation and find healing and unity. In our fast-paced society, anxiety affects people from all walks of life, taking various forms and manifesting in relentless thoughts, paralyzing fear, and an overwhelming sense of unease. Despite its grip, we encourage you to embrace your inner courage and take the leap. The installation will be held at The Vault in SPACES gallery, where you will be transported to AAWFUL LAND – a hidden realm within our city accessible only to those who know it exists. Guided by the mysterious GUARDIAN, you will journey through its enigmatic mysteries. As you step into AAWFUL LAND, you will be captivated by a mesmerizing video presentation. Witness AAWFUL AARON engaged in a gripping game against a formidable opponent, reminding us that we have the inner strength to persevere and pursue our dreams even amidst anxiety. In Aawful Land, anxiety takes on tangible forms and bursts forth in vibrant colors. CREATURE is at the heart of our narrative, an overbearing shadowy figure personifying anxiety and serving as the central antagonist. Aawful Aaron is locked in a fierce battle against CREATURE, desperately seeking escape from this hidden world. However, a subtle hint suggests that Aaron may need assistance to overcome his challenges. Within Aawful Land, a group of trapped artists may hold the key to their collective liberation. Together, they offer a glimmer of hope, representing collaboration’s power in overcoming Aawful Land’s perils. This work serves as a proof-of-concept or work-in-progress, paving the way for Aawful Friends II. In the forthcoming installation, we will feature this newfound group of artists, showcasing their collective efforts and unveiling the transformative power of collaboration. Their shared experience demonstrates that collective creativity and expression can lead to freedom and transcendence. ANXIETY IS HARD – TAKE YOUR SHOT ANYWAY.

All three of these exhibitions close 3/1/24.